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Whatever you may feel about Sir Jeffrey Archer, there is one thing which is frankly undeniable, he is a very very successful author, having sold in excess of 135 millions copies of his various books.
Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less was Archers' first novel first published in Britain in 1976, it was an instant hit and has since spawned both a radio adaptation and a succesful television adaptation in 1990, which I have to admit was my first encounter with the story
Based around a seemingly simple premise - a con man has swindled four men out of a great deal of money and they want it back - Archer weaves a wonderfully interesting and gripping storyline which is very well thought out and takes unexpected twists and turns as it progresses.
The whole book is brought to life by his excellently detailed descriptive writing, great characterisation and great pacing which keeps the book flowing along at a good rate never allowing the reader to get bored. I found this book veyr hard to put down the first time I read it some years ago and was quite surprised when I read it again recently as it was still just as good.
Some people knock Archers' skills as a writer but I personally feel that comes about predominantly because they don't like him as a person. I actually find them to be very accessible, no hugely long paragraphs that make your eyes glaze over, not unnecessary complicatedness, they are nice and easy to read and conjure up the worlds of the books very well leaving you a clear picture of everything that is happening with no murky areas...except for those skillfully wielded by Archer to keep you guessing as the story progresses. I have enjoyed every one of the large number of his books that I have read!!!
If you have never read A Jeffrey Archer book, this is a great one to start with and if you like it you can be glad that he has written plenty more great books to enjoy when this one is finished!!!
I read this book after reading Kane and Able and it turned me into a Jeffrey Archer fanatic. Now I can't get enough of his books. I bought a job lot from e-bay and have been reading them constantly. I finished my last one last night and I am in the process of looking for more - my life isn't complete now without a Jeffrey Archer book at my side. I have loved every one of his books (although I'm not quite as keen on his short stories). Prior to this I was mostly a romantic fiction reader, but I could never be as fullfilled with these now. Please Mr Archer don't stop writing!
Thank you to the two people who at least took their time to explain why they thought my review was poor. I've done as you suggested and read other reviews and I understand what you mean.
In my defense - all I intended to do was convey a sense of the how this book made me feel in the hope that others, who also usually stick to romances, may think it's worthwhile giving this book a chance.
This may make me even more unpopular - but I found the full reviews boring and, in many cases, too informative. It's sufficent for me to read a books' own summary to get the gist of it. I don't want to know the entire plot and where people bought the book from.
I rest my case!
And look forward to even more low ratings. But I don't care as at least I've had the opportunity to make my point about this great author.
Categories: Fiction , Crime, Thrillers & Mystery
Paperback 200 pages (July 4, 2003)
About the Author:
Jeffrey Archer has written many books, short stories and plays. In total he has written over 12 Books and is probably most famous for his short stories (and I suppose for his prison sentance for perjury). He has now sales of over 120 Million Books worldwide and is truly the master of the plot twist.
Jeffrey Archer was born in Western Super Mare, England on April 15, 1940 and grew up in Somerset. He is now married to his wife Mary and has two sons.
About the Book:
Not a Penny More, Not a Penny less is his first book that he wrote in 1976 (actually the year I was born!).
Not a Penny More, Not a Penny less follows the story of a conman Harry Metcalfe who is a self made millionaire, who swindles 4 men out of 1 Million dollars in a searching for Oil scam.
The 4 men all expect to be rich following this investment, but find themselves virtually bankrupt instead. The four men come from different areas and backgrounds, they include Stephen Bradley - who is an Oxford Don, an Doctor, a French Art collector and a Lord.
Now Stephen Bradley decides that in order to get their money back they should con Harvey Metcalfe out of the money themselves and the other three agree.
Therefore each of the 4 men have to come up with a different plan to get back their £250,000 that they have invested in the Oil Scam.
There is therefore really 4 plots in one book as you move from each plot onto the next so that they can get their money back. I am not going to go into the actual plots here as that would just spoil the book - and then whyshould you want to read it.
There is a most amusing twist at the end of the tale, which Jeffrey Archer is well known for.
This is Jeffrey Archer's first Book, and in my opinion is probably one of his best. My only complaint is that it is too short, I am always gripped by this book and never want to put it down, and therefore I finish it far too fast.
What to say about this book, firstly I would say that the characters are really good in this book. For all that Harvey Metcalfe is a scoundral, he is a lovable scoundral and I have always kinda liked him. The other 4 characters are also entertaining each in their own way.
I personally really like the style of Jeffrey Archer's books, they are entertaining, easy to read but usually have some interesting twists to make it really entertaining. If you are looking for a good, entertaining fun book - that will not take you long to read, then definetely pick this book up.
I would also highlight that the plots in this book are actually quite believable and I have always thought that it could actually happen, and as I hate totally unbelievable books, this has always been a plus point for this book.
The ending in this book is also absolutely brilliant and has always made me laugh every time I read it.
In summary, I cannot recommend this book enough, it is fun, interesting, has some nice twists and turns and is a great book to read.
Verdict: 5 out of 5
Harvey Matcalfe is a self-made multi-millionaire, he?s also a crook dealing very expertly in fraud. Harvey takes on a new deal ? Prospecta Oil ? and once again he is successful, selling off all of his shares at high prices for a company which is worth very little. As usual, nothing can be traced back to him, technically what he has done is totally legal. The only drawback to this plan is the people who he has just made penniless. His victims in this escapade are the viscount James Brigsley, heir to an earldom, Dr Robin Oakley, a Harley Street doctor, Jean-Pierre Lamanns, a Bond Street art dealer and Stephen Bradley, an Oxford don. Stephen Bradley, the brains behind foursome, learns the identity of the three other large investors when being interviewed by the police. He also learns the amount which Harvey had acquired from them. Stephen get in touch with the others, and he tempts with an offer they can not refuse; the opportunity to get their money back from Harvey Metcalfe, and without him knowing it. They agree, and start the process of getting back $1 million, not a penny more, not a penny less (plus expenses, of course). The deal is this; each member of the team must come up with a plan to get their share of the money back, using the other members if necessary. They all go back to their lives to think up their plans. The next time they meet they all have their plans ready, except James, he can not think of any way to sting Harvey for the money. Never the less the other plans are to go ahead. They are all to take place during Harvey?s usual tour of Europe, and the only weapons that they have is Harvey?s very predictable habits and the fact that he has never met any of them. He loves to give money to the big Universities, his generosity to Harvard is well known. He loves impressionist paintings, and still needs to complete his collection. He races horses and dreams of winning the King George VI and Elizabeth stakes at As
cot. And he always stays in Monte Carlo for some gambling during his tour, in his opinion there is no finer casino. One by one, the team must deploy their plans and get their money back, they must play Harvey Metcalfe at his own game, only they will have to be good, and they will have to be careful... This story seems to be slow to start. This is mostly because the setting of the scene takes a while, and Archer has paid a lot attention to the details, explaining how Harvey Metcalfe started to earn his riches and detailing the workings of the Prospecta Oil deal. Also there is much detail on the organising of the individual plans, and explaining in great detail the lives of the ?Team? members. It is not, therefore, until the plans are actually set in motion that the real exciting stuff starts. Nothing goes exactly to plan and the team frequently finds themselves having to improvise due to Harvey?s tendency not to do what they expect (unfortunately, giving an example would ruin the story for those who have not already read it). James Brigsley?s acting talents are used to great effect, thus ensuring that the team does not feel to let down by his apparent inability to come up with his own plan, making up for this by starring in the other plans. The most exciting events occur at the end, with a surprise which some may have been expecting. Sometimes I feel the surrounding scenery could have been detailed a little further, although this would perhaps make the book too lengthy. After a slow start, and perhaps too much emphasis on the money, Jeffrey Archer creates a stunning finale.
One million dollars - that's what Harvey Metcalfe, lifelong king of shady deals, has pulled off with empty promises of an oil bonanza and instant riches. Overnight, four men - the heir to an earldom, a Harley Street doctor, a Bond Street art dealer and an Oxford don - find themselves penniless.