To Cut a Long Story Short

To Cut a Long Story Short

4.1 12
by Jeffrey Archer

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In To Cut a Long Story Short, New York Times bestselling author Jeffrey Archer delivers an enthralling new collection of short stories. Listeners will have a difficult time sorting fact from fiction as each story comes complete with intriguing characters, ingenious plotting and Archer's trademark surprise endings.

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In To Cut a Long Story Short, New York Times bestselling author Jeffrey Archer delivers an enthralling new collection of short stories. Listeners will have a difficult time sorting fact from fiction as each story comes complete with intriguing characters, ingenious plotting and Archer's trademark surprise endings.

From the cleverest of confidence tricks, to the quirks of the legal profession, to the intrigues of love at first sight, Archer keeps listeners guessing at what is truly as it seems to be and what is a hoax, what is real and what is a red herring. His mastery of character and suspense is apparent, each word is necessary and each ending will shock and surprise.
To Cut a Long Story Short is Archer at the top of his form. It is stylish, witty, constantly entertaining, and will captivate listeners who will race through each story to find out how it ends.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection of sometimes intriguing, sometimes obvious stories is best suited to a series of short car trips rather than one long one: the listener tends to catch on fast to the O'Henry-esque endings, so the stories are less entertaining all at a gulp. And some might well have been cut shorter. Archer is least successful when the surprise endings turn solely on legal technicalities--as in "Crime Pays" and "Both Sides Against the Middle"--but a lot of fun when he interweaves legal issues with the relationships among the characters--as he does so well in "The Expert Witness" and "The End Game." These two particular stories also work well because, just when listeners think they've got the surprise ending, the plot thickens and twists again and then again. Some of the pieces are based on true incidents. In "A Change of Heart," for example, a South African bigot causes a car accident. The driver of the other car dies, and the bigot's life is saved by a heart transplant--the heart of the black man he killed in the accident. These are lighthearted stories, and Bill Wallace's reading is marvelous. He has a pleasing voice and crisp British accent that are entirely appropriate here, and he knows how to handle humor, irony and character differentiation without overdoing it. Simultaneous release with the HarperCollins hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 11, 2000). (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Thrillmeister Archer cuts to the chase: a new collection of short stories. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.04(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the market-place I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture; now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there death will not find me. The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the market-place and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning? That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

The Expert Witness

'Damn good drive,' said Toby, as he watched his opponent's ball sail through the air. 'Must be every inch of 230, perhaps even 250 yards,' he added, as he held up his hand to his forehead to shield his eyes from the sun, and continued to watch the ball bouncing down the middle of the fairway.

'Thank you,' said Harry.

'What did you have for breakfast this morning, Harry?' Toby asked when the ball finally came to a halt.

'A row with my wife,' came back his opponent's immediate reply. 'She wanted me to go shopping with her this morning.'

'I'd be tempted to get married if I thought itwould improve my golf that much,' said Toby as he addressed his ball. 'Damn,' he added a moment later, as he watched his feeble effort squirt towards the heavy rough no more than a hundred yards from where he stood.

Toby's game did not improve on the back nine, and when they headed for the clubhouse just before lunch, he warned his opponent, 'I shall have to take my revenge in court next week.'

'I do hope not,' said Harry, with a laugh.

'Why's that?' asked Toby as they entered the clubhouse.

'Because I'm appearing as an expert witness on your side,' Harry replied as they sat down for lunch.

'Funny,' Toby said. 'I could have sworn you were against me.'

Sir Toby Gray QC and Professor Harry Bamford were not always on the same side when they met up in court.

'All manner of persons who have anything to do before My Lords the Queen's Justices draw near and give your attendance.'

The Leeds Crown Court was now sitting. Mr. Justice Fenton presided.

Sir Toby eyed the elderly judge. A decent and fair man, he considered, though his summings-up, could be a trifle long-winded. Mr Justice Fenton nodded down from the bench.

Sir Toby rose from his place, to open the defence case. 'May it please Your Lordship, members of the jury, I am aware of the great responsibility that rests on my shoulders. To defend a man charged with murder can never be easy. It is made even more difficult when the victim is his wife, to whom he had been happily married for over twenty years. This the Crown has accepted, indeed formally admitted.

'My task is not made any easier, m'lud,' continued Sir Toby, 'when all the circumstantial evidence, so adroitly presented by my learned friend Mr Rodgers in his opening speech yesterday, would on the face of it make the defendant appear guilty. However,' said Sir Toby, grasping the tapes of his black silk gown and turning to face the jury, 'I intend to call a witness whose reputation is beyond reproach. I am confident that he will leave you, members of the jury, with little choice but to return a verdict of not guilty. I call Professor Harold Bamford.'

A smartly dressed man, wearing a blue double-breasted suit, white shirt and a Yorkshire County Cricket Club tie, entered the courtroom and took his place in the witness box. He was presented with a copy of the New Testament, and read the oath with a confidence that would have left no member of the jury in any doubt that this wasn't his first appearance at a murder trial...

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