Bertie, Interrupted

I’ve been listening in the car lately to The World According to Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith. Last night I was headed into the Twin Cities (35 miles) so I reached over to the seat beside me to plug in my portable CD player. I was quite shocked to realize it wasn’t there! I stopped the car and proceeded to search front and back seats and even underneath them. No CD player. The CD case was there (with all but one CD), but no player.

Then I recalled a day last week at the library. A couple of teenaged boys came in and asked if we had a coat hanger. They said the keys were locked in their car. I suggested they ask for help next door with the sheriff. A few minutes later a patron came up to tell me that some boys were trying to get into a car with a stick through the window. I blithely said “Oh yes. They were just in here. They locked their keys in the car.” I should have gone to see exactly what they were doing.

Stupid, stupid, stupid! I am such an honest and naive person, it didn’t even occur to me that it could be anything other than what they told me. And I had left the CD player unplugged in the front seat (with cords attached), and left the windows cracked open (less than an inch) because of the heat (my car has no air conditioning.) When I left that evening, I noticed the visor screen was bent down on the passenger side. And it seemed like the window was open a lot more than I had left it. But it is only in retrospect that I thought anything of it. Yes, I’m an idiot.

I don’t mind the loss of the old CD player so much. In fact, I went and bought a new one today. It wasn’t expensive. But I DO mind the loss of the CD! It was borrowed from the library, and I suppose I’ll have to pay for it. In the meantime, do I continue to listen to the book from the remaining CDs, or do I look for another copy of it? Or will the CD get returned to the library? It’s possible, but I’m not holding my breath.

One way or another, I will finish listening to the book. Meanwhile, here is a description of the first two books in the series.
44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street, #1) 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Listened to on tape (unabridged), Sept. 2006.

Review from AudioFile

Alexander McCall Smith modeled this book on the evergreen hit TALES OF THE CITY, by Armistead Maupin, which were published serially in the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE. Smith’s appeared in an Edinburgh daily; the title refers to an address in Edinburgh where several of the main characters live. It’s a great device, imposing specific challenges to the storyteller, working in little chunks of uniform length, all with intriguing endings. The only thing that could be more fun than reading each installment in the paper is hearing Robert Ian MacKenzie’s thoroughly droll and versatile performance. You won’t soon forget the Conservative Party’s fundraising ball, with only six in attendance, one of whom forgot to wear underpants under his kilt. MacKenzie’s touch is flawless. B.G. © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine– Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Espresso Tales (44 Scotland Street, #2) Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Listened to on tape (unabridged), Nov. 2007.
Book Description (from Amazon.com)
Alexander McCall Smith’s many fans will be pleased with this latest installment in the bestselling 44 Scotland Street series.

Back are all our favorite denizens of a Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh. Bertie the immensely talented six year old is now enrolled in kindergarten, and much to his dismay, has been clad in pink overalls for his first day of class. Bruce has lost his job as a surveyor, and between admiring glances in the mirror, is contemplating becoming a wine merchant. Pat is embarking on a new life at Edinburgh University and perhaps on a new relationship, courtesy of Domenica, her witty and worldly-wise neighbor. McCall Smith has much in store for them as the brief spell of glorious summer sunshine gives way to fall a season cursed with more traditionally Scottish weather.

Full of McCall Smith’s gentle humor and sympathy for his characters, Espresso Tales is also an affectionate portrait of a city and its people who, in the author’s own words, “make it one of the most vibrant and interesting places in the world.”

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