Book Review – Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer
A very extraordinary plot which will keep you glued on the edge of the seat and a thrilling experience to go along with the author and the characters as if you are just one amongst them. Jeffrey Archer is one such author who would take you along with him right from the beginning introducing the characters in such a manner that by the end of the story, you would really know these characters and be a part of this well planned and superbly woven story. Worth the time you spend reading this novel, the best I have read in quite a long time. I would recommend this to anyone and it will surely be listed in your favorites.
The Story begins with the introduction of the main character Harvey Metcalfe as a 16 yr old messenger boy in the Stock Exchange. In a matter of time, he is quick to comprehend the ups and downs in the stock market and he takes a leap into his first venture successfully. At the age of 19, he makes his first million and there is no stopping for Harvey Metcalfe, the super mind.
The plot begins with Harvey making his money on the innocent and honest men trying their luck in shares. Harvey puts some shares into a company Prospecta Oil of which his friend is the director and with the help of his friends puts word into the market that they have found an oil dig somewhere in the north sea. David Kesler, an innocent Harvard graduate, is lured into this job who markets well for Prospecta oil. David brings in money from Stephen, Robin, Jean-Pierre and Lord James Brigsley who are the scape goats in Prospecta Oil. Little do they know about the stock market and believing David they fall trap to Harvey’s plans who sweeps off their feet without leaving any clue.
The four led by Stephen, come together to plan a revenge on Harvey and to get back the money they lost without Harvey’s knowledge. Stephen makes a thorough investigation about the history of Harvey Metcalfe, his work, routine, holidays, family etc. and prepares 4 copies of dossier.
All four agree to meet in 14 days time, with a plan of their own matching their caliber and profession in order to get back the 1 million dollars plus the interest and expenses spent in the imminent future, ‘Not a Penny Less, Not a Penny More.’ They also make a pact to keep confidentiality and each character is included to fulfill in the other’s plan.
The first step is led by Jean Pierre who is an artist by profession and has various painting exhibitions. Harvey’s weakness for a Van Gogh Painting is the stepping stone to their plan. All four make arrangements for converting Harvey’s vacation into a well- thought scheme to lead him to a Van Gogh Painting which of course is a replica of the original, but very convincingly they sell it to him for 1,70,000 pounds.
The second research is done by Robin who is a doctor by profession. He has a complete training prearranged for the other three to fulfill the requirements of his plan from knowing the medical necessities, playing blackjack and casino games and record timing to beat the traffic. All of them excel in their roles to beat Harvey again by making him believe that he has a gall bladder stone and in need of an emergency operation, save his life for a huge sum of 1,50,000 dollars.
Then comes the mastermind Stephen who is a mathematics professor and his calculations lead Harvey into Oxford university meeting with the chancellor and vice-chancellor and honouring him with the Doctorate of Letters, encashes another sum of 2,50,000 dollars.
Meanwhile, Lord James Brigsley who considers himself no good in any profession, lands up dating a girl Anne Summerton and confides in her about the secret mission they are on to avenge Harvey Metcalfe. To his utter revelation, he finds that Anne Summerton is the daughter of Harvey who is called as Anne Rosalie Metcalfe. He is astounded when he discovers that Harvey couldn’t recognize James as he was in a disguise in all the three missions. James invites Stephen, Robin and Jean pierre to his wedding, before the final mission which he is yet to disclose. At the wedding, they get a bolt from the blue when Harvey steps aside to give away his daughter in the church to Lord James Brigsley. They go unnoticed by Harvey and finally he presents the wedding gift to his daughter a cheque of 2,50,000 dollars which she signs off to Stephen from the 4th mission.
The author has reserved so many climax situations and has put forth each and every event in such a manner that the reader can feel his goose bumps and will surely forego everything around to know what happens next!!! Jeffrey Archer has all the details and settings established in a very unique style, giving significance to the planning which truly is the winner in the mastermind narrative.
They are all glad about their accomplishments when they stumble upon the news of Prospecta oil which has found an oil dig and the shares seem to have reached $12.75.
Jeffrey Archer is an extraordinary mind who has shown the significance of planning and he has narrated such a fine story that the reader is bound to be a part of it. It surely returns every penny you spent on the book and the time you splurge reading this wonderful tale. It has now become one of my favorites.