The second book in the 44 Scotland Street series, Espresso Tales is a take on the various inhabitants of 44 Scotland Street. There was a huge mix-up when I picked up the book. Somehow the name McCall Smith and the cover jacket gave me the impression that this was a (probably my confused subconscious picking it up on account of Smith being the of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency) and without reading the blurb, I added this one to my haul.
This was the first one I began to read and I think for a good 50 pages I kept wondering where and when the suspense, any untoward incident would begin. It wasn’t that the book was boring, in fact far from that, but then I was waiting for something to happen- a murder, an accident, a kidnapping, an attack from aliens, anything. This is all my mistake, I know. I should have read the cover before jumping headlong into it. Well, then my bulb did come to life and I hid my misguided disappointment. Since then it has been a stroll in thecum botanical garden.
Smith infuses a dose of energy, a dash of spice to everyhis characters espouse and every they take up. The various perspectives that he balances with his deft writing, make you feel as if these are not just inhabitants of a faraway land, but your very neighbors seen through a keen eye and portrayed with a colorful imagination. The humor in the pages is witty and quick on its toes, giving you a loud laugh on sight and escaping quietly into the folds of its narrative. He doesn’t speak for his characters, but makes his character’s actions and words speak for themselves.
Given that I picked up the book with wrong assumptions, I’m still very buoyed by its cheerful attitude. This is an excellent book to take on a journey, for a day out on the beach, or just to curl up with on a bleak rainy day and be devoured with some strong coffee (espresso, perhaps) and some scones, if you could.
Read the complete review here.