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Publisher's Summary

Return to the world of Rivers of London in this first short-story collection from best-selling author Ben Aaronovitch. Tales from the Folly is a carefully curated collection that gathers together previously published stories and brand-new tales in the same place for the first time.

Each tale features a new introduction from the author, filled with insight and anecdote offering the listener a deeper exploration into this absorbing fictional world. This is a must-listen for any Rivers of London fan.

Join Peter, Nightingale, Abigail, Agent Reynolds, and Tobias Winter for a series of perfectly portioned tales. Discover what's haunting a lonely motorway service station, who still wanders the shelves of a popular London bookshop, and what exactly happened to the River Lugg....

With an introduction from internationally best-selling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series Charlaine Harris.

©2020 Ben Aaronovitch (P)2020 Tantor

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What listeners say about Tales from the Folly

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    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating Snippets, laced with Humour & History

These short stories are not just Peter Grant, but also other characters from the range of the Rivers of London books. Strongly recommend you read at least the first in the series to make sense of the wonderful, bizarre and occasionally thought provoking stories.

I am a fast reader but some of the tales, such as "the Loneliness of the Long Distance Granny" - I found I had to pause as I needed to contemplate the story that will keep happening after the short had concluded, truly a case of less writing created more of a story. Whereas Venessa Summer's list made me chuckle at the conclusion, and the Moments were just focussed junctures - all very satisfying. BTW: I so needed to know what happened to the River Lugg, and that was one very pleasing story to read.

As a fan of the series I found it added to the background to have the intros by the author, explaining why one is set in Waterstones or another in a specific part of London.

If you like the Rivers of London series (and I do, totally) then this book of stories will be a joy.

Narrators: there was a mix. Enjoyable to hear the author, and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is as ever amazing, but also really enjoyed Alex Kingston's Germanic narration (although I found I had to slow her down a notch), and the narrator for Abigail's story was excellent.

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  • Alex Sumner
  • 2020-10-18

Finally!

I've been frustrated over the years, unable to read all the short stories included in the Waterstones editions. Now, finally, here they all are in a neat little package. Woot! And there's the added bonus of the character development shorts Ben Aaronovitch posted on his blog and a previously released novella. This collection is like having been denied opening an interesting door to see what's behind it and not only do you get to open it, you get to walk inside and explore.

I got the ebook first (because it was released before the audiobook) and instead of inhaling it, I decided to listen to (and read) everything in the series again, in chronological order this time. I greatly enjoyed the enhanced understanding the contents of Tales from the Folly gave to each book, filling in any gaps in the storyline as well as clarifying where the characters relationships were at emotionally. When this audio version came out, with everything still fresh in my memory, it would have made my chronological experience even better.

While Kobna Holdbrook-Smith could have done all of the contents, he exclusively narrates Peter Grant's stories...and Nightingale's too. Which, when you think about it, is as it should be. He's their voice. The change to the other narrators initially seemed a bit of a let down, but the truth is they each do a fantastic job and (this was a realization after the fact) _perfectly_ capture that character's voice. Dominic had me grinning, Abigail was very vivid and I was brought up short by Reynolds' soft southern accent, then recollected that, yes, it did describe just that in Whispers Underground. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith made Reynolds sound like an American, which is fine, she is an American. But in Tales from the Folly? Reynolds sounds like she's from her _home state_. How awesome is that! (Pretty awesome as far as I'm concerned.)

The collection is beautifully done and very entertaining. The shorts are touching and poignant, clever and amusing and will leave you wanting more when you're done. Well worth the credit.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Tim
  • 2020-10-16

Very good....bit short...but fabulous as always

If you are new to this wonderfully funny and clever urban magic saga...don't start here, start with Midnight Riot and work forwards. At a bit under 5 hrs. this collection of short stories it's a bit pricey...and if you take out the introductions at the start of the book and every separate story...it's closer to 4 hours....but like a fine wine you can't judge by volume. The Rivers series is an emotional warm bath. Beautifully written, witty and spectacularly narrated by Saint Holdbrook-Smith. It reminds me of the London I grew up in. It feels like I might have been elbow to elbow with Ben at the bar of a pub in the early 80’s. I nearly did a spit take when he referenced a late 70’s punk band I’d seen live back in the late middle ages. The magic is structured, almost scientific, the characters are familiar as old friends. The plotting is crisp and detailed. If you are a fan…it’s a must have.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Phx17
  • 2021-12-28

Stuffed with introductions

I was a tad exasperated by the number of introductions in this collection. The Table of Contents lists seven, but there are unannounced ones beginning just about every story (including an introduction to the introductions. Yes, really). All told, there were more introductions than stories … and I don’t think they added much except to let the author humble brag about his creative process.

This is a collection of 11 -13 short stories, depending whether you count the three 6min “moment” stories as one. The longest is 47 minutes and the rest are all 35 minutes or less. Two of the shorts are separately available on Audible, so think about what the remaining shorts are worth. I got this for $1 at the last sale, so I’m satisfied, but I doubt it’s worth much more than that.

While all the stories occur in the Rivers universe, I enjoyed the first six stories, which feature Peter, a variety of detective vignettes and cute one-liner endings. I think my enjoyment of the shorts starring Peter is a testament to the value narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith contributes. He brings Peter’s wry humor and copper intuition to life. The remaining shorts are from “other” characters perspectives and use other narrators; they really didn’t do much for me.

Table of Contents:
Peter’s shorts:
1. Home Crowd Advantage
2. The Domestic
3. The Cockpits
4. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Granny
5. King of the Rats
6. A Rare Book of Cunning Device

Other’s shorts:
7. A Dedicated Follower of Fashion
8. Favorite Uncle
9. Vanessa Summer’s Other Xmas List
10. Three Rivers, Two Husbands, and a Baby
11. Moment One: London 1966
12. Moment Two: Florence, AZ 2014
13. Moment Three: Meckenheim 2012

9 people found this helpful

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  • Joe Thomas
  • 2020-10-24

Short and choppy

10 minute episodes are distracting and difficult to follow. Additionally, so many voices are further distractions and make following story/ plot development impossible. I guess that the possibility of more frequent paydays was too alluring to resist.

3 people found this helpful

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  • A Customer
  • 2020-12-19

Enjoyed Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s brilliant acting

Addendum: 17 December 2020
Listened to the Audible version, where most stories are narrated by the brilliant, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, who manages to improve Ben Aaronowitz’s stories. There are other narrators, but he’s my favorite.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Ludicrose
  • 2020-11-19

what an indulgent pleasure

The narrators are as rich, complex, layered and diverse as the characters they so professionally portray. Ben lets us back into this world from so many different entry points all of which give us perspective and all of which make us hungry for the next piece

2 people found this helpful

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  • Elisabeth
  • 2022-05-02

Not much bang for the buck

While the ROL series is terrific, this collection of snippets really isn't worth the time or money. It doesn't really add to the overall story line or provide any needed background info. That said, 'A Rare Book of Cunning Device' is a fun story and can be purchased as a stand alone. Also, it was fun revisiting the characters in 'Three Rivers, Two Husbands and a Baby'.
The Peter Grant Stories
'The Home Crowd Advantage' ROL 1.5. 2 stars. Meh, nothing here.
'The Domestic' ROL between books 2 & 3. 1 star. Not much story here.
'The Cockpit' ROL between books 3 & 4. 2 stars. Okay, but with a silly ending.
'The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Granny'. ROL 5.1. 3 stars. A granny who doesn't want to be shuffled off to Swinton is rescued by Peter and Beverly who have Not-Nicole (from Foxglove Summer) with them.
'King of the Rats' ROL 5.65. 1 star. A tale that goes nowhere and ends abruptly. Pointless.
'A Rare Book of Cunning Device'. ROL 6.5. 4.5 stars. Now this is what a short story should be. Possibly a better story because it was produced as a stand alone for Audible.
The Others (Stories featuring other characters)
'A Dedicated Follower of Fashion'. Takes place in the 1960's. 2 stars. Not a fan of this one. It involves a drug dealer and the birth of a river goddess.
'Favourite Uncle'. ROL 6.6. 2 stars. Abigail heads up an investigation on a Christmas guest.
Vanessa Sommer's Other Christmas List'. ROL 8.1. 1 star.
'Three Rivers, Two Husbands and a Baby'. ROL 9.1. 3 stars. This is a cute short story, but could have been so much more fun if it had been fleshed out to at least the length of a novella.
'Moments One, Two and Three'. Three little snippets of background information.

1 person found this helpful

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  • sue bowden
  • 2020-12-28

usual strengths and weaknesses of a collection

enjoyed it but a couple of stories felt unfinished, and the book of cunning device had already been published (and bought!) separately

1 person found this helpful

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  • Stephen P.
  • 2022-08-11

The Magic is real and it’s in the writing!

I am a voracious listener. In the car, at the gym, while waiting for appointments. When audible suggested the Rivers of London series I was a bit skeptical, but at the end of book one I was hooked. The writing is wry and smart with just enough geeky nods to keep you chuckling. I like a bit of sarcastic wit.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Janice
  • 2022-06-16

Frustrating

They are more like first chapters than short stories, not one has a satisfying ending.