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“Shell Games” by Craig Welch: Summary and Evaluation

Summary

In the prologue, Craig Welch tells a story about two detectives, Ed Volz and his partner Bill Jarmon, of the Washington department of fish and wildlife trying to track down smugglers of a geoduck, the world’s largest burrowing clam consumed as seafood. One night, they meet dealers with information about the theft. The two detectives crouch behind a wooden bluff and carefully look at the boat. Volz uses a portable telescope while Jarmon gazes down a sandy cliff through binoculars. No sound is heard other than that of the sea tides and waves.

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Having worked in the Washington department of fish and wildlife for over two decades, they had never encountered anyone smart like the captain of the vessel. With the help of a third detective, Chally Pudwill, they give chase to the suspects but with no success. Volz and Jarmon finally give up. However, Pudwill informs them that the boat is heading north and they think the captain has convinced himself that they are no longer following him and he is getting back to business. The two detectives rush to the scene.

The first chapter of this book introduces the reader to how detectives work with informants. Detective Volz and Harrington have been policing small-scale fish thieves together for years. They receive information about the arrest of Ferguson, a poacher who had slipped by unnoticed for many days in California. The two detectives travel to this place to question the culprit about poaching. To their surprise, Ferguson vows to help them catch other smugglers and poachers on condition that they release his boating partner. Volz and Harrington strike a deal with Ferguson and free the detainee from jail.

Subsequently, Ferguson takes up the job of a police informant. From a distance, Volz sees a Chinese noodle shop where the illegal business is conducted. Next to him is detective Harrington, his fallback plan in case Ferguson fails to deliver. Ferguson then reaches out to many contacts familiar with the businessperson to be sure about the business. At one time, Ferguson, accompanied by a female detective posing as his fiancée, makes one last contact with the dealer in his home where he realizes that the individual harbors the ambitions of expanding his illegal business internationally.

The investigation suffers a major setback after Ferguson’s boat explodes. His bottom half body is covered with burns but there is no explanation about the cause of the fire. After being hospitalized for three weeks, Ferguson is discharged and assumes his role as an informant. This time he leads the detectives deeper into the geoduck trade. However, one day Ferguson faces accusations of being an informant and later other fishermen accost him. He panics and calls Volz. Subsequently, he quits his role, packs, and moves to Alaska. Volz will never see him again.

Evaluation

The tale targets the detectives on a mission to stop poachers. The story gives tips on how criminals can be tracked and brought down through the involvement of citizens or reformed offenders. The detectives are made aware of how smart poachers can be and more effort must be made to stop them and their illegal trade. This part is an interesting read that opened my eyes to the criminal underworld that I did not know existed. The writer wraps an interesting tale about poaching and the complex web of criminals and traffickers involved. My only problem with the story is many flashbacks that tend to interrupt its flow. They bring confusion to the reader and introduce events from the past. In my view, the story could be organized a little bit better by dwelling on each incident separately.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 24). “Shell Games” by Craig Welch: Summary and Evaluation. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/shell-games-by-craig-welch-summary-and-evaluation/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 24). “Shell Games” by Craig Welch: Summary and Evaluation. https://studycorgi.com/shell-games-by-craig-welch-summary-and-evaluation/

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StudyCorgi. "“Shell Games” by Craig Welch: Summary and Evaluation." January 24, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/shell-games-by-craig-welch-summary-and-evaluation/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "“Shell Games” by Craig Welch: Summary and Evaluation." January 24, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/shell-games-by-craig-welch-summary-and-evaluation/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) '“Shell Games” by Craig Welch: Summary and Evaluation'. 24 January.

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