The Archer who shot stories with a pen

The best-selling author who topped the New York Times’s list, Jeffery Archer has captured many a reader’s heart with his mystery novels

By   |  Published: 14th Jul 2019  12:42 amUpdated: 13th Jul 2019  9:08 pm

“A prisoner of Birth,” one of whom “only time would tell” “the paths of glory” and be the“first among equals.” “To cut a long story short”, Jeffery Archer, a man with so much to tell has given us all the thrill and adventure we could ask for.

His start into the literary world was quite the rocky one, and albeit the scandalous stories from his life, he still overcame it all. At the age of 34, when nothing was going his way, he sat down to write Not a Penny more Not a Penny Less, which went on to sell in 17 different countries, became a successful serial for BBC radio 4 and was turned into a mini television series. That was the beginning of Jeffery Archer. With the birth of Kane and Abel, he saw no bumps in the road and went on to be number one in the New York Times best-selling authors.

His life all the while wasn’t a smooth-sailing one — filing for bankruptcy in 1975 because of a sketchy investment and being accused of giving in to prostitution in 1985 when he had to clear his name. He did go on to win the lawsuit, ‘Libel Trial’ but was later imprisoned in 2001 because of false witnesses. They say a lazy mind is the devil’s advocate but his kept running; while serving his term, he wrote A Prison Diary, a three-volume-long memoir of his time spent there. After serving two years of a four-year sentence he was released on July 21, 2003.

It was in the school library where I first met him, 16-year-old me didn’t know then that I would be picking up something that would create unending hours of thoughts, and would lead to a newfound love for mysteries. Only Time Would Tell was the first book I read of the author’s, the first part of the ‘Clifton Chronicles’. By the end of Chapter 1, I was hooked. A man known all over the world for his works became a dear friend in my boarding school life.

Archer’s favourite game being cricket, he speaks of it like it’s his first love; his fondness for the game and its players is never-ending. The love he has for the Indian team is strong, his favourite players being the late Mansoor Ali of Pataudi, Gavaskar, VVS Laxman, Sachin and, now, Kohli. India will always have a special place in his heart.

His works have always been the bestsellers in India. His recent visit to India, in the Jaipur Literature Festival in January brought about a huge number of people, eager to get their copies signed and restless to get pictures taken. One question which stood out was if there would be a sequel to Heads You Win, he said no. Instead, he now plans to write a story which is a part of his famous series, ‘The Clifton Chronicles’. Harry Clifton, the protagonist, was an author and the hero in his detective novels was William Warwick and hence he plans to write a series of William Warwick books.

His works have been turned into series, and, not much to our surprise, the man has also written plays such as Beyond Reasonable Doubt (1987), Exclusive (1989) and The Accused (2000). One would say that Jeffery does have a way with his readers, enticing them before the next one comes out and making them wait because he knows that they are here to stay. He, finally, released another novel after seven years, Heads You Win, his first stand-alone novel in a decade.

“But the thing I felt most strongly about, and put at the end of one of the prison diaries, was education.” – Jeffery Archer

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