And Thereby Hangs a Mediocre Book.
A Jeffrey Archer collection had been tucked away in my family book cupboard for years. I suddenly became interested in his works, and I thought it would be a good way to get introduced to his stories by reading his short story collection.
But it turned out, I should have read his novels which he is mostly known for. And Thereby Hangs a Tale is a mediocre book, with rather forgettable stories. Some stories get dragged so much, that one might even get bored to finish it.
The book has fifteen short stories and ten of them are based on true stories. (although not all are completely based on true events, a significant element has been adapted to create a story.)
The novel starts with Stuck on You, the best from the fifteen stories. The collection is set in such a way that it feels like the best ones are at the beginning and the worst at the end. This placement will make a person rather dejected after finishing it off.
Coming to the good part of the book, there are some catchy stories which save the book from utter devastation. Stuck on You is about a man who is ready to anything for the woman he loves, even when it comes to stealing an engagement ring.
High Heels is about a man’s first case where he tries to solve the puzzling mystery of a shoe factory which burnt down leaving nothing behind.
Where there’s a Will is about a woman who tries to change the will of a dying man to become a millionaire.
I Will Survive is a short read about a antique dealer who desires to sell his items to a famous pop singer.
The Undiplomatic Diplomat is about an aging man who tries to make a name for himself by having an island of his own.
and Members Only tells the long story of a determined man who wishes only to become a part of the highly reputed golf club after getting inspired by his role model. But the War changes his path and makes it an impossible task.
Jeffrey Archer portrays these normal, everyday characters in a fine way which makes these stories entertaining and interesting.
More stories such like Blind Date, The Queen’s Birthday Telegram and Better the Devil You Know are good reads too which have twists in the end. In fact, another highlight of this book are the twists in most of the stories.
On the other hand, there are a few stories which are boring, uninteresting and leave you with nothing in the end. I personally hate books which leave me unattached in the end. Caste-Off feels like a stereotypical Bollywood film and No Room at the Inn is like a sex-scene story.
And Thereby Hangs a Tale offers the readers only a few good stories. I recommend not reading this book if you are willing to get introduced to Archer’s books and come to this book only later on.