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.


Cities Where the Most (and Least) People Graduate High School

The United States’ high school graduation rate rose to 83% for the 2014-2015 school year. But not all areas of the country are getting their students to earn diplomas at the same rate.

Graduating from high school is extremely important. It paves the way to better job opportunities and higher wages, and of course also to higher education. Using data from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, 24/7 Wall St. identified the metro areas with the highest and lowest high school graduation rates.

There is a large disparity between the top graduation rates and the worst. In Sebring, Florida, the metro area with the lowest graduation rate in the 2014-2015 school year, just 64% of high school students received their diplomas on time. That is a far cry from the 95.2% high school graduation rate in the Wichita Falls, Texas metro area.

Having a diploma is much more than just a fancy sheet of paper. It can be a strong indicator of how much money someone will make in their career. For high school graduates nationwide, the typical income increases by more than $20,000 compared to those who did not finish high school.

Aside from likely curbing earning potential, not graduating from high school also limits future educational opportunities, like attending college. Areas with lower shares of adults with high school diplomas generally have lower percentages of residents with a bachelor’s degree.

Graduation rates do not just affect how much someone is paid, but they can also indicate how likely someone is to be employed. In all 25 areas with the lowest graduation rates, the unemployment rate is higher than the national jobless rate.

To determine the graduation rates of U.S. metro areas, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. High school graduation rates are defined as the percentage of the ninth-grade cohort that graduates in four years. The data represents students graduating on time in the 2014-2015 school year and is the most recent provided. The estimate of the median income for adults with less than a high school diploma and the percentage of people with at least a bachelor’s degree come from the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The August 2017 unemployment rate came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the case where cohort size was not available through County Health Rankings, the size of the 2014-2015 class cohort was estimated based on the number of 17 and 18 year olds, as provided by the Census Bureau.

Click here to see where the least people graduate high school.
Click here to see where the most people graduate high school.