Monday, May 17, 2010

And Thereby Hangs a Tale

The last line at the back cover of the book says (and I quote) "Some of these stories will make you laugh. Others will bring you to tears. And, once again, every one of them will keep you spellbound". Unfortunately none of that happened during the course of reading this book - neither the tears nor the laughter although some managed to keep me spellbound. You expect a lot more from a Jeffrey Archer book was my immediate feeling as I finished reading this motley collection of short stories from him.

Archer says that he collected these stories from across the world during his travels. Of the 15 stories in the book, 10 are based on true incidents. The stories are good but more inclined towards a story-telling-around-the-fireplace kind of manner. Some of them are cute which Archer desperately tries to garnish with his writing style to make them more presentable and read-worthy. The issue is that in each of the stories Archer tries to build up the story towards one 'Wow' moment at the end of the narration not realising that his readers are intelligent and in some cases will guess the ending. Not every story needs to have a 'twist' at the end. Some of them can just be a good story.

My categorisation of the stories are such:
  • Predictable Endings: Blind Date, Members Only, Politically Correct, Caste Off.
  • Fairly Interesting: The Queen's Birthday Telegram, Where There's a Will, Double-Cross, I will Survive, The Luck of the Irish.
  • Better of the Lot: Stuck on You, High Heels, The Undiplomatic Diplomat, Better the Devil you know.
  • Err....What?: A Good Eye, No Room at the Inn.
Pick this up if you have a few hours to kill at the airport or on a long flight. I expected better.

I rate this 2/5.


  1. Yes it's quite a rubbish book. I expected far better from Archer.
    But I must say I had no idea you wrote so much. It's superb. :-)

  2. explain me the story better the devil you know

  3. I did not understand the ending of the story "better the devil you know " ..some one care to explain?