Those who say that reading is dead should have been present at the Reliance Timeout on Cunningham Road on Wednesday evening.
Admittedly it was not high literature but that did not deter the Lord Jeffrey Archer fan club. The man himself was there in person, having come to release his latest offering, Only Time Will Tell, the first of the five books in the Clifton Chronicles.
The bestselling author, who burst into the world of popular fiction with his first book — Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less — interacted with his readers — a good chunk of them teens — and appeared to enjoy himself immensely.
Autograph hunters threw him several questions, all of them the usual: how he gets his ideas, how he works, favourite authors, favourite books.
“I write for two hours daily. My preferred time is from six to eight in the morning,” he said.
One question that didn't pass anyone's lips was his jail term for perjury. Maybe no one in the largely youthful audience knew or cared.
Even so, it was an engaging enough evening. Particularly when he regaled his captive audience about the time he visited a Chennai bookshop and asked if there was any bestseller. The salesperson thrust an Archer book into his hands.
The situation was too delicious to pass up. “I am Archer,” the author replied, only to be scoffed at by the disbelieving salesperson.
It took Lord Archer, once a regular fixture in both British tabloids and mainstream media, quite a while to convince the sceptical man he wasn't spinning a yarn.
Only time will tell if it's a hit or not