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What is the summary of the "Jimmy Valentine" story?

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aryaashok | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 19, 2009 at 1:50 AM via web

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What is the summary of the "Jimmy Valentine" story?

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hero5 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted August 20, 2009 at 1:49 AM (Answer #1)

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At the beginning of the story Jimmy Valentine is being released from jail. He was a burglar, and very good at it. He returns to his old apartment and picks up his tools for cracking safes. Robberies begin to happen again, ones that only Jimmy has the tools for, and it comes to the attention of Ben Price. Ben is the detective that put Jimmy away the first time. Ben knows this is Jimmy's work and sets out to catch him again. Meanwhile, Jimmy arrives in the little town of Elmore and one of the first things to catch his eye is a woman. At that moment, "forgot what he was, and became another man." He finds out her name is Annabel Adams, whose father owns the bank. Jimmy changes his name to Ralph D. Spencer and begins an honest shoe business. He is very successful and well liked by everyone in town and wins the heart of Annabel. Jimmy writes a letter to an old friend, planning to meet up with him and give him his prized safe-cracking tools. Ben Price arrives in Elmore and identifies Ralph Spencer as Jimmy Valentine and plans on catching him. The next morning Spencer/Valentine plans on meeting up with his friend to give him the tools, in another town. Before leaving, he goes with Annabel, her father, her sister and her two nieces to the bank. Annabel's father shows off his new safe and is very proud. Ben Price is there at the bank, waiting for Spencer/Valentine. While everyone discusses the new vault and it's safety features, the two little girls are playing with the vault and one get locked inside the small safe. Annabel's father exclaims that the combination had not been set and there was no way to open the vault. Annabel turns to Ralph and asks him to do something. Jimmy resurfaces as Ralph disappears and Jimmy pulls out his tools. He sets to work on the vault and rescues the little girl. After opening the vault Jimmy turns around with his tools and leaves. He sees Ben and turns himself in but Ben pretends he does not know him as Jimmy, only Ralph Spencer. The story ends with Ben Price walking away from the scene and down the street.

We are not told what Jimmy does after this, nor do we really know what the reaction of the Adams family.

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