Review: Lauren O’Connor-May
This is the first time I’ve read Jeffrey Archer and while my colleagues and fellow bookworms are gaga about him, I didn’t feel compelled to look for any of his other books when I finished this collection of short stories.
I liked some of the stories but by the time I reached the end of the book, it took me a while to figure out exactly what bugged me about the others. It took a while because, even though the stories were well-written, clever, funny and surprising, they just didn’t feel fresh.
Eventually I realised that the stories that didn’t sit well with me were too similar to others that I’d read in Roald Dahl’s short story collections – and even had similar themes; war, spousal comeuppance, trickstering – but when compared with Roald Dahl, they came up short.
That said, some of the stories were genuinely entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed a few of them. Such as the first, Who Killed the Mayor, which read like an article in a travel magazine with a humourously perplexing murder mystery at the centre.
The Car Park Attendant was my favourite. It tells the story of Joe and Molly Simpson, a down on their luck young family who mastermind a dramatic turn-around in their fortunes with a little illegal genius.
My least favourite story was Double or Quits. To me, the story felt too unrealistic and forced and I didn’t like the ending.
And speaking of endings, in another of the stories The Holiday of a Lifetime – which didn’t irk me too much – the reader is given three endings to choose from.
The winner of Dan Brown’s Origin was Russell Grebe of Lansdowne.