March 23, 2015

And Thereby Hangs a Tale by Jeffrey Archer

The famous writer Jeffrey Archer Brings fifteen short stories together in the book 'And Thereby Hangs a Tale' in which ten are inspired by real incidents. Each stories are penned in a simple words and ends with a twist.

My favourites are :

Stuck on you: Jeremy, who was too blindly in love with Arabella, a woman out of his reach, falls into her trap and agrees to do a robbery to win her, by giving an engagement ring she wants. He walks into a diamond store, according to her plan where he is invited into a private cabin by the manager, who considers Jeremy as the gentleman by judging his appearance. The manager, shows him the finest choice of stones they have and finds later that the expensive one is missing from the box. Jeremy is suspected and taken into the custody of their securities. Moments later, Jeremy walks out clean as the securities fail to find the ring. Arabella also visits the same diamond store on the same day. The manager invites the regular customer into private cabin and shows their wide collection of stones. She says it is difficult to choose one and promises the manager to come back with Fiance in the evening. Arabella gets a taxi and goes to meet the man waiting for her at Wimbledon and never returns to Jeremy, who was waiting to propose her at a restaurant. The suspense is revealed at the end as the maid at the diamond store finds a chewing gum beneath the table in private cabin and drops it in the dustbin scolding the manager for bad habits.

High Heels: This is the story of an insurance detective Alan Penfold, who is excited to start working on his first independent case. He drives to Romford, where a hundred year old warehouse, situated in an isolated area caught fire at night. He meets the fire officer who believes that the faulty wiring could be the reason behind the fire and so it would be easier for the owner to claim his insurance for the building and the materials in it, each of them for around two million pounds. Alan searches the area for any proof recalling his supervisor's words 'It's often not what you do see that matters, but what you don’t see' ,but does not find any. Later, Alan finds the insurance company representative Mr. Bill Hadman and Mr. Des Lomax ,the owner of the warehouse in a nearest pub. Alan is surprised to find Mr. Lomax in a relaxed mood rather than heartbroken and curious when he argued about why the insurance company would hesitate to give him four million pounds. Back at home, Alan talks to wife, who becomes eager to hear about the case hearing the word 'shoes' and her questions, give him an idea to clear his doubts and the 'something isn't right' feeling in mind. Alan visits the claim manager and asks him for financial support, but the manager neglects the suggestion and tells him to come up with solid reasons to get the money from him. Alan goes back to the site again and this time he was impressed not to find any proof, but only the charred remnant of the warehouse. He visits the bar in the hope to hear some gossips from the locals and learns that Mr. Lomax has gone to Corfu with his latest girlfriend. He calls up Mr. Hadman for updates and is baffled to know that its Mr. Hadman who has gone to Corfu , not Mr. Lomax. Alan visits the claim manager again to tell he can help them to save two millions and the manager gives him the money he needs. He uses up the money on Roger Vivier and Manolo Blahnik shoes, the same brand of shoes which were stored in the warehouse at the time of the fire. He arranges a meeting with the Mr. Lomax at the site. Alan reveals that he knows Mr. Lomax did not go to Curfu as he was busy disposing the shoes from the warehouse. Mr. Lomax denies that showing the bills and receipts from Curfu and challenges him to prove it. This time Alan gets the shoes and a can of petrol from his car and burns it. Once it was cleared , they found large metal buckles!. Alan accuses Mr. Des Lomax for setting up a fraud to claim the insurance money and gives him a choice between two million pounds and jail.

    I would like to say both the stories are cleverly written but those are based on true incidents. Expectations were high when I started reading the book that I picked up from my hard-core Jeffrey Archer fan cousin's collection. Enjoyed the first half with the exciting twists and turns, but the other half turned out to be dull and slow. Some stories are really predictable and some are dragged unnecessarily. The stories will be soon erased from mind since it fails to engross the readers, though the book gives a perceptive analysis of human nature, which is unpredictable. I will not suggest reading it unless you are one of those 'hard-core' fan of Jeffrey Archer.

Happy Reading!!!