The twelve stories include the following: (1) The Man who robbed his own post office, (2) Maetro, (3) Don’t drink the water, (4) It can’t be October already, (5) The red king, (6) The wisdom of Solomon, (7) Know what I mean, (8) Charity begins at home, (9) The alibi, (10) A Greek tragedy, (11 The commissioner, and (12) In the eye of the beholder.
Among these stories, I like the plot and characters in (1), (2), (4), (6), (7), (8) and (10). “The man who robbed his own post office” is actually a couple that robbed their own business firm to earn back their original investment because they feel that the money will not be returned to them even they will work hard for the rest of their lives. The second story, Maestro is funny and unpredictable. Again, it is quite a reflection of a real situation when people try to evade from paying taxes. “It can’t be October already” (4th story) on the other hand, it is also a funny story - something that reflects the weakness of the legal system and being abused by criminals. The 6th story also shows how the legal process can pass fair judgment; while the 7th story that proves that despite the laws and regulations are properly administered and enforced, still there are some people can evade or get away from it. While the 8th story, Charity begins at home tells us that there are simple means in getting richer by money laundering. Finally, the 10th story also tells us that sometimes bad things happen for reasons, consequently the outcomes influence the way people live their lives.
Overall, Jeff proves that money is the main cause of all troubles and his stories also illustrate on how money can greatly influence our way of living, BUT it can also provide good karma to people. From a legal perspective, Jeff told the stories that allow the readers to understand the grounds for crime and the loopholes or weaknesses within the legal system. It is not a straight forward storytelling, but always with unexpected twists that linger in our mind for a while...
Note: This book in hardbound is part of my Read-Release Challenge which is my personal commitment with my first participation in World Book Night 2011 (UK). I gave it as a birthday gift to a new friend from Nigeria and she's also a PhD student at the university where I'm currently enrolled.
"A storyteller in the class of Alexander Dumas. . . Unsurpassed skill…making the reader wonder intensely what will happen next." (The Washington Post)
"There isn't a better story-teller alive." (Larry King)
"Archer is a master entertainer." (Time)
"Archer is a terrific story-teller, and meets the reader's ultimate tests---to want to turn the page to see what happens next." (Sunday Times, London)
"Probably the greatest storyteller of our age." (Mail on Sunday, London)
"Jeffrey Archer has a gift for plot that can only be described as genius." (Daily Telegraph, London)
"Cunning plots, silken style . . . Archer plays a cat-and-mouse game with the reader." (The New York Times)