Book review: Tell Tale by Jeffrey Archer

Saturday, November 4, 2017 Permalink

I didn’t actually request this book and wasn’t too sure about it as: 1. I haven’t read anything by Jeffrey Archer for quite some time; and 2. I’m not usually a fan of short stories.

However, I’d had a bit of a lull in new book arrivals and figured the best thing about short stories is that you can leap into them when you have time, then put the book aside when one story comes to an end rather than getting stuck in the middle of something.

Book review: Tell Tale by Jeffrey ArcherTell Tale
by Jeffrey Archer
Published by Macmillan
on October 31st 2017
Source: PanMacmillan
Genres: Crime Fiction, Short Stories
ISBN: 1447252292
Pages: 208

Find out what happens to the hapless young detective from Naples who travels to an Italian hillside town to find out Who Killed the Mayor? and the pretentious schoolboy in A Road to Damascus, whose discovery of the origins of his father's wealth changes his life in the most profound way

Revel in the stories of the 1930s woman who dares to challenge the men at her Ivy League University in A Gentleman and A Scholar while another young woman who thumbs a lift gets more than she bargained for in A Wasted Hour.

As it happened I read all of this book in one long bath sitting. And there was something familiar about Archer’s writing. I know I read his work a long time ago, but it reminded me of the sort of short stories found in magazines I read on holidays in my teens. I can’t recall what they were, but I sped through this book with a surprising sense of ease or comfort.

It’s always hard to review a book of short stories, though easier to comment on a collection by one author than a compilation by several authors.

Interestingly the first couple of of stories were the more traditional police / crime whodunnit type pieces. But then things became more varied. There was the story of a University professor – the first female lecturer at Yale in 1970 and an anecdotal piece bookending her university life.

There was a story about an ambitious young man who set up his own car park on someone else’s land, how his ingenuity and hard work paid off and how he got away with it.

There was a University student picked up hitch-hiking by an unlikely good samaritan; and a tale of redemption via a group of school boys visiting former concentrations camps.

And then there was a clever rendition of a banker screwed over by his employer and how he got back at them, not to mention retirees scamming insurance companies and stories of infidelity.

It could be the era in which many are set (long before my time – no matter how ancient you think I perhaps am!) but like I said, I was reminded of magazines I read when young and (twisty) Two Minute Mysteries from my childhood. Not exactly whodunnits, but tales of warning and lessons to be learned.

This is an enjoyable collection of short stories and – I gather – based on people he’s met and places he’s been. Well, most places I’m assuming! 😉

Tell Tale by Jeffrey Archer was published in Australia by Pan Macmillan on 31 October 2017.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.



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