Author is a retired attorney having practiced for 35 years in Illinois who now lives in Texas and started writing stories about a year and a half ago.
Book Review-Tell Tale Stories by Jeffrey Archer
Jeffrey Archer is a well known English best selling author of short stories and novels. His latest book is entitled Tell Tale Stories and consists of thirteen short stories and one miscellaneous chapter, 259 pages in all. I will give you a story by story summary, each story being a chapter in his book.
The first story is a hundred word story he wrote for Reader’s Digest per their request. It has an O. Henry ending. Well written in one hundred words. Enough said. Can’t let the rview become longer than the story.
Story number two was about who killed the mayor, that was the title Who Killed The Mayor, and was an easy one to figure out. It takes place in Italy. It was not ‘unique’ like the title of the first story.
With the third one he got me. I had no idea how it was going to end. The story led me elsewhere. It has a French title I can’t pronounce and is spelled Auvers-sur-Oise. I don’t know what it means either. Some place in France would be a safe bet I’d guess.
In story number four he quotes Shakespeare to death. It is so overdone that it kills the story for me. I’m not enough of A Gentleman and Scholar, like the title, to appreciate it.
The fifth story about love and war was an easy one to figure out too. Ended with a happy ending of course. After all, All’s Fair in Love and War, just like the title says.
The sixth story is so so. It’s about a kind of entrepreneur in ‘The Car Park Attendant.’ Kind of not believable. No one could amass that fortune being a car park attendant even if he did kind of own the parking lot.
The seventh story, A Wasted Hour, was not a wasted story. Good surprise ending here. I never would have guessed it.
Story eight is The Road To Damascus. The title fits the story perfectly. Somewhat moving ending to this journey.
For story number nine The Cuckold the title fits too and it has another twist ending. It is a well written mystery. Only one clue, that turns out not to be a clue, turns the tale.
Story ten, A Holiday of a Lifetime, goes unfinished. There’s no ending to it. Yeah that’s right. Instead the author gives you a choice of three endings he wrote and tells you to pick your own. What a way to weenie out.
Story eleven another con, Double or Quits. Good thing it quit when it did.
Now story twelve The Senior Vice President was a good one. Reminded me of Elmore Leonard with all bad guys trying to out con each other. You’re pulling for our hero the senior vice president to pull it off as his plan takes the expected unexpected turns and twists. A winner of a story it is.
Story thirteen, A Good Toss To Lose, was takes place during World War I and though somewhat predictable was enjoyable and somewhat sad too.
Now the last chapter isn’t even a story at all. It's the first four chapters of a book of the author’s to come out in November of 2018. Yes that’s right 2018. He uses Tell Tale Stories published in the fall of 2017 to plug a book coming out a year away. Now if the book was coming out in December of this year, just in time for a great holiday gift or some other holiday plug, that would make sense, but nobody is going to remember it a year from now. What were the publishers at St. Martin's Press were thinking anyway. Definitely a poor business decision. Somebody’s head needs to roll. I never even read the four chapter come on. That’ll show ‘em.
Overall the book was enjoyable. I recommend it. I like stories with quirky twisted endings and this book has its share in abundance. The only thing distracting about it was all the names and places over there in England. Like duh that mattered or something to me an American like me. His English audience though probably appreciates it. And the author, being English, does use quite a lot of uniquely English phrases throughout his stories. But nothing there’s more difficult to interpret than, ’a spot of tea old chap.’ Oh well. Cheerio and Ta Ta for now. And oh yes, keep a stiff upper lip.