Given that work has been quite busy lately, I feel like I've gravitated toward a lot of mysteries - which are usually pretty quick mindless reads (at least the ones I read), with characters I know, and entertaining subject matter. But, I decided to pick up the second in Smith's 44 Scotland Street series because I felt like reading about characters I knew, but in a more gossipy, less murderous setting. This was definitely what the doctor ordered. Espresso Tales is more of the same of the petty quirky inhabitants of 44 Scotland Street and their surrounding Edinburgh neighborhood. In particular, I liked that this book focused more on Bertie - the precocious five year old whose mother sends him to yoga, Italian, and saxaphone lessons, but who just wants to wear jeans and play with trains and go fishing like the other boys in school. His quest for independence found some traction in this one, which I really enjoyed. All the other characters are back, and meander about in their own daily encounters. Nothing too exciting or crazy, but all in all getting closer to Maupin's Tales of the City. I'm very much looking forward to continuing with this series (there appear to be three that I have not yet read, and I'm sure he'll write another by the time I get to those).