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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith, creator of the beloved No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels, crafts the second irresistible installment in his Scotland Street series. Espresso Tales follows the charming and immensely popular 44 Scotland Street as all the favorite residents of that Edinburgh address return.

Between glances in the mirror, vain Bruce contemplates a new career as a wine merchant. His troubled flatmate, Pat, finds himself looking for true love at a nudist picnic. Precocious Bertie, now six years old, prepares for kindergarten despite the horror of being forced to wear pink overalls. Meanwhile, his domineering mother, Irene, and his psychologist, Dr. Fairbarn, struggle with dark secrets as Bertie plots his rebellion against them.

It's business as usual in the Georgian townhouse at 44 Scotland Street, and McCall Smith's innumerable fans wouldn't have it any other way.

©2005 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2006 Record Books LLC

Critic Reviews

"McCall Smith's pacing is impeccable." (Publishers Weekly)
"Robert Ian Mackenzie's impeccable take on the characters reveals their trials, tribulations, blind spots, and charms." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about Espresso Tales

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    342
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
    18
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    6
Performance
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  • 4 Stars
    107
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    35
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    9
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Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    261
  • 4 Stars
    130
  • 3 Stars
    54
  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant, as usual.

This sequel to 44 Scotland Street (please read/listen to them in order) is a pleasure. The narration, the observations and gentle social satire are superb. As one would expect, the book is completely character-driven--and one truly cares about these people (well, most of them, anyway---some are delightfully contemptible.)

This is everything an audio book should be. I received the paperback as a gift, and held off
reading it (with difficulty) until the audio was released.


18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Please fix the editing of this book.

What made the experience of listening to Espresso Tales the most enjoyable?

Narrator is fantastic. Stories continue to be fabulous. When only 12 minutes were left in the book, I had to go get the next one because I can't bear not to know what's going to happen to these people next! This one has some top-notch cliffhangers.

What did you like best about this story?

The story? Absolutely nothing. I'm sure people wondered why I would suddenly laugh out loud for seemingly no reason. Other parts of the story made me express epithets. All in all, this series should not be missed.

Have you listened to any of Robert Ian Mackenzie’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I don't think so, but I'll definitely be more inclined to buy a book if I see he's the narrator.

If you could take any character from Espresso Tales out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Cyril. I guess Angus Lordie (sp.?) would have to come along, too. Or Dominica. Everyone's just so interesting, it's hard to choose.

Any additional comments?

My main reason for this review is the terrible editing problem, which I note another reviewer mentioned. The way the book is put together, some chapters start even before Mackenzie has finished uttering the last word of the previous chapter. In some cases, the number of the chapter fits the final word of the previous chapter so well that it's very confusing (the start of chapter 99 comes to mind). This happens with about half the chapters. In other cases, a suitable pause is taken between the end of a chapter and the beginning of the next.

This is the only thing marring a truly enjoyable experience with a truly stellar book.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Love this series!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a fun send-up of modern times. It's set in Edinburgh but could just as well be San Francisco, Portland or Brooklyn.

What did you like best about this story?

I love the humor, the characters and the pace -- because it was originally serialized in a newspaper, it has that fun, chunky structure.

What about Robert Ian Mackenzie’s performance did you like?

The narration is a perfect match for the tone of the story.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No -- I enjoyed listening over a week or so in the car. Because it was written as a serial, it is better in smaller doses.

Any additional comments?

Start at the beginning of this series!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Another great AMS story

I’m a big Smith fan. Great story. However, the quality of the audio is disappointing. Don’t let that deter you; just keep that in mind.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Intriguing series

I’m enjoying 44 Scotland Street. I started it after listen to Alexander McCall Smith’s No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. My only complaint is within this recording the pauses between some of the chapters is non existent. The last sentence of the chapter a number and then the title of the new chapter seemingly in one breath. It was rather disconcerting. I even slowed down the speed to make it easier to follow. I hope the next book is better. I don’t recall this in the first book.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

seems to have some editing glitches?

Several of the chapters in this audio simply cut off mid word and move to the next chapter. I at first thought I had hit the "skip" or "fast fwd" button on accident .. but, realized it was only happening towards chapter end and I hadn't been holding my tablet when they were occurring.

The story is brilliant and wonderfully done. Some of the characters make me cringe, but that is their delight! Others need a solid whap upside the head for they *should* be able to think through how something may go badly.

We love our soap operas and this takes them to a new level: soap opera for the quirky!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Super! I'm in for the whole series now

Delightful social commentary with just believable characters that you come to care about. I'm back looking for Number 3 and I just can't picture listening to anything else right now.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

love this book

If you could sum up Espresso Tales in three words, what would they be?

Absolutely charming characters!

Which scene was your favorite?

Bertie visits the psychologist and identifies Mummy as person who keeps him from enjoying his little boy life

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Could have done

Any additional comments?

I had read previously, but enjoy the narrator's voice and style. I let him read me to sleep every night. I love this book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Delightful!

Delightful! Insightful, thought provoking, and humorous, all with a beautiful use of language. Another wonderful series by Mr. McCall Smith, with whom I'd love to have dinner and a long chat! Reviewed by Cynthia

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Enough of Irene and Bertie

Giving it up. Too much of whiney Bertie and self absorbed Irene. Editing between chapters is uneven and distracting.