Making Money (2007) is the lastest installment of The Discworld Series, and is really a continuation of Going Postal (2004)*, in which we meet Moist von Lipwig, a man sentenced to hang as a cheat, con, and thief, until Ankh-Morpork's dictator, Lord Vetinari, realizes that his talents could be put to very good use.
Actually, he was hanged. But--that's another tangent of the story for the former Albert Spangler, who survives to have a new lease on life as Moist von Lipwig, a man whose talents include the charm, gift of gab, quick thinking, and outright sneakiness that somehow allow him to mezmorize people--okay, con people--into doing whatever he needs them to do. And Lord Vetinari has a job for him. In Going Postal, the job is to somehow rescue a failing postal system and make it run efficiently, which Lipwig pulls off with ingenuity, luck, and style. (Style is important.) This time around, though, Lord Vetinari has another job. "Tell me, Lipwig, how would you like to make some real money?" That is, how would Lipwig like to take over the Bank of Ankh-Morpork and The Royal Mint? At first Lipwig refuses, but of course, we know that he will be forced into the position in the most comically way possible.
Actually, Lipwig's job as Postmaster General has gotten a bit too easy and boring for this former man of danger. In fact, this tale opens with Lipwig trying to break into his own office. He still has a criminal mind, and in his restlessness, he's taken up Edificeering** and Extreme Sneezing*** as leisure pursuits. Well, especially when his fiance, Adora Belle Dearheart, is away for extended lengths of time. Her presence, it seems, provides enough danger for him.
As usual, the variety of characters is not missing--Igors, golems, trolls, vampires, werewolves, and insane rich people populate Discworld, and these books are always fun to read. Actually, the chairman of the bank is Mr. Fusspot, a delightful terrier. Lord Vetinari has the chairman eating out of his hand, by the end of the book.
And Lipwig? Oh, he'll run the mint and the bank for awhile, but--Lord Vetinari knows that one day, Lipwig will again become a danger to himself and the city and--just how old is the taxmaster? .......
I enjoyed Making Money very much (it's not usually this fun), and my only reservation about this novel was that I found myself missing the Watch, or the cops of Ankh-Morpork. I particularly enjoy Commander Vimes, and was a bit disappointed that he was barely in this novel. The Watch is a most diverse group of characters who add splash to any occasion and I think they should always be invited to the story.
And, by the way, this is a library book, which I will return right away, in case someone's mother would like to read it:)
* ..which is still my favorite Discworld novel (so far, of the ones I've read) despite the fact that it's not about the Watch
**Involves scaling the highest, steepest, trickiest and most difficult buildings in the city.
*** I have no idea, but Lord Vetinari says it's potentially lethal, and I believe him.