Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less” as Want to Read:
Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  37,823 ratings  ·  1,217 reviews
The conned: an Oxford don, a revered society physician, a chic French art dealer, and a charming English lord. They have one thing in common. Overnight, each novice investor lost his life's fortune to one man. The con: Harvey Metcalfe!!

A brilliant, self-made guru of deceit. A very dangerous individual. And now, a hunted man.

With nothing left to lose four strangers are abo
Paperback, 305 pages
Published May 16th 2004 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1976)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Debbie Prisoner of Birth is, I think, his best book. You should also try the Clifton Chronicles - all 7 of them! You'll be up reading very late into the nigh…morePrisoner of Birth is, I think, his best book. You should also try the Clifton Chronicles - all 7 of them! You'll be up reading very late into the night with these.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  37,823 ratings  ·  1,217 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less
Mansuriah Hassan
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is Jeffrey Archer’s first book. And what a great book it is! I have read it during my teenage years and decided to re-read again.

The ultimate revenge novel! When four men lose their life savings to a wealthy Boston swindler in a stock market scam, how will they get their money back? That's the plot of this highly entertaining novel that can best be summed up as, don't get mad, get even! Their goal is to recoup exactly the $1 million they collectively lost, hence the title of the book. With
Apr 07, 2020 rated it liked it
A stand alone thriller By Jeffery Archer first published 1976.

I think this was Jeffery Archer’s first book and it reads like it should be. The word that comes to mind is ‘farcical’.
Everybody is so stiff upper lip English even the American and French characters manage that peculiar English affectation.

What you have is a bunch of highly successful characters, an Oxford Don, a Harley Street Physician, an international Art Dealer and a Peer of the Realm all, you would assume, having more than a modi
Sherwood Smith

I found the narrative voice impossibly wooden, providing a long, dull recap of the villain's life before introducing the main characters with a lot of facts and very little personality. Other than cliche French from the Frenchman, they all talked alike.

It was so dull I began to skim, hoping the story would pick up. It didn't.

The revenge was a drop in the bucket--I doubt the villain even noticed--and furthermore, it only came off because of a deus ex machina delivered by the narrative voice withh
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Anne by: Gretchen
Shelves: rereadable
I come by my love of mysteries and thrillers naturally, as both my mother and grandmother are addicts of such books. This book was among their highly recommended reads. I thoroughly enjoyed it the first time around a few years ago, and it was just as much fun this time.

The story features a Bernie Madoff-type villain named Harvey Metcalfe who, despite all his previously ill-gotten millions, takes the opportunity to con a few naive investors in a stock market scam. Among his latest victims is an A
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Most popular books have durability but this one is not among them. Reason is that the last 3 chapters or so were stabs at comedy that went wide off the mark. Although my enjoyment and my remembrance of this book and my smile faltered near the end, for most of the story I pronounced it a perfect 5/5. I enjoyed it immensely. Nevertheless the plot in retrospective seems less clever in the cold light of the day. It was one of those books that don't have much staying power and cannot be enjoyed a se ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Sep 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
Jeffrey Archer: The Truth?

A brilliant, self-made guru of deceit. A very dangerous individual. And, now, a hunted man. Fiction or autobiography ("Jeffrey Archer: The Truth?"), you be the judge. And if the author doesn't like the answer, he can sue us for everything we've got, not a penny more, not a penny less.*

* (view spoiler)
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"The conned: an Oxford don, a revered society physician, a chic French art dealer, and a charming English lord. They have one thing in common. Overnight, each novice investor lost his life's fortune to one man. The con: Harvey Metcalfe!!

A brilliant, self-made guru of deceit. A very dangerous individual. And now, a hunted man.

With nothing left to lose four strangers are about to come together-each expert in their own field. Their plan: find Harvey, shadow him, trap him, and penny-for-penny, destr
Nov 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own, short-stories
This was his first novel and a very critically acclaimed one, turned in to a TV series and a movie too. Though his list of bestsellers is long , this one according to me, holds the top spot [OK.. Kane And Abel ties with it for the first place :) ]
Though his later day novels turned in to kind of similar concepts predictable twists and turns , his earlier works were really, really good. Archer knows how to hold the attention of the reader with right amount of surprises at the right time and its ve
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Harvey Matcalfe , the king of successful financial con's , has conned a million dollar with empty promises of oil bonanza and instant wealth. Overnight, four men - the heir to an earldom, a Harley Street doctor, a Bond Street art dealer and an Oxford don find themselves penniless. But this time Harvey conned the wrong people. They unite and device a plan of revenge.
Their plan is simple: sting the crook exactly for what they lost – not a penny more and not a penny less.

A nice easy read with nice
May 04, 2018 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: archer
This was Jeffrey Archer's first novel,men who are the victims of a swindle seek their revenge.Archer himself lost his money in real life and it forced him to turn to writing in a bid to improve his financial health. After having read it several years ago,I picked it up again but didn't find it particularly compelling.
Ankit Agrawal
Of all the Jeffrey Archer books I have read, I have liked this one the least. The reason is simply because this was not a typical Jeffrey Archer book. Jeffrey Archer in his own words loves to write simple novels, simple fiction for everybody to read and understand. It doesn't necessarily appeal to people of any particular age group, like or dislike. His books are there for everybody to read and enjoy. He has himself said that he doesn't like to write anything violent, sexual or even extravagant. ...more
Henri Moreaux
I very much enjoyed this little romp of revenge - a shadowy businessman runs a sharemarket pump and dump scam stealing a million dollars from four investors. Upon realising they've been scammed the four people join forces to recover the exact amount, not a penny more, not a penny less, back through various schemes.

The various schemes and developments in the story line keep the pages turning as you keep wondering if they're really going to pull it off or if this is the time they'll get caught mak
Jaime Uranovsky
Jan 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
Male chauvinism at its most shameless. Never will I read Archer again💁

Edit: I get that this was published in 1976, and the kind of misogyny in here was tolerated way more back then, but I'm shocked that nobody's reviews reflect how not okay this book is. The sexism was *not* subtle...especially the part on page 231 which seems in favour of domestic violence if it is 'called for'???

'But once they were in the Alfa Romeo he took Anne by the scruff of her neck, threw her across his legs, and spanke
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
I have come to admire Jeffrey Archer and his works. The attention to detail he gives to his characters is something I love. They seem real and NOT dipped in frivolity. Every detail seems to serve a purpose to propel the story.

This was his very first novel and it was an enjoyable read at that. The story made me smile at the extremes some will go to in order to get what they want/need. However improbable this story may have been, I liked that it exacted revenge in a gentlemanly way. It was smart
Sudeep Jain
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hmmm, just finished reading!


Each chapter will boost your pulse rate and make you feel uncomfortable on place, wherever you are resting. Even some time you will realize that mind is thinking faster than ever; what is next waiting for us?

And more importantly, we most of the time hear “Whatever happens for a reason” right? so once again we you can corelate and affix confirmation seal 😊

Book Learning- We must learn how to initiate something new and must not be frightened
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I really enjoyed this one (on audio). It's an old book (1974) with some references to marrying the bonny Prince Charles - then a bachelor. Still, it stands the test of time with its crooks and deceit. Lots of fun on the road.
Gowtham Narendira kumar
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Though we have seen different types of heist in movies, for the time this book was published, it was an excellent and engaging read. I loved the English parts (maybe my bias and attraction towards UK English) and the character definitions. No drag at any point of the story. Quick read.
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: travelers
Recommended to jim by: Brooke
This book (and its author) were wholly unknown to me until I was handed the book to read once a friend had finished it. I had very few expectations or pre-conceived notions of what I was about to read...

First, I'd like to note that this was a very easy and enjoyable read. It rarely, if ever, felt as though I was slogging through something just to advance the story while it still held my attention and made me *want* to get to the next plot point. This definitely made for a pretty smooth read, how
Deepu George
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
And there my first Jeffrey Archer is finished. And a nice one to start with. Am I impressed? Ya to some extends. For a thriller it was an easy read and a page turner. Somethings u bound to guess... And loops holes... Yup a few here and there.... May be a 4star rating will suffice
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
(As ever, check me out on, where I have cross posted this review.)

I had high hopes for this novel.

Unfortunately (I bet you saw this coming from at least a mile away), those hopes were dashed.

The premise and synopsis were promising, if somewhat familiar, suggesting at an intelligent, finely crafted narrative with lashings of witty humour and oodles of barbed dialogue. The usual fare, for this sort of novel, but familiarity does not always breed contempt, and, on this o
Nick M
Feb 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
this was interesting to read as it is pure barnum-esque showbiz: an exercise in commercial intelligence completely devoid of soul, structural integrity or moral compassing. when i see bookstores which have half to three quarters airport fiction (which is, in fact, half to three quarters of bookstores) i am fascinated by what those kind of books contain. what does it mean to get your book published in a supermarket or a kmart? what kind of faustian pact do you have to sign to get there if you’re ...more
Anoon Nishit Chinmayatri
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This enthralling novel is an out-and-out page turner, a tale of fraud, revenge and determination.The plot is pretty simple, to take back what’s lost- Not a Penny More and Not a Penny Less. It is greatly entertaining and humorous at times. The author knows how to hold the reader’s attention, pinning us to the book with surprises and twists at the right time. The book holds your attention until the last page.

You Will Want to Turn the Page. You Will Want to Know What Happens Next!
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am an amateur reader starting with couple of ones from Lee Child, Fredrick Forsyth. I was given a collection of Jeffrey Archer's from one of my pal. It was his suggestion to start with "Not a penny more, not a penny less", after getting exhausted with Fredrick Forsyth "The Afghan", I got myself into a state of tireless after reading 'Not a penny more, not a penny less'. My three words to describe this novel would be awesome, splendid and fantabulous. Archer, in this work had concentrated only ...more
Feb 14, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 1970-s, re-read
I wanted to give this book 4 stars for the plot, which I think is really well done. However, the sexism here is so glaring, yet so casual, that I took off one star for that. While there are almost no female characters in the book, there is one, Anne, who is the love interest of James, one of the four main male characters. Although Anne's not at all developed as a character, she ends up playing an important role in the plot. She's a gorgeous model, and that's about it for character background or ...more
Feb 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
An elaborate plan to get money - in this case, to get money back, is the kind of stuff that Archer writes really well. I thoroughly enjoyed The Fourth Estate, and there was no doubt I was going to like this one.
The book begins with a bit of background on Harvey Metclafe, and as soon as you start to feel proud of his enterprising efforts, you realize he is going to con a few innocent people of a million, and he immediately becomes the 'villain'.
The four men who are duped of their money, are an
Jack Heath
3 Stars. Enjoyable, but with a relatively simple and uncomplicated plot. Archer's first book; short but a good way to start off with this author. A con man, with great finesse and believability, takes several people for money that turns out not to be disposable in different ways for each of them. They've been really hurt and slowly gravitate towards each other. A plot develops to get it all back but not a penny more and not a penny less. Can they do it, and how will they pull it off, are the int ...more
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Am a big fan of Jeffery Archer and this book was completely enjoyable to read.Brilliant plot, humorous and a terrific climax. Its about how a team of 4 people claim their money they had deposited as shares in a fraudulent Oil Company. Also this book happens to Archer's first novel published in 1976 and was inspired by his real life experience of near-bankruptcy.
Shabana Mukhtar
I have read this plenty of times. I love all the four 'victim' characters. I like how they gradually start to like each other. I like how every step of the revenge is planned.
A must read.
I am a big fan of his work.
I love courtroom drama and lawsuit thrillers. Nobody does it better than Archer. No offense to others who write under the same genre.
Aug 23, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lit
While it's nice and will keep your interest throughout, it hasn't aged well at all. Twists? Really? Where? I mean, maybe it was a great book with convoluted plots and all that back 35 years ago, but now we've seen so many better examples of the genre that it just falls terribly short...
Dec 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Peanut Blossom Bo...: March: Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less 16 108 Apr 30, 2019 10:10AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Jeffrey Archer: Stranger than Fiction
  • Master of the Game
  • If Tomorrow Comes (Tracy Whitney, #1)
  • Mightier than the Sword: by Jeffrey Archer (The Clifton Chronicles Series, Book 5) | Summary & Analysis
  • 2 States: The Story of My Marriage
  • The Immortals of Meluha (Shiva Trilogy, #1)
  • The Secret of the Nagas (Shiva Trilogy #2)
  • The Oath of the Vayuputras (Shiva Trilogy, #3)
  • Five Point Someone: What Not to Do at IIT
  • Bloodline
  • Rage of Angels
  • The Other Side of Midnight (Midnight #1)
  • The Doomsday Conspiracy
  • The Best Laid Plans
  • The Second Lady
  • Windmills of the Gods
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?
  • Nothing Lasts Forever
See similar books…
Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English author and former politician.

He was a Member of Parliament and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, and became a life peer in 1992. His political career, having suffered several controversies, ended after a conviction for perverting the course of justice and his subsequent imprisonment. He is married

Related Articles

As serious bookworms know, autumn reading is particularly rewarding. The days get shorter, the air gets cooler, and curling up with a...
426 likes · 190 comments
“Making a million legally has always been difficult. Making a million illegally has always been a little easier. Keeping a million when you have made it is perhaps the most difficult of all.” 31 likes
“The bastard. It's bad enough knowing he's stolen our money,but it's humiliating having to watch him spend it.” 11 likes
More quotes…