How does this dialogue sound? (omniscient)

I tried to find a post for dialogue critiquing that is recent, but found none, so here I am.

Genre: Lit Fic, Historical Fic, omniscient, mystery, 1820s

Characters involved in the dialogue:
Mordecai Quad, a middle-aged man who is very rich. He owns a trading company called Quad’s World Goods. He despises the low class and being poor is lazy to him. He’s all about being the best and being successful. His strength is his money, but it’s also his weakness.

The debt collector, who is actually not a real debt collector. Unbeknownst to Mordecai he was hired by Mordecai’s wife. The wife forged a fake check in her husband’s name of a LOT of money (in the thousands) and the debt collector has to act like he’s from the bank, had found the fake check, and is asking for the return (because Mordecai does not have the money in the bank).

I want the dialogue and commentary (because it’s omniscient) to make it a little bit obvious that the debt collector might be acting (while also really trying to spite Mordecai and ridicule him), but I don’t want to reveal that it’s an act in this conversation. The reveal comes after the debt collector leaves and we see him taking off his disguise.


“Everything must be okay!” Mordecai said trying to emphasize his point as he sat in one of the chairs by the fireplace as the debt collector sat stiffly in the one opposite. “I did not write that check.”

“As everyone who writes a fake check says,” the debt collector sneered and peered passed Mordecai’s shoulder, eyeing the chandelier with scrutiny.

“I’m pretty sure that chandelier is worth at least a hundred, don’t you think so too, Mr. Quad?”

Mordecai turned around to glance back at the chandelier. It had been there since he purchased the mansion years ago.

“A rich man like yourself must have plenty valuables to sell.” The debt collector pressed on.

Mordecai wiped the sweat from his forehead. “Well, valuables, perhaps but none that we can—”

“I have been waiting for your payment for months now and we, at the bank, are fed up with your fake checks and very little return and sorry excuses. I will wait until tomorrow. If by tomorrow you cannot repay us, Mr. Rich Man, I suggest you let us buy a share of your business. Quad’s World Goods is quite successful, is it not? Surely you have some to spare.”

“Well, Quad’s World Goods is quite successful, yes,” Mordecai gave a nervous cough, “but all the money goes to charit—”

“I see no record of good deeds, Mr. Quad. Must the rich hold onto their money like a stubborn dog with a bone?” The debt collector scoffed. Mordecai’s face turned crimson with anger for being ridiculed like that, but he had nothing to say back.

“I have had enough of you playing around with the bank thinking we are too stupid to see your thievery. If you don’t have the money by tomorrow, consider yourself as a half-owner of your business. We will get our payments through your profits. Although I think if you sell off all your wealth here,” the debt collector gestured to the parlor with all its shiny silk curtains and velvet rugs and expensive chandelier, “certainly you can pay off most of it, Mr. Quad.”

The debt collector rose from his seat taking extra care to glare at Mordecai. “Your signature, your name, and tell your maid thank you for the tea,” he said curtly although there was no tea (rather he was trying to spite Mordecai for being not only a forger but a terrible host).


So…your thoughts? :slight_smile:

In America, the check would have bounced and Mordecai would have been charged an overdraft fee. He would argue against the fee and eventually win a reversal. The $25 fee would not even rankle the man.

Also in America, a debt collector has no real power beyond the courts. A wealthy man would have a lawyer, and that’s where this issue would be referred. He would have no fear of a debt collector, nor of a check he did not write.

If you’re trying to indebt someone, try a different tact. Checks won’t work.

Perhaps the wife took out a large loan by forging his signature. Nothing like a little inter-family identity theft to screw up one’s life.

It’s not in America :stuck_out_tongue: It’s in a fictional England-esque place. Thanks for the info though :slight_smile:

As for the details of the conversation, I suppose I could change it to a loan, but I have to make sure they had checks, debt collectors, or loans in 1820s Victorian England :stuck_out_tongue: If they had something else, then I would change it. This detail doesn’t really affect the story overall.

I just want some kind of “forgery done by wife to punish husband because he’s only thinking about money and not about their marriage and she’s fed up” deal happening whether that be a loan, a fake check, or something else.

What did you think of the dialogue overall? Putting aside the details for a moment, I would like to know if the acting part is hinted at enough or if I should hint at it some more.

Taking into account the time and place, it flows well.

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Thank you :slight_smile: