Book Review: To Cut a Long Story Short by Jeffrey Archer

28 Jan

Genre: Short Stories

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pub date: 2001

Source: Personal copy

I don’t usually go for short stories, but I’ve enjoyed Archer’s older collections – Twist in the Tale, Twelve Red Herrings, A Quiver Full of Arrows.

This Christmas, my very thoughtful Secret Santa gifted me To Cut a Long Story Short. I had to read it at once and I raced through is rather quickly in just two days. While I did enjoy this read, I feel like it doesn’t quite have the Archer magic touch.


This is a collection of 14 short stories, 9 of which are based on true incidents. There is no overall theme that connects them, and the stories deal with cons, love affairs and family tangles…


I’ve been a longtime fan of Jeffrey Archer, and read almost everything he has written and re-read some of them many times. Novels like As the Crow Flies, Kane and Abel, Prodigal Daughter, Shall we Tell the President are some of my all-time favourite novels from this master storeyteller. I love the characters he creates and the realistic plots that are so much more exciting than real life. His novels have had be spellbound for days at a time, working on my mind until I finish reading them and way beyond.

So of course I expected something similar from this collection, but unfortunately with the exception of two or three stories, none of them stand out. So I’ll just tell you a little about the stories that you should read:

The Expert Witness (based on a true incident) peeks into the drama behind a courthouse drama. Expert witness and lawyer face off in one case and gang up in another with astonishing outcomes.

My favourite was The Endgame – 60-year-old Cornelious Barrington creates a complicated plot to determine which member of his family loves him for who he is and not just for his money. Familiar story, yet this was a good read.

Crime Pays (based on a true incident) is the story of Ken who manages to get away with a very smart and long-term con. But will he beat the justice system a second time?

The Letter is a rather raunchy short story. The set-up had me going, but I’m not too satisfied with the conclusion.


If you’re an Archer fan, definitely read to complete the collection. And if you haven’t read Archer before, start with the other short story collections and novels I’ve mentioned and give this one a miss.

Rating: 3.5*

*See my Rating policy


6 Responses to “Book Review: To Cut a Long Story Short by Jeffrey Archer”

  1. Sakhi January 29, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    I adored end game too. It was brilliant. 🙂

  2. cate February 12, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    I really enjoyed the endgame. but i can not figure out the significance of the bus ticket Timothy finds while reading to his uncle. Do you know? thanks

    • stargazerpuj February 14, 2011 at 9:12 am #

      You know, I had to reread the story because that was a brief moment with the ticket which I didn’t recollect. I’m not very sure what the significance is – I think it was just there to reiterate to his nephew that he now takes the bus to move around the city. Do you buy that? Any other theories?

  3. April 5, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    this book is great because it is all related to our daily life….of all i liked the
    ”love at first sight”.


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