Espresso Tales, by Alexander McCall Smith

Sequel to 44 Scotland Street, which pretty much takes up where that one left off, in the same format (short chapters which I assume first appeared in a newspaper column).

Well, this was good, but nowhere near as good as its predecessor. There was a bit too much padding in this book: I had the feeling that Smith is spreading his writing duties a little too thin, and so whereas in the first book you felt that every chapter counted, there were too many in here which were either boring (the diaries of Ramsey Dunbarton here) or felt like he was didn't go anywhere (e.g. Pat's experience of a nudist's picnic).

There was some nice stuff: I liked Bertie's expedition to Glasgow, and Bruce's adventures in the wine trade, but I missed the psychological insight that seemed to pervade the first book. One passage did stick with me: when Janis the florist sells a bouquet to a grieving widower, she thinks "flowers are the one thing we buy for the dead".

There are at least two more in the series, so I'll carry on, because this book was still worth reading, it just didn't live up to the potential I'd expected having enjoyed the first one so much. Actually it'll be interesting to see what happens next, since it appears from the end of this book that Bruce and Pat might both be exiting the story.

Completed : 11-Nov-2008 (audiobook)

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