Jeffrey Archer’s ‘A Twist in the Tale’

Jeffrey Archer is a well-known and popular fiction writer particularly acclaimed for his novel Kane & Abel. He has ventured to write in other genres as well and has occasionally done collection of short stories. ‘

A Twist in the Tale’ is one of his early collections and it sure lives up to the promise of end the story with a twist on similar lines like O Henry or Saki.

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Reading the collection one can’t but help notice Archer’s peculiar sense of humour – it is all very clever and immediate. He seems to suggest as many aver that there is really no universal truth and on most occasions it is a case of ‘perception being reality’. Well the collection is quite interesting and a good read on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

My Top 3 tales include –

Christina Rosenthal

For some reason I was instantly reminded of ‘Love Story’ by Erich Segal. The commonalities are not that many but I guess it was on account of the lovers overcoming opposition and the heroine premature death. It is interesting to note that Archer himself was an athlete and even ran for England. Guess no writer ever escapes being inspired in parts if not wholly by episodes in his own life.

The tale is different from the rest – it is romantic, sentimental and moralistic at the same time. There is no clever humour here or any solipsism as well. It is straight from the heart and has a surprising warmth that endures.


A short tale and an offbeat one at that. Given the collection is full about twists, it is to the writer’s credit that he pushes in two rapid twists at the end of the tale and does catch us off guard.

Just Good Friends

It is the structure of the tale that appeals to me more than the twist itself. Knowing the twist is an easy job – to devise a prose that keeps up the game for quite a while is the true success of the same. It is the best example in the book of ‘perception being reality’.

It also explains why we have a cute n cuddly black cat on a red sofa on the cover of the collection. The swish of a cat’s tail at the end to explain a twist in the tale is a perfect allegorical take on the spirit of the collection as well.

Credit: Terry O'Neill / contributor Courtesy: Getty Images
Credit: Terry O’Neill / contributor
Courtesy: Getty Images

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