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A sure-fire way to collect bad debts, architectural or otherwise . . .

'Paul, can you take your wife away for a while, find a lonely hotel somewhere, we'll pay . . . .' This request, made some 20 years ago by a builder, was of course met with my bemused but firm refusal. He was distraught, but only later did I learn why, and in what danger I had also been. I'll change the names for obvious reasons, but essentially, the story goes like this:

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