This has to be one of the worst books ever recorded. I have to admit I purchased it because I really like the narrator, but even good narration cannot redeem a really bad book.
The book was originally written and published as a daily serial in a newspaper. At first I was intrigued by that idea. Some great literature was originally published that way; Dickens, for example. However, this story is way too slow. The worst part, however, is the character development. All the characters share a common characteristic. They are incredibly silly. They are simply too stupid to have a place in the world in general.
This was my first experience with an Alexander McCall Smith book. It will also be my last.
Not a writer, a writer wannabe, editor, lit maj, or pretend literary critic. Just an avid reader/listener. My ratings are opinion only.
Not engrossing, amusing ramblings in a way. I do like this style, but it is not a page turner. I love the way all the characters are loosely tied together.
Like Colin Bateman, a good Sunday read or listen.
I am a big fan of the HBO series Ladies Number One Detective Agency so I thought this might be good. To be honest I could not finish the book. I really tried but I gave up after 43 chapters. I had hoped to gain some insight into life in Edinborough but this seemed to be overshadowed by the lives of a group of odd characters. I couldn't find much of a reason to like any of them. The plot twists were obvious and tedious. Sorry, I can't really think of a single positive thing to say about it.
I was interested in purchasing this book for the mystery and Edinburgh scenery. However, I was disappointed on both accounts. The book starts off well enough, but then goes nowhere fast - ending horribly. I would skip it.
As a fan of the Number 1 Ladies Detective series, I looked forward to the same kind of rich cultural experience wrapped in a bit of a mystery. Unfortunately, the characters here are shallow and insipid, their bland stories strung together like an endless string of digressions from what is billed as the main plot line. I gave up after seven hours of listening. Disappointing to this fan of the author.
It's a rare moment indeed when I find a book this boring. I couldn't manage to care enough to keep the characters in mind, and found myself wanting the radio on instead. Pass this one by, life's too short!
A different narrator who does better female voices
No, just books by this author
His females voices were horrible
This book did not live up to the positive reviews I read before buying it. The narrator's voice was so irritating emulating female voices which biased me against enjoying this story.
...You will love this book. A constellation of characters are followed as they go through diverse lives with only the most tenuous of connections to each other. Nothing much happens of import in any of these lives; they are solely interesting in the many ways they are engaged in deluding themselves or others. All of them are middle class; no portrayals of poverty or super rich.
Originally the content was published as serial installments in a newspaper. In that form, the reader could decide to not read some of the story lines if not interested in the characters. However the audiobook is split into 1 hour segments, so it is difficult to skip some stories to get on with the ones of interest.
I was attracted to the premise of the questionable art piece but it is just one of many threads. There are stories of what expectations parents have of children, how children repay poor parenting, bad bosses, bad employees and indifferent friends. In general, there are lots of stories where not much happens. The reader must find everyday lives entertaining. As someone else mentions, most of the characters are basically shallow.
Some of the stories interested me and some did not. I gave up and listened to the last hour to see how the art store thread was finished, and was disappointed.
As for the reader, I did not enjoy the delivery. He trudges through the material and delivers most of the female dialogue as "uptalk" (a question tone ending each sentence). I don't know if that is an authentic Scottish accent for women, but found it painful to listen to.
I only made it half way through this book. The characters are boring, the plot is boring, the pace is boring. I won't be buying another McCall. This is the second one I've tried and zzzzzzzz.