I dedicate this story to Foney Pharaoh, Priceless Prince of Pedants and to all those poor deluded job applicants who assure us that spelling doesn't matter. It seems that ‘in the quest to cushion the effect of the global financial crisis' the FBI has abandoned communicating sensitive information by certified mail or face-to-face interviews so this morning I received an email from Mr J. Edgar Hoover. Or I'm sure it would have been from Mr Hoover if that particular gentleman were not currently labouring under the considerable handicap of being dead. That being the case, the message was understandably signed by one of his colleagues at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington DC. Apparently, in spite of the said world crisis, there is a great deal of unclaimed moolah floating around and the Feds' Global Intelligence, Cyber Division have (sic) discovered my name in a list of unpaid beneficiary (sic). All I have to do to claim my USD $10,700,000.00 is reveal my name (something of a surprise that they don't know it, given that it's on their list) together with a few other helpful bits of personal information and, hey presto, I shall be quids, or at least rupees, in. Rupees? Sorry, I forgot to mention that the spondulicks are unaccountably (there's a joke in there somewhere) lodged with the Reserve Bank of India and it's the babus in Delhi who are eagerly awaiting the access details for my paltry life savings with the Walmington-on-Sea branch of Swallow Bank. There is of course a drawback to this golden prospect of lucre and no, it's not the one you're thinking of. Skulduggery is afoot. A certain Mr Cox-Jialo based in Canada and purporting to be my cousin (thinks: must be one of those wretched Ontario Cox-Jialos. If only Uncle Septimus Mainwaring had managed to resist his fatal weakness for Inuit ice-dancers) is also applying for the money ‘on my behalf' so I need to contact the babus pretty damn sharpish to avoid having my claim jumped. I'm sorry to have to tell you that I enjoyed basking in the lustre of unaccustomed pocket-money for no more than twenty minutes before Mrs M came down to breakfast and shattered the glittering prospect. Leaving aside certain arguably unlikely details in the Feds' shining scenario she pointed out that the language used by Mr Hoover's colleague didn't quite ring true. The FBI, she said (and how she knows about these things I have no clue: Has she told me absolutely everything about her past life before our eyes sparked mutual fire in that fateful Wigan rehearsal of The Gondoliers in 1967?). The FBI, she assured me, does not use such emotive phrases as ‘this depressing recession' or such miserable clichés as ‘swung into action'. But even though my wife seemed so certain that my sudden windfall was not genuine I was about to argue the case when I noticed a detail she had not commented on. My message was signed Agent Shawn Henry, Assistant Director, FBI Cyber Division. Shawn? A cross between a large turd and a small deer? Would the Feds employ a man who couldn't even spell his own name? The case, as they always say in the movies, rests.