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HALL OF FAMEon 22 December 2005
Jeffrey Archer's 'Twelve Red Herrings' are imaginative, well-written short stories. Archer (now Lord Archer, the variously popular-then-disgraced-then-popular-currently-disgraced Tory almost-leader) is better known for his novels, but has proven himself to be a good author of short stories as well.
Each of the twelve tales in the collection contains an unexpected twist in the character or outcome, something that Archer is good at providing in most plots he's written. Archer seems to have the knack of taking one idea and spinning it, like a spider's web coming from one small strand, into a very fine and very wide reaching net that catches you and keeps you involved until the end.
In 'Cheap at Half the Price' we are introduced to Consuela Rosenheim, a woman with expensive tastes which require both a wealthy husband and wealthy lover to satisfy, working in concert but each unwitting of the other. Her procurement of a necklace is a wonderful story.
In 'Trial and Error' we follow Cooper on an ingenious plot for revenge, to finally carry out the murder for which he has already been sentenced and convicted, knowing that due to the construct of the law, the murder cannot be punished (he has already been convicted and served his time).
The final story is my favourite, and of course you will, as I did, read all the endings: Archer provides a brief tale of desire-at-first-sight and the variations on the theme; how will it turn out? A question we often ask in life, and wonder will it end up well done or burnt to a crisp? Using this analogy, 'One Man's Meat...' follows a man who sees a beautiful woman while driving by, and stops to pursue her. What will happen? Is she single or married? Is HE single or married? Will she be flattered or offended? In the four alternate endings to this tale, the reader experiences each alternative.
This is good bedtime reading, as most of the stories can be finished in under half-an-hour. For those who have not read Archer before, this is a good introduction to his storytelling style. This will not be confused for great literature, but is definitely a good yarn.
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HALL OF FAMEon 28 April 2006
Jeffrey Archer's 'Twelve Red Herrings' are imaginative, well-written short stories. Archer (now Lord Archer, the variously popular-then-disgraced-then-popular-currently-disgraced Tory almost-leader) is better known for his novels, but has proven himself to be a good author of short stories as well.

Each of the twelve tales in the collection contains an unexpected twist in the character or outcome, something that Archer is good at providing in most plots he's written. Archer seems to have the knack of taking one idea and spinning it, like a spider's web coming from one small strand, into a very fine and very wide reaching net that catches you and keeps you involved until the end.

In 'Cheap at Half the Price' we are introduced to Consuela Rosenheim, a woman with expensive tastes which require both a wealthy husband and wealthy lover to satisfy, working in concert but each unwitting of the other. Her procurement of a necklace is a wonderful story.

In 'Trial and Error' we follow Cooper on an ingenious plot for revenge, to finally carry out the murder for which he has already been sentenced and convicted, knowing that due to the construct of the law, the murder cannot be punished (he has already been convicted and served his time).

The final story is my favourite, and of course you will, as I did, read all the endings: Archer provides a brief tale of desire-at-first-sight and the variations on the theme; how will it turn out? A question we often ask in life, and wonder will it end up well done or burnt to a crisp? Using this analogy, 'One Man's Meat...' follows a man who sees a beautiful woman while driving by, and stops to pursue her. What will happen? Is she single or married? Is HE single or married? Will she be flattered or offended? In the four alternate endings to this tale, the reader experiences each alternative.

This is good bedtime reading, as most of the stories can be finished in under half-an-hour. For those who have not read Archer before, this is a good introduction to his storytelling style. This will not be confused for great literature, but is definitely a good yarn.
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on 12 February 2015
I love short stories, but hated these. I thought the fact most of the stories are true stories would make this very interesting, but they are delivered so badly, they are simply annoying.
I don't want to give any spoilers so will be a bit vague, but hopefully you will get the idea.
The idea is that the ending hits you as a surprise and isn't what you expect, so...
The first story ended by telling you who had done it and how except 'the character saw Mrs X and recognised her from before - i expect you realised who she was before me' - NO I didn't and still have no ides who she is.The story doesn't tell me and the ONLY possible woman couldn't be Mrs X because she was in jail abroad. I even used the Kindle 'search book' to see who this was, but she didn't appear in the book.
Story 2 relies on 2 men who don't know each other going into the same shop to buy the same item and saying EXACTLY the same thing and doing EXACTLY the same thing. These men both come from different countries but happen to be in the same place, they also happen to have EXACTLY the same amount of money to throw away and they are leaving the country at EXACTLY the same time. There are more coincidences too. This is too far fetched to believe, and although this is based on a true story and supposedly really happened, the story needs more detail to bring it together. It needs explanations about why they both are willing to do what they do, why they do it and lots more.
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on 28 July 2014
Great fast paced holiday book. Not read Jeffrey Archer before and was a bit sceptical beforehand. But I really enjoyed it. Very brief descriptions keep the whole thing moving along. Lots of twists and turns. Could imagine it as a movie. I think it was the characters that kept me engaged. I just wanted to find out what happened to them. Finished it at 1.30am as I couldn't put it down. Not like me as my eyes start to close the minute I get into bed usually. Enjoyed it so much I bought another Archer to read!
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on 20 November 2012
Enjoyable, twelve short stories all with a twist at the end.
Last story has three alternative endings which you can select one or read all three.
Good for a holiday read.
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on 31 March 2013
I have to be honest it was not a book I could get into. I found the stories "Red Herrings" far to short to properly enjoy
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on 25 July 2013
I'm not a great fan of short stories,but and there's always a "but" with JA's writing abilities,some of his stories are really good,but sadly some are quite mediocre.If like me you like to reread books at a later stage,then "highlight" the good ones in the index for future reference.

There was one short story,the name of which eludes me,but it was about a couple who went from dislike/distain to love eternal unto the final sacrifice and just to find this story again it would be worth reading through all of his short stories.

I love a story short or long that leaves this sort of impression
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on 4 November 2013
This was my first purchase since buying the Kindle and as a devotee of the Library service since I was 11years of age (now 77) I was reluctant to buy too many books so started with this one unaware that it was short stories only. However, the first one was quite lengthy and I did enjoy it and also read the rest of them but not so impressed. In support of modern technology my children tell me I have to consider the time taken to visit the library, the petrol, the parking fee etc., and am sure I will use the Kindle more and more.

I am currently reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and will report back.
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on 18 March 2015
There are those that sneer at Jeffrey Archer's writing style, but to be fair to him, he has stated on many occasions that he regards himself as a story teller, rather than a writer. The stories gathered in this book are engaging and most have the added frisson of being based on real events, as told to the author by some of the very wide variety of people he has met. The last story has no less than four alternative endings, this is a bit tiresome...two alternatives would surely have been enough. But overall, this collection of tales is very entertaining.
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on 28 June 2012
if you like short stories then you will love this book,some clever and interesting stories in this one, also the last story has 4 different endings on it, and you had to pick which one you would prefer, of course you are compelled to read all 4 endings, well i was anyway, plus i think this is the book he wrote while he was in prison himself,but i might be wrong on that (more research needed sorry)well the very 1st story i thought was about him or based on his experience in there. a very clever and interesting book.
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