Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Espresso Tales

I really enjoyed listening to Espresso Tales, second in the 44 Scotland Street series, by Alexander McCall Smith.

Particularly entertaining are Bertie's adventures as he struggles to pursue his own interests in the face of his ghastly mother Irene. I loved the bit when he and his father, Stuart, take the train to Glasgow to retrieve their car, which his father had forgotten on a business trip, and they encounter Lard O'Connor, who seems to be a sort of Scottish mafia kingpin. I love the honest innocence with which Bertie encounters the world and makes a friend of virtually everyone he encounters. I absolutely loved the encounter between Cyril, Angus Lordie's dog, and Irene, and, of course, Tofu's birthday bowling party that Bertie attends. Finally, the bits where he talks Scots is priceless--sweet and so funny and so Bertie!

I also really liked reading about Bruce's new business venture in the wine trade--he is truly a fascinating character, and heaven preserve me from too many encounters with his type in real life.

The only bits that I dreaded were when Ramsey Dunbarton read from his mind-numbingly boring memoirs. I realize that the joke is that the memoirs are so boring that they put his wife to sleep. However, I listened to the audio version and so couldn't easily just skim these parts as I most assuredly would have done if I had been reading the book.

I took a short audio break after finishing this book to listen to Jonathan Gash's The Grail Tree, which is a Lovejoy antiques dealer mystery, but now I'm back on Scotland Street with Love Over Scotland. These books are definitely addictive, and I like listening to Robert Ian Mackenzie read them--he does a good job of providing a distinctive sound for each major character and while the pacing is a bit slow, it works for this series.


  1. I'm glad you're still enjoying these books but I see you've been listening to them. I'm going to check Robert Ian McKenzie out just to see if he can manage both the Glaswegian and Edinburgh accents. I don't think I could do a good Edinburgh one. Ramsey Dunbarton would be too much to cope with but there are quite a lot of them around!

  2. I have wanted to read some of Alexander McCall Smith's books - maybe I will just listen to them - are the accents done well?

  3. I am an American so while I am somewhat familiar with accents from the British Isles, I'm no 'Enry 'Iggins. I think the reader does the various accents really well, but I honestly don't know an Edinburgh accent from a Glaswegian one.

    I'm really enjoying the audio versions of these books and don't think I will switch to reading them mid-series.