And Thereby Hangs a Tale, By Jeffrey Archer

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The Independent Culture

Ten of these short stories are marked with an asterisk, to indicate that Jeffrey Archer didn't invent them; they were told to him by other people. The remaining five are "the result of my imagination". An interesting divide, especially as the majority of the stories told to him seem to concern cons and money, and the ones he made up flash their outcomes on huge neon signs from the outset. (The protagonist of "Blind Date", for example, is a man who is blind, chatting up a woman in a café. And can you guess, when she leaves, that she, too, turns out to be... No, I won't spoil it for you.)

Archer's milieu is a strictly middle-management world: all bankers, small businessmen and actuaries who want a bit more from life, whether that's a wealthier lifestyle or access to an exclusive golf club; or whether it's hapless middle-class Jeremy fooled by aristocratic con artist and thief Arabella, or hapless middle-class Julian fooled by a Gloria Gaynor impersonator and thief. You get the picture.