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And Thereby Hangs a Tale Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 14, 2010

4 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Archer assembles 15 more of the clever stories for which he is known. They are split between tales of trickery, as with "Stuck on You," where an eager young man is played by a diamond thief, and decidedly sentimental stories, such as "Members Only," about a man who wants nothing more than to join a private country club. Archer marks with an asterisk stories that are based on true incidents (10 in this collection), and whether it is the weight of credibility these stories' genesis lends or if the author works better with some starting material, the entirely imagined stories are also the weakest. "Politically Correct" never gets out of the shallows in its attempt to be provocative, and "Better the Devil You Know," with its evil executive making a deal with the devil (aka Mr. De Ath), is silly even for this author, who usually writes with a winningly light touch. Still, Archer's writing exudes a certain charm and is mostly satisfying. His trademark twists--sometimes a surprise to the reader, sometimes not--and genial tone will endear these mostly cozy stories to his many fans.
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From Booklist

Like Cat O’ Nine Tales (2007), Archer‘s latest collection of short fiction features stories based (sometimes rather loosely, we suspect) on true incidents or people. Of the 15 stories, 10, we’re told, are based on “known incidents,” which means, for example, that something similar to the very clever method of stealing jewelry described in “Stuck on You” might actually have been tried. Or that someone like Benny, the too-clever-for-his-own-good prison stoolie, might really have sentenced himself to a life of looking over his shoulder. Aside from the fact that they’re marked with an asterisk, it’s hard to tell the true(-ish) stories from the outright fictional ones: in all of them, Archer creates engaging characters and puts them into situations that range from tragic to comic to, well . . . a little strange. Once again we have ample proof that Archer is as proficient with short stories as he is with novels. --David Pitt
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312539533
  • ASIN: B004NSVFEK
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,378,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Just about everyone loves a good story. And after reading or hearing an especially good one, who doesn't want to know the real story behind the story? The title of AND THEREBY HANGS A TALE comes from a quote in a William Shakespeare play, and it means just that --- the story behind the story.

In the tradition of master storytellers, Jeffrey Archer has crafted a collection of 15 short tales. Set in England, Ireland, America, India, Germany and points between, the book includes heroes and villains, winners and losers, injustice and comeuppance, love and loss, the demonic and the divine, and features stories of double-crossing crooks, convicts and thieves; a conniving gold-digger; fortune hunters; star-crossed lovers; and much more.

Picking a favorite from such a diverse collection is not an easy task. Those who yearn for suspense and intrigue with a surprising twist will enjoy Archer's original story, "Politically Correct." If you're looking for a perfect blend of humorous and heartwarming, then you should read "The Queen's Birthday Telegram," the true story of a centenarian who gets an unexpected surprise. And in "High Heels," a wife's high-fashion skills help a determined insurance investigator solve a case.

One of the standouts for me is "A Good Eye," an inspiring tale of art, tradition, faith and divine intervention, set in the hills of the Bavarian state of Germany. The story begins in the 1600s, with Herr Hans Grebenar, a church elder who is trained in law but who also has a passion and an eye for art. While serving as a prosecutor in the town of his birth, Grebenar discovers Herr Friedrich Bloch, a gifted painter. Despite his marvelous talent, Bloch can't steer clear of his vices. Grebenar bails Bloch out of his troubles numerous times and becomes his advocate.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have purchased and read every Jeffery Archer book I could find. He is a fantastic author. At first I didn't think I would like his books of short stories. I was wrong - they are great and "Thereby Hangs a Tale is no exception and ranks with my favorites of his books of short stories - A Quiver Full of Arrows, Twelve Red Herrings, and a Cat O'Nine tales. He graduated from Oxford University, was a Member of Parliament, a Playwright and served two years of a four year term in prison. If you have never read any of his books, do so now.
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By bbfan on November 7, 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is the first Jeffrey Archer book I read (or listened to). Since I listened to this I have bought many of his books and have enjoyed every one. The characters are realistic and the story line very interesting.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I thought the story was well-told and interesting. I'll definitely look into more by this author. I do think the publisher made a mistake on this one though - having a free short story to gather interest in the book was a great idea. I think it would have worked better though if the entire book was available to pre-order on Kindle to catch the impulse shoppers like me.
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Some of the stories were great, but the author has begun to use a lot of foul language in some stories. I will not subject myself to that, and so some of the stories I had to pass by. I was very disappointed in that. Being a good author with great skill in writing does not excuse dropping to a crude level. I won't be buying any more of his writings. I have many of his earlier books and enjoyed them greatly.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
i like short stories and overall these do entertain. For some though, I was way ahead of the story and felt I had either read something like it before or that I was more clever than I give myself credit for. Not Archer's best work. And I do like most of his books.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The tale, "Stuck on You" is written economically, yet the few words are filled with imagery that renders the scenes, characters, and the story itself to substance. An A+ read well worth far more than the few moments reading time, those words continue to resonate and expand themselves in my mind.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Jeffrey Archer never ceases to amaze with his stories of people doing things that society frowns upon. The stories are great reads, but I don't recommend that the reader consider replicating the behaviors of the miscreants!
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