Tell Tale: Short Stories by Jeffrey Archer

tell tale

Expected publication: October 24th 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

Read Date: October 3rd 2017

Pages: 227

Stars: 5/5

5 star_crop

Goodreads blurb_edited

Nearly a decade after his last volume of short stories was published, Jeffrey Archer returns with his eagerly-awaited, brand-new collection TELL TALE, giving us a fascinating, exciting and sometimes poignant insight into the people he has met, the stories he has come across and the countries he has visited during the past ten years.

Find out what happens to the hapless young detective from Naples who travels to an Italian hillside town to find out Who Killed the Mayor? and the pretentious schoolboy in A Road to Damascus, whose discovery of the origins of his father’s wealth changes his life in the most profound way.

Revel in the stories of the 1930’s woman who dares to challenge the men at her Ivy League University in A Gentleman and A Scholar while another young woman who thumbs a lift gets more than she bargained for in A Wasted Hour.

These wonderfully engaging and always refreshingly original tales prove not only why Archer has been compared by the critics to Dahl and Maugham, but why he was described by The Times as probably the greatest storyteller of our age.


Tell Tale is collection of 13 historical, Fiction short stories. As it is said in the burb, some of the stories author has written based on real incidents he came across during his travel. All stories have few things in common which made the book real amazing.

Perfect title for each story which itself gave the hint of what I will expect in the story.

Drastic twisty ending- I couldn’t guess in most of the stories what will happen in the end. All stories kept thinking what will happen to character, who will be the culprit. Most of the stories had fair ending.

Determined and strong main character – all main characters in different stories were in different occupation and they were brilliant in that story. Even though the stories were short, I got to know all characters closely. I didn’t feel in any story that I was missing out something about the character or I couldn’t understand character’s action.

  1. Unique– Book starts with the 100 words story challenge for author given by an editor of Reader’s digest. What a brilliant start of the book!
  2. Who killed Mayor? – Lieutenant in Naples, was assigned a murder case in the small town Cortoglia.

Conversation of this helpless young man with town people during investigations was so funny and mysterious. Loved he details of town and people there, the way misery of young officer was shown in the book. And my goodness that end! Just brilliant.

  1. View of Auvers-sur-Oise – Tale of Guy who always wanted be detective gets his first case and first arrest. How? That’s the story.

Few stories had beautiful first lines which showed the turning point in one line without giving away anything. This was one of that. This story proves that whatever you learned in life never goes to dumpster even though chose a different profession. It always helps to have knowledge. Guy’s second love of history of art helped him in his first love police detective.

  1. A Gentleman and a Scholar– Dr. Burbage while giving her last lecture, recalls her first day of lecture at Yale.

Here is my most favorite story in whole book. This was the tale about struggle of female professor in the time period when women were not accepted as a professor and when people thought a woman cannot teach a man anything. Our strong lady professor Dr. Burbage did PhD on Shakespeare’s sonnet. And on her first lecture student decided to test her knowledge on whole canon by reading random scenes and asked for about play, act, and scene. That was a tough battle and Dr. Burbage answered them in smart and amazing way. Again mind blowing ending of the story. I simply loved this character.

I knew plays, as I have heard those stories or watched the movies but I never read anything by Shakespeare or know much about him or his work. Even though I enjoyed this story. Discussions about playwrights and debate on his work was brilliantly written that made me wish to read Shakespeare’s work. I felt like I don’t know anything about old literature. This story is for Shakespeare and literature lovers. Reader like me will also love this one.

” ‘How important is it to have good knowledge of the text,’

‘Most important, but not as important as being able to interpret the meaning of the words, so you have a better understanding of the text.’ ”

  1. All is fair in love and War– Tale of two lover and an arrogant man, Ralph, who did all in his power to separate two lovers and forced a woman to marry him. Even after loveless marriage he refused to divorce her and was plotting strategies to punish her.

I never liked that Ralph dude in this story, if you know me you might know I’m highly against forced love and patronizing nature and that character had all of it to earn my dislike. 😉 I was so happy with the ending. This story proves that all is fair in love and war strategy never works against fair fate and God who is watching everything.

  1. Car Parking Attendant– As title says this was story of car parking attendant. One certificate in math, car parking attendant experience and his wife’s problem solving accountant mind helped Joe earn fortune. How? Well, read the story.

Here is second best story of the book that I loved. Brilliant story and ending. I liked both Joe and his wife, Molly in the story. They made one true perfect pairing. I was so amazed by Joe calculative hard working mind and Molly’s intelligence and never ending support.

  1. Road to Damascus, which changed the life of a school boy who found about his family’s business.

This tale was about life changing trip, friendship, history and aftermath of war.

  1. Wasted Hour- tale about a university student who wanted to be writer, thumb ride to college to learn and experience with different kind of people and their life.

I loved character in this story, her consciousness of picking ride and interesting things she learned from those ride was awesome.

  1. The Cuckold– the title says all. Tale about a wife and a best friend cheating a successful lawyer for money.

This story had a shocking ending. It felt little hanging. I wanted to know what happened next especially with Adam and the case.

  1. Holiday of a lifetime– Holiday of a lifetime gives Mr. and Mrs. Pascoe the idea of earning fortune during their retirements.

This story was about the greed of a retired couple. The way they conned people in this story was mind-blowing. Best thing was author has given this story 3 different ending and left for readers to decide which was most suitable. A was no learning, B was too harsh. So I think I will go with C.

  1. Double or quits– Manager of casino try to follows orders by owner to prevent more suicide that they can’t afford.

This was no doubt smart story but also okay. I was smelling swindle from the very beginning but who was actually behind it, came out in the surprising end.

  1. Senior Vice President– Another tale of tricky old chap finds a brilliant way for his retirement.

This was the longest story in the book and I must say what a brilliant story it was! It was also kind of revenge story and finding another way of earning fortune for retirement. There were 2 twists and unpredictable climax in the book. I do not appreciate what Arthur did but also don’t appreciate what bank did to him. This was the only story that I felt little slow because of its length.

  1. A good Toss to Lose- this was the story of English student and German professor. Professor had to leave England because of disputed relationship between countries and meet again with to his student in the middle of war end up standing against each other and to be fair they let toss decide their fate.

This story showed how a war can divide two people but cannot divide their hearts and respect for each other. I admired friendship between characters in this story. The end was tragic and author also told what happened to all character.


This was my first book by Jeffrey Archer and after reading this fabulous collection, I was kicking myself for not reading his work before. I’m definitely going to read his famous Clifton Chronicles.

Overall, all stories were creative, refreshing, gripping, easy read, and fast paced that everyone will enjoy.  


Author: Jeffrey Archer

To know more about author click⇒ Here.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press.

Note: I won ARC via Goodreads giveaways.

What do you think about the book and review? Have you read any book by Jeffrey Archer? Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.

Happy Reading! 🙂

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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