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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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    280
  • 4 Stars
    170
  • 3 Stars
    60
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    4

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    259
  • 4 Stars
    87
  • 3 Stars
    25
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    208
  • 4 Stars
    105
  • 3 Stars
    42
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    2
Sort by:
  • 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.


16 of 16 people found this review 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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Julie
  • Palo Alto, CA, United States
  • 07-17-14

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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Katherine
  • Georgetown, Ontario, Canada
  • 11-06-14

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tamara
  • Vista, CA, United States
  • 09-24-14

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!

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • dora
  • Centreville, MD, United States
  • 02-19-13

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 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Getting to Make Friends in Edinburgh!

After this second 44 Scotland Street story, I feel like I'm making friends with people who live in Edinburgh. I almost feel I am with them at the coffee shop or dinner table experiencing the camaraderie. (I wish I were!) Each character is drawn with attention to detail, their stories with richness of imagination and charm. You are privy to the inner sanctums of their hearts and minds, and you watch their interactions with each other, misunderstandings, mistakes, caring. My favorite character is perhaps Cyril, the dog with the golden tooth. Good biting, Cyril.

When I first started these stories, I favored Smith's #1 Ladies Detective Agency Stories. Those stories hang together more as individual books and are, to a degree, more accessible, as I've not been to Edinburgh and Edinburgh is one of the stars of these stories. But after finishing #2 in this series, I am finding it equally as compelling as the #1 Ladies Detective Agency. I'm hooked and ready to move on to the third in the series - gotta see how things evolve, just like in real life.

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

Mrs Doubtfire

Wonderful story but sometimes I can't help thinking the narrator sounds like mrs doubtfire when ever he reads the women's parts.

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

great book

loved it. this author never disappoints! can't wait for the next book in the series

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

Fab

Loved it especially Bertie and Stuart's assertiveness class ! Trip to the Burrell! Must Listen! Now to Book 3