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Popular novelist Jeffery Archer: A life stranger than fiction
Hugely popular author Jeffrey Archer has quite a fan following in India. Last year, he was here to launch his latest book, 'This Was A Man', the final installment of his gripping series, 'Clifton Chronicles'.

All told, his works have sold over 300 million copies.

His 'Kane and Abel' was my first introduction to his numerous novels. He also wrote plays, short story collections, children's books and prison diaries. Prison diaries? Yes, thereby hangs a tale of his life, with unexpected twists and turns.

Between fame and disrepute and between being a Member of Parliament and prison terms (for fraud and libel)!  Obviously, he can spin a good yarn, every now and then!

Around the year 2000, I had read a small news item about Jeffrey Archer being sentenced to four years of imprisonment. Since then, on and off I have been tracking his life and times.

Briefly, this is the amazing plot of his life's story:

Jeffrey's father, William Archer earned his way by impersonation and doing con jobs. He made people believe that he was the real war hero, by the same name as William Archer (who was dead by then). Thus, he moved around in high circles and conned people. When chased by the police for fraud, he escaped to United States under an assumed name.

Similarly, fellow students of Jeffery Archer also used to look askance at the type of high life he led on the campus, including costly cars. For Oxfam charities, he feigned familiarity with the Beatles, in fund raising activities.

In Canada, a department store accused him of stealing three suits. After denials, Jeffery much later admitted to the charge.

In 1969, he became Member of Parliament for five years. His political career was suddenly interrupted by an intervening financial scandal in which he was involved. He recouped, and became deputy chairman of the Conservative Party. Again, he had to resign for his involvement in another scandal.

He was imprisoned for four years in 2001, for perjury and 'perverting the course of justice'. That was the end of his political career.

In between, however, he was made a lifetime Peer. Formally, he is now Baron Archer of Weston-Super-Mare. This lifetime peerage apparently came to him for his work in raising funds for the Kurds, who were being oppressed by Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Old habits die hard. Once again, he falsely claimed that 57 million UK pounds had been collected, while only 3 million pounds had been collected. Rest had come from the British government!

Obviously, old boy Jeffrey has a very inventive mind – which he used in charting his life and continues to do so in writing fiction! He is an engaging writer, nevertheless.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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