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And thereby hangs a tale
Jeffrey Archer
Adult Fiction ARCHER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Bestseller Archer assembles 15 more of the clever stories for which he is known. They are split between tales of trickery, as with "Stuck on You," where an eager young man is played by a diamond thief, and decidedly sentimental stories, such as "Members Only," about a man who wants nothing more than to join a private country club. Archer marks with an asterisk stories that are based on true incidents (10 in this collection), and whether it is the weight of credibility these stories' genesis lends or if the author works better with some starting material, the entirely imagined stories are also the weakest. "Politically Correct" never gets out of the shallows in its attempt to be provocative, and "Better the Devil You Know," with its evil executive making a deal with the devil (aka Mr. De Ath), is silly even for this author, who usually writes with a winningly light touch. Still, Archer's writing exudes a certain charm and is mostly satisfying. His trademark twists-sometimes a surprise to the reader, sometimes not-and genial tone will endear these mostly cozy stories to his many fans. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Archer's bibliography contains 18 novels, three plays, and, with this newest title, six short story collections. During his recent travels, Archer, inevitably aware that short stories have their root in oral storytelling, gathered these colorful anecdotes, then spun them into whimsical tales. His refined characterization, penchant for British history, and trademark inclusion of cunning twists typify these 15 tales, three of which he situates outside the British Isles. However, although readers have been drawn to his works for over 30 years, reviewers panned his most recent novel, Paths of Glory, for its excessive fictionalization of history. Likewise, critics of his previous stories anticipated a future Cheever or Fitzgerald; this collection may diminish their optimism. Here, awaiting the upcoming twist upon which hangs each tale also requires absorption of excessive plot developments. Archer is now in his 70s and has written for over 34 years; his noted style seems tedious and worn. Verdict For appreciative short story readers as well as for comprehensive, contemporary short story collections.-Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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