cover image A Prison Diary: Volume Three—North Sea Camp: Heaven

A Prison Diary: Volume Three—North Sea Camp: Heaven

Jeffrey Archer, .. St. Martin's, $25.95 (473pp) ISBN 978-0-312-34217-3

In 2001, bestselling novelist Archer (Sons of Fortune ; etc.) was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for perjury. Volume one of his diaries detailed his first 22 days at a facility for violent offenders; volume two described his move to a place mostly populated by drug offenders and armed robbers. Volume three opens on Day 89, as Archer arrives at North Sea Camp, an "open" prison for well-behaved lifers and convicts nearing parole. As hospital orderly, Archer has certain perks—a private room with bath—and a full work schedule, essential for staving off prison's big challenge: boredom. Being a writer helps; he fills the hours writing his diary and interviewing fellow inmates. There's a whole lot of tedious "what I ate for breakfast"-type entries which make a strong case for how dull prison life really is. There's no discussion anywhere of Archer's crime and little talk of British Conservative politics; the focus stays on daily prison life. Archer's fiction fans will read this volume just to see him home free; for prison reform advocates, the entire series may open doors to Archer's other work. Agent, Jonathan Lloyd . (July)