This article examines Guy Owen's novel The Ballad of the Flim-Flam Man. The story is set in the fictitious Cape Fear County, based on Bladen County in eastern North Carolina, a small farming community where Owen was raised. The story features Mordecai Jones, an infamous con artist, and Curley Treadaway, the novel's narrator, a young army deserter on the run who learns the tricks of the trade from Jones. Owen was keenly interested in southern folklore in general and North Carolina folklore in particular and draws heavily on southern folk literary and oral traditions, particularly aspects of trickster figures featured in Southwest humor and African American folktales. The Ballad of the Flim-Flam Man is a humorous novel, but it is also a work that simultaneously celebrates and preserves the wit, wisdom, and artistry of southern oral folktale traditions.

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