Twelve Red Herring by Jeffrey Archer (Harper Paperbacks, 1995 edition)
I am avid fan of Jeffrey Archer and his writing style. His is style is more English than American Authors.
Twelve Red Herrings is collection twelve short stories. I will describe them briefly for your perusal.
1. Trial and Error : Richard Cooper wishing to expand his family business to Europe meets Jeremy Alxendar at a Trade Conference and invite him on the board in order to improve the business. Jeremy also takes over all control of Rosemary, the wife of Richard. Soon everything becomes clear to Richard and he assaults Jeremy in outrage. He gets arrested for the murder of his wife’s lover, but he insists on his innocence as the dead body was not found out. However, jury finds Richard guilty and convicts him. While preparing for appeal from the prison, Richard engages a detective to find out Jeremy. In the end Jeremy is found out and again now knowing fully that he cannot be convicted for twice murder of same person , but he could’nt shoot straight and is sent back to jail.
2. Cheap at the Half Price : Consula married to an American Banker, her third husband, is at age when her natural beauty is about to fade. In order to secure financial security, she needs to find a suitable birthday gift -for herself. She lays her eyes on a precious diamond-ruby necklace worth one million pound. However, her husband is not willing buy the gift at more then the half price. She finds out a way to make the payment of the other half.
3. Dougie Moritimer’s Right Arm: Bob stroked three times in a row in rowing for Cambridge. He is determine , on the advice of his father, to give something memorable to the University Boat Club which they would never forget. He learns about the bronze cast of right arm of Dougie Moritimer , who also stroked in a row for three times for Cambridge during 1907-09, and won twice and one lost race was mystery. Bob decided to make little research on that to find out the mystery.
4. Do not pass go : Hamid , an escaped ex-Minister in the Iraqui Cabinet of Saddam Hussain, is settled peacefully in America as a refugee. While returning from his one of the regular semi-annual visit to Turky to buy carpets for his store, his airline has to make forced landing at Baghdad. Now if he is caught by Iraqui authority he is certain of death sentence, which was announced by the government soon after his escape. The Captain of American Airline finds a way to smuggle him out of Baghdad.
5. Chunnel Vision:A famous novel writer visits his writer friend in New York, who is about to be parted ,bitterly, with his latest girlfriend. All three go to a famous French restaurant. While both the writers discuss the plot of new novel, the girl takes revenge on his partner.
6. Shoeshine Boy: Sir Ted could not refuse the Prime Minister from accepting the governorship of St. George’s, a small island which he later finds out. Inspite of shoe-string budget and lack of everything, the couple manages quitely. Until the Lord Mountbatten delcares a rather informal visit to St. George, which panics the couple. They have to borrow everything from dinner sets to Mercedes , cooks and butlers. They wonder if the Royal Guest is aware about this. At the end of the day when all the butlers left, the guest puts his all shoes out of the room for shining, then the couple become certain of the thing.
7. You’ll not live to regret it: David and Pat live togather. David decide to take a life insurance policy of one million dollar, nominating Pat as sole beneficiary. Soon afther the payment of the fifth monthly payment, David dies due to AIDS. The insurance company smells rat.
8. Never stop on the motorway: Diana leave for the weekend to the farmhouse of her ex-husaband at the outskirt of the city. On the highway she notices a van chasing her and horrifyingly recalls the recent rape-and-murder incident on the motor way and speeds up to reach the farm house. However, the Van driver chase her till the end.
9. Not for sale: Sally, an aspiring artiste, quite unsure about all the praises she received about her brush work, submits first batch of her drawings to an art gallery owner,Simon. Meanwhile she grew relationship with Peter a serious inverstor of art works. Soom she finds out which man is more important.
10. Timeo Danaos…: Arnold always believed that he would have made fortune if he had not taken his father’s advice. This self-claimed entrepreneur, eventually takes her wife for sailing around the Greek islands, not unlike the chairman of the bank where he works. What all his wife wanted is a decent dinner set , as the Greeks are known for their pottery. Arnold promises to get a best one at best price using his so called entrepreneur skills. But she realised price increase as they reach nearer to the Greek capital, and decide to buy it eventually.
11. An eye for an eye: Sir Matthew is handling a case where Marry has been charged with the murder of her husband. All cogent evidence appears in favour of his client’s innocence. But, his sixth sense do not allow to take the matter as it appears and he devise an idea to check the story of his client.
12. One man’s meat: ‘Could anyone be that beautiful?’ was the first thought when Michael first lays his eyes on Anna who is waiting outside a movie theater. Eventually at the end of the movies ,when he convinces her for the dinner; at this point the author offers four different endings of the story to the reader and asks to select the end the reader wants.