April 17th, 2008

storyteller doll

A Fine Sense of the Ridiculous

Alexander McCall Smith did a reading / signing at Politics and Prose in D.C. tonight. Although I'd heard lots of good things about the store before, I had been under the impression it would be too much of a pain to get to. But it's actually not too bad a walk from the Van Ness metro station. (And an easier walk back, since the metro is downhill from the store.) By the way, I got there a half hour before the reading and all the seats were already taken. That did, however, position me well to get fairly close to the front of the line for getting books signed.

Anyway, the occasion was the new No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency book (the 9th in the series), titled The Miracle at Speedy Motors. Smith did read a couple of pages, but mostly just talked, not entirely about his books. He did repeat some bits from other times I've heard him read, but he had some new material and, frankly, the old stuff is often just as good the second time around. He makes no effort to conceal how funny (and often ridiculous) his own stories are. He did dodge the question of what Mr. J. L. B. Matekone's initials stand for, but that was hardly a surprise.

I picked up a copy of the new book for myself and one for my colleague, Chris. If I hadn't already gotten my mother her Mother's Day present, I'd have bought a third copy. Instead she'll get a visit from me! (Well, I do come with theatre tickets.)

The best news is that not only are there two 44 Scotland Street books to look forward to, but he's under contract to another book in the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series. Apparently, there are big events in store for Walter, the 1-legged, 3-wheeled sausage dog who became a sacred object in the Coptic Church by eating the bones of Santa Claus.