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Authors: Alexander McCall Smith

Espresso Tales

BOOK: Espresso Tales
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Title Page



Chapter 1. Semiotics, Pubs, Decisions

Chapter 2. Letting Go

Chapter 3. Narcissism and Social Progress

Chapter 4. On the Way Back to Scotland Street

Chapter 5. All Downhill from Here

Chapter 6. Domenica Gets into Top Gear

Chapter 7. Anger and Apology

Chapter 8. An Exchange of Cruel Insults

Chapter 9. Sally's Thoughts

Chapter 10. Bruce's Plan

Chapter 11. A Bus for Bertie

Chapter 12. A Thin Summer

Chapter 13. Bertie's List

Chapter 14. Pat and Bruce Work It Out

Chapter 15. Domenica Advises

Chapter 16. Bertie Goes to School Eventually

Chapter 17. Down Among the Innocents

Chapter 18. On the Way Home

Chapter 19. Matthew's Situation

Chapter 20. Second Flowering

Chapter 21. Demographic Discussions

Chapter 22. Chow

Chapter 23. An Astonishing Revelation Is Almost Made

Chapter 24. Bruce Meets a Friend

Chapter 25. Agreement Is Reached

Chapter 26. Bertie's Idea

Chapter 27. Socks

Chapter 28. Lonely Tonight

Chapter 29. At the Film Theatre

Chapter 30. At Big Lou's

Chapter 31. Act and Omission

Chapter 32. The Two Wicked Uncles: Possible Solutions

Chapter 33. Bertie Makes a Move

Chapter 34. Bertie Prepares to Cross Dundas Street

Chapter 35. Halfway Across

Chapter 36. Ramsey Dunbarton

Chapter 37. The Ramsey Dunbarton Story: Part 1–Early Days

Chapter 38. The Ramsey Dunbarton Story: Part 2–Courting Days

Chapter 39. The Ramsey Dunbarton Story: Part 3–Further Highlights

Chapter 40. Bertie's Plan Is Launched

Chapter 41. Irene's Plan for Bertie

Chapter 42. Bertie Escapes!

Chapter 43. Rugby!

Chapter 44. Going Back

Chapter 45. Dinner with Father

Chapter 46. The Language of Flowers

Chapter 47. Information

Chapter 48. Private Papers

Chapter 49. Australian Memories

Chapter 50. A Trip to Glasgow in the Offing

Chapter 51. On the Glasgow Train, a Heart Is Opened

Chapter 52. Arriving in Glasgow

Chapter 53. Lard O'Connor

Chapter 54. A Game of Cards and a Cultural Trip

Chapter 55. At the Burrell

Chapter 56. Domenica Meets Pat

Chapter 57. The Natural Approach

Chapter 58. Moray Place

Chapter 59. Robert Garioch

Chapter 60. The Ramsey Dunbarton Story: Part IV–Legal Matters

Chapter 61. The Ramsey Dunbarton Story: Part V–Johnny Auchtermuchty

Chapter 62. The Ramsey Dunbarton Story: Part VI–a Perthshire Weekend

Chapter 63. Bertie Receives an Invitation

Chapter 64. Bertie's Invitation Is Considered

Chapter 65. Stuart Intervenes

Chapter 66. Tofu's Party

Chapter 67. Bruce's Enterprise

Chapter 68. A Petrus Opportunity

Chapter 69. The Best Laid Plans o' Mice and Men

Chapter 70. Cyril Howls

Chapter 71. Crushed Strawberry

Chapter 72. Ink and the Imagination

Chapter 73. Wee Fraser Again

Chapter 74. The Wolf Man, Neds, Motherwell

Chapter 75. Cyril's Moment of Glory

Chapter 76. Bruce Has Uncharitable Thoughts about Crieff

Chapter 77. Bruce Gets What He Deserves

Chapter 78. Old Business

Chapter 79. At the Gallery

Chapter 80. Dogs and Cuban History

Chapter 81. Havana

Chapter 82. A Great Sense of Purity

Chapter 83. In Moray Place Gardens

Chapter 84. The Memory of Pigs

Chapter 85. Encounter, Catharsis, Flight

Chapter 86. In the Café St Honoré

Chapter 87. Domenica Takes Food to Angus

Chapter 88. Bruce Reflects

Chapter 89. The Restoration of Fortunes

Chapter 90. Self-assertiveness Training for Civil Servants

Chapter 91. Stuart Paints Bertie's Room

Chapter 92. Discussions Take Place Between Irene and Stuart

Chapter 93. The Gettysburg Address

Chapter 94. Bertie's Dream

Chapter 95. The Wind Makes the Trains Sound Faint

Chapter 96. The Ramsey Dunbarton Story: Part VII–Bridge at Blair Atholl

Chapter 97. The Ramsey Dunbarton Story: Part VIII–I Play the Duke of Plaza-Toro

Chapter 98. Younger Women, Older Men

Chapter 99. Janis Exposed

Chapter 100. Big Lou

Chapter 101. In the Bookshop

Chapter 102. Matthew Thinks

Chapter 103. All Goes Well for Bruce

Chapter 104. Preparing Dinner

Chapter 105. Farewell

Alexander McCall Smith

Books by Alexander McCall Smith

Praise for Alexander McCall Smith's



This is volume two of a serial novel which I started to write in
The Scotsman
newspaper and which, at the time of publication of this book, I am still writing. The enjoyment which I have obtained from spinning this long-running tale of a house and its occupants in Edinburgh is, I hope, apparent on every page. It has never been a chore. Not for a moment.

At the end of the first volume,
44 Scotland Street
, I left matters unresolved for many of the characters. Now in
Espresso Tales
we see the continuation of many of the themes begun in volume one. Bertie, that immensely talented six-year-old, is still in therapy, and his plight seems to get worse and worse. Bruce, the unbearable narcissistic surveyor, is still as irritating as before, perhaps even more so. If there is any justice, he will get his come-uppance in this volume (but don't count on that). And Domenica, that sage occupant of the top floor of 44 Scotland Street, continues to comment on the world with her mordant wit.

During the writing of this book, which appeared in daily parts in
The Scotsman
, I received comments from many readers. Some wrote in with suggestions; others occasionally upbraided me for the views which some of the characters expressed. I inadvertently ruffled the feathers of an entire Scottish town at one point, and at another I received a very reproachful letter from a convinced vegan. These, I suppose, are the consequences of writing a novel under the scrutiny of the public eye.

This is, of course, not a work of scrupulous social realism. However, unlike in many other novels, all the places in this book exist, and a number of the characters are real people, who currently live in Edinburgh and who agreed to appear, as themselves, in this story. Other people have, for some reason, imagined that they appear in this story, thinly (or otherwise) disguised. Alas, this is not true. There is no real Bertie; and even if there are many like Domenica, or Angus, or any of the other characters, I had no particular person in mind when writing about them.

When the last episode of this book was published in the newspaper, we had a party in the offices of
The Scotsman
. Many readers attended, and some gave me their frank assessment of what had happened in the series. Others came up to me and said, “You can't stop now. There will have to be a third volume.” At the beginning of the evening I had decided that I would not write a third; by the end I had changed my mind. I am easily persuaded to continue to have fun. And why not?

This second volume is committed to press in gratitude to the readers of
The Scotsman
and in affection for this remarkable city and the people who make it one of the most vibrant and interesting places in the world. Again I express my thanks to those who accompanied me on this particular literary journey: to David Robinson, books editor of
The Scotsman
, to Iain Martin, editor of
Scotland on Sunday
, John McGurk, editor of
The Scotsman
, and Neville Moir of Polygon, that most perceptive and sympathetic of editors. And my thanks are given, too, to Florence Christie, leader of the fans of Bertie, and my friend, Michael Lamont, who has been one of the few readers who showed any sympathy for Bruce. And finally, I would like to thank William Lyons, arts editor of
Scotland on Sunday
, who gave me advice on wine matters and who features in the story as himself. Not having tasted
Chateau Petrus
myself, I assume that what he says about it is correct.

Alexander McCall Smith

BOOK: Espresso Tales
9.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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