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And Thereby Hangs A Tale

Posted by on August 19, 2011

Fifteen stories. Fifteen remarkable stories make up this new book by Jeffrey Archer, his sixth collection of short stories. I have read only one of his many novels, his first ever — Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less — but I have read every single one of his short stories. I dare say that Jeffrey Archer is to my generation what O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) was to the previous generations. Having spent a couple of years in prison for perjury, Mr. Archer has gathered numerous short story materials in and out of prison and wasted no time writing them. This latest collection is based on his travels in the past several years and is probably his best since The Collected Short Stories came out in 1997. As always, the stories are written simply but masterfully and cleverly, usually with a surprising twist toward the very end. I found myself gaping a few times after reading the very last sentences of some of the stories.  My personal favorites are Stuck on You, the first story in the book, about a clever scheme involving the theft of a £854,000 diamond engagement ring; Members Only, about a determined and unrelenting lad with a passion for golf; and Caste-Off, an endearing love-at-first-sight story. The unpredictability of the stories is what kept me enthralled and entertained the whole time. Reading this book gave me a much-needed break from facebook and all its inanity. Do yourself a favor. Pick up a book. Read. Now. You will not regret it.

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