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Earlier Archer--not a bad tale but don't expect The Clifton Chronicles
on May 23, 2014
This is a cute little story of four men scammed by a supreme con artist. They form a cabal dedicated to recovering what they'd lost in a stock scam, "not a penny more, not a penny less" (plus expenses.) Each man is to come up with a plan to recover a portion of the total sum. There is a sweet little twist near the last quarter of the book and one is never sure how the fifth "man" in the plot will work out.
The sketch of the con man Harvey Metcalfe and his early life is excellent, but he soon is pushed to the background as the four men take over in their plot to revenge themselves. I found that was a flaw in the book. Archer is a master of creating characters and when one who is so important to the story becomes sort of a dummy, it is annoying.
Don't expect the type of family saga Archer is so adept at writing. This is a cute little tale about revenge, with the usual Archer twists and turns. Some people LOVE this novel and consider it one of his best, but I found it basically light reading and not as enjoyable as any of the Clifton novels. However, as a summer "beach read" it's just about perfect. It would have made a great film with Alec Guinness, I can just see it in my head!