For thriller fans: all of Archer's stories collected in one volume.
Surprise endings are the stock-in-trade of former Tory MP, current candidate for mayor of London and prolific novelist Archer (The Fourth Estate). These 36 stories, culled from his three previous collections (12 Red Herrings, A Twist in the Tale and A Quiver Full of Arrows), contain many a good yarn in plots that feature numerous trial scenes, business dealings and complicated domestic relationships. Highlights include the suspenseful car chase in "Never Stop on the Motorway"; the snappy intellectual repartee between two rivals that camouflages their deep feelings for each other in "Old Love"; and the sudden twists and turns that ensue when a cuckolded businessman strikes back in "Trial and Error." Not one to shrink from stylistic challenges, Archer ably pulls off a tale of heartbreak in the form of a long letter in "Christina Rosenthal." His take on an entertaining man-meets-woman story in "One Man's Meat... " concocts four different endings that humorously illustrate the very real possibilities one might have to confront in the wake of a chance social encounter. Clever and entertaining, these tales make a good candidate for holiday gift giving. (Dec.)