JEFFREY ARCHER NOT A PENNY MORE, NOT A PENNY LESS

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Inhaltsangabe zu „NOT A PENNY MORE, NOT A PENNY LESS“ von JEFFREY ARCHER

You cannot betray an honest man (? W.C. Fields) – simply a great pastime

— StefanieFreigericht
StefanieFreigericht
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  • You cannot betray an honest man (? W.C. Fields) – simply a great pastime

    NOT A PENNY MORE, NOT A PENNY LESS
    StefanieFreigericht

    StefanieFreigericht

    06. May 2016 um 02:17

    “Remove the file on Prospecta Oil and destroy it. Destroy any correspondence connected with it and leave absolutely no trace.” (p12) – thus are the instructions Harvey Metcalfe gives to his secretary and he has done similarly three times before.“Four men, unknown to each other, checked the market price of Prospecta Oil in the final edition of the London Evening Standard. It was £ 3.70. All four of them were rich men, looking forward to consolidating their already successful careers.Tomorrow they would be penniless.” (p 12) “The guy has discovered more legal ways of stealing money than the Internal Revenue Services.” (p 69):Born 1909, to an immigrant family from Poland in the US, orphaned at an early age, Henryk Metelski soon learns how to transform his talents from the underground school market of fags and booze to the grown up world on the New York Stock Exchange, where as a messenger boy he sells the messages’ content as insider information – until some good fortune allows him to successfully start dealing for himself, with his name soon changed to Harvey Metcalfe.  Reputation is no concern of his, unless for making money even with more dubious deals. His softer side will only be seen in the love for his 1952-born daughter Rosalie and his collections of Impressionist paintings and of orchids, as well as his hypochondria and his wish to obtain an academic title. In 1964, the British Government offers exploration or production licences for North Sea oil against a very small fee – which Harvey purchases to set out to create the impression of a vast enterprise: Prospecta Oil. When in 1970, B.P. strikes oil in the North Sea, he sets up the illusion of a Prospecta Oil drilling platform. His stooges set out to promote a big strike for Prospecta, so its shares get bought and he makes sure their price is climbing. Jeffrey Archer brilliantly locates his first novel at a time when insider trading was not yet illegal in Britain. We follow the shrewd ways of Harvey’s fraud – and learn about his four major victims, brought down by their own greed and naivete:Harvard ex-pat and Oxford Fellow, mathematician Stephen BradleyHarley Street Dr Robin OakleyFrench Bond Street art gallery proprietor Jean-Pierre LamannsLord James BrigsleyAfter the first shock, Stephen Bradley recalls his grandfather’s advice “don’t get cross, get even”. (p 64). He will. Not a penny more, not a penny less. So Stephen begins to research on Harvey Metcalfe and calls out for his fellow victims. Each of them is supposed to come back with a plan to cheat the cheater. Not all plans unwind as they had planned and one of them will run into a particular trap… I had first come to know Jeffrey Archer – whose life itself is worth a bestselling story – with my German version of “Kane and Abel” when I ran into this first novel some years back. The story really got to me with its wit, fun, suspense – not “high-end literature” but for sure really great entertainment.  It is marvelous to watch how different ploys are gradually revealed and set into action at Wimbledon, Monte Carlo, and Ascot…  I like the irony in Archer’s writing, his playing with words like with the biblical ‘put his light under the bushel’ -  “…Harvey only knew about lights – no one seemed to have told him about bushels” (p 72). In my opinion, probably one of the author’s best novels.Any complaints? Oh, yes, again, my “running gag” gets repeated: to show off someone is educated means in an English language book that the meal is in French and you know your wines. Understood? Yes, Harvey.

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