Plot or Premise
What I Liked
The best story of the collection is by Mark Twain, entitled The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg (an interesting story of greed that corrupts an inuncorruptible town, prompted by a man wronged by the town). James Thurber’s story, The Greatest Man in the World, is a slightly different take on flying around the world, as a man flies non-stop while the media and public scramble to meet him and the government tries to hide the fact that his character isn’t that great. L.E. Jones’ story, The Bishop’s Aunt, focuses on occupied Eastern Europe during the war and questions of sacrifice, faith, martyrdom, and strategy. And Jeffrey Archer’s own story, The Coup, has two business rivals stranded in Nigeria during a coup, and having to resolve their differences.
What I Didn’t Like
Three stories were good, but not as good as the rest. Charles Dickens story, The Election for Beadle, tells the tale of an election for church Beadle, and two men fighting to elect their choice. Rudyard Kipling’s tale of The Village that Voted the Earth Was Flat has a fight between a man and his buddies against a town that had a speed trap set to catch speeders. Finally, Saki’s tale of Ministers of Grace is a really strange tale of turning political animals into actual animals, and letting angels take their place.
The Bottom Line
Interesting collection, but uneven.