To Cut a Long Story Short

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9780061032073: To Cut a Long Story Short

From the master storyteller comes a masterful collection of fourteen riveting tales of elaborate confidence tricks, political chicanery, immoral behavior, and dangerously illicit affairs, rendered with the breathtaking narrative twists that have become the Jeffrey Archer hallmark.

Here are all new stories that will engross and astonish, peopled with a rich assortment of truly memorable characters: the intoxicating woman who appears to her lover only once every six years; the British diplomat who employs his rather creative -- if not entirely ethical -- financial talents for a greater good; the millionaire who declares himself bankrupt to test the love and loyalties of those closest to him.

This is Jeffrey Archer at the top of his form, as he offers us unique fables of our time and civilization, each one shining a harsh yet hypnotic light on that fascinating, complex being called "human."

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Review:

To Cut a Long Story Short reads like a series of modern fairy tales. In each story, Jeffrey Archer presents a moral problem, and a character finds himself tested in a dark hour. Evil manifests itself in the form of selfish relatives, corrupt cops, racist men. Good arrives in the form of unselfish minor characters who suddenly emerge as the real center of the story, or lost souls who come out the other side of corruption and renounce their old ways.

In "The Endgame" Cornelius Barrington decides to fake a bankruptcy. As one of the richest men in his small town, he hopes his sudden plunge into poverty will reveal the true character of his friends and relatives. He calls in debts, asks to borrow money from those he has lent to in the past, only to be turned away time and again.

After lunch Cornelius took a bus into town--a novel experience. It was some time before he located a bus stop, and then he discovered that the conductor didn't have change for a twenty pound note. His first call after he had been dropped off in the town centre was to the local estate agent, who didn't seem surprised to see him. Cornelius was delighted to find how quickly the rumour of his financial demise must be spreading.
"The Endgame" is a complex tale with a clear message. Not all the stories in To Cut a Long Story Short attempt such weightiness. "The Expert Witness" is a delightful parody of the legal system, a portrait of two pub mates--a lawyer and an expert witness--who often find themselves facing off in the courtroom, pretending not to know each other. Certain pieces (glimpses, vignettes) last a mere two pages, but whatever the length or weight of the story, throughout this collection Archer has a light touch, a quick wit, and a thorough understanding of the mechanics of suspense. --Emily White

From the Back Cover:

An enthralling collection of stories―with unforgettable characters, ingenious plotting, and surprise endings―from internatioanl bestselling author

Jeffrey Archer

A dying man doesn't know which of his relations to leave his fortune to, only to find out who really cares about him. A chance overheard conversation changes the course of an entire man's life. A woman savors every word of a letter from her lover while her husband reads over her shoulder.A criminal on the loose confesses that he is desperate to be caught.A widowed mother learns the cold truth about her second husband at the dawn of her third marriage. A pencil, the cruellest of the artist's tools, leaves nothing to chance...

"[In this] collection of fourteen cleverly twisting tales,Archer maintains his obsession with surprise endings."―Publishers Weekly

"Archer plots with skill, and keeps you turning the pages." ―The Boston Globe

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