Not a penny more, Not a penny less (Jeffrey Archer)

Pages: 336, Pan Macmillan, First issue: 1976. Review based on 2012 edition. ISBN: 978-1-4472-7231-1

I almost gave up on this book a couple of pages in. The first couple of pages are heavily technical with detailed explanations and comments on the stock market and economics. Although these are subjects I have an interest in, since I wanted to read for pleasure and to relax while on vacation, the book was kind of heavy for me to begin with. But on a 15 hour flight, with other books in my checked in luggage, I decided to hold on a bit more. My patience was well rewarded.


Four men are swindled out of their money by a smart self-made millionaire stork market trader who’s been doing it for years (not always above board) without being caught. Harvey Metcalfe has a rags to riches story of one who worked his way up and paid more attention than most of us ever do and managed to build himself an empire while at it. He manages through other people, to ‘steal’ a million dollars from four random strangers by getting them to invest in a loser company ‘Prospecta Oil’ which never opens shop. One day they are on the brink of riches with the company about to apparently ‘hit an oil rig,’ and overnight, their shares are worthless with Harvey Metcalfe at large without as much as a warning. The book centres around the quad’s sophisticated plan to beat Harvey at his own game and get all their money back, quietly and expertly – not a penny more, and not a penny less. What a treat!


Jeffrey Archer is a phenomenal writer. The plot, the characterization and the flow of the book is excellent. His use of language is simple yet specifically fitting for each character. He gave each character a distinct repertoire while they were executing an excellently drafted plan of action for each one. The ending has an unexpected twist which made it worth the first pages of slog I endured. Simply exceptional.



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