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A Rare Book of Cunning Device

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Somewhere amongst the shadowy stacks and the many basements of the British library, something is very much amiss - and we're not talking late returns here. Is it a ghost, or something much worse? PC Peter Grant really isn't looking forward to finding out.... Somewhere amongst the shadowy stacks and the many basements of the British library, something is very much amiss - and we're not talking late returns here. Is it a ghost, or something much worse? PC Peter Grant really isn't looking forward to finding out....


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Somewhere amongst the shadowy stacks and the many basements of the British library, something is very much amiss - and we're not talking late returns here. Is it a ghost, or something much worse? PC Peter Grant really isn't looking forward to finding out.... Somewhere amongst the shadowy stacks and the many basements of the British library, something is very much amiss - and we're not talking late returns here. Is it a ghost, or something much worse? PC Peter Grant really isn't looking forward to finding out....

30 review for A Rare Book of Cunning Device

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    3.5 stars Funny, too short, and available only on audio, for now anyway, and it's still going for free at Audible. Nightingale is out of town again, and Peter gets called to the British Library about what appears at first to be a poltergeist problem. But after some investigating, it turns out to be a book running amok after dark and keeping the librarians up at night. The book isn't actually a book, but an ancient device of magical origins. It has moving parts and seems somewhat sentient, or at lea 3.5 stars Funny, too short, and available only on audio, for now anyway, and it's still going for free at Audible. Nightingale is out of town again, and Peter gets called to the British Library about what appears at first to be a poltergeist problem. But after some investigating, it turns out to be a book running amok after dark and keeping the librarians up at night. The book isn't actually a book, but an ancient device of magical origins. It has moving parts and seems somewhat sentient, or at least aware of its surrounding. I'd love to learn more about it and see it featured in later books. Peter brings Toby and Postmartin along to the library and learns from the librarians that the good professor has a reputation for stealing rare tomes. This comes as no surprise to me because I've always suspected that about him. Gatekeepers like the people of the Folly have always seemed like the kind to confiscate rare books and other objects of magical origins for "safe keeping." This short story reads like another sequence from the cutting room floor, not unlike The Home Crowd Advantage. I get the feeling these two should have been part of the main novels, but for whatever reason, they had to be cut during the editing process. But they were too good to delete permanently, so we get these little snippets to entertain us while we wait for Lies Sleeping. * * * * * Cross-posted at https://covers2covers.wordpress.com/2...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    Cute, fun story. A little bit of a taste of Kobna. Why do I feel like the drug dealer just gave me the first one for free?? The addicting properties are strong with this one...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Ben Aaronovitch has created in the Peter Grant series a storyline with a seemingly innumerable list of possible story ideas. From the novels (of which we are all impatiently waiting for the next) to the graphic novels (with fun vignettes at the end) to these short stories. A Rare Book of Cunning Device is an audiobook available for free on Audible and highlights not only Aaronvitch’s exceptional writing ability and imagination but also narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s perfect casting and executio Ben Aaronovitch has created in the Peter Grant series a storyline with a seemingly innumerable list of possible story ideas. From the novels (of which we are all impatiently waiting for the next) to the graphic novels (with fun vignettes at the end) to these short stories. A Rare Book of Cunning Device is an audiobook available for free on Audible and highlights not only Aaronvitch’s exceptional writing ability and imagination but also narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s perfect casting and execution reading these stories. Like the opening scenes in Ghostbusters, Grant investigates some ghostly goings on in the library, this time in the British Library, built recent enough that vestigial residue would argue against a traditional haunting. Good fun.

  4. 5 out of 5

    carol.

    aka "Ben's Ode to Librarians and Their Charges," free at Audible. A wonderful introduction to both Peter Grant and the wonders of Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's voice acting. It's a quick story, quite possibly short on world-building background for those new to the series, but does have a nice little bit about Peter's family. In it, Peter is asked by librarian Elizabeth Winn-Stanley (aka "Hatbox" Stanley) to investigate a poltergeist in the King's Collection at the British Library. The Folly's own libra aka "Ben's Ode to Librarians and Their Charges," free at Audible. A wonderful introduction to both Peter Grant and the wonders of Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's voice acting. It's a quick story, quite possibly short on world-building background for those new to the series, but does have a nice little bit about Peter's family. In it, Peter is asked by librarian Elizabeth Winn-Stanley (aka "Hatbox" Stanley) to investigate a poltergeist in the King's Collection at the British Library. The Folly's own librarian, Professor Harold Postmartin (aka "Harold the Pirate") becomes involved as well. I do so enjoy Kobna's ponderous, resonant rendition that also captures his mischievous humor. Fun facts: The British Library gets two copies of all books published in England and Ireland. Number of Scooby-Doo references: One Favorite line: "I like to learn from the mistakes of fictional characters."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    A Rare Book of Cunning Device By: Ben Aaronovitch Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith A fantastic short in the library. Complaints of a poltergeist in the library but once there, that's not what is found! Fun story... Great narration! A Rare Book of Cunning Device By: Ben Aaronovitch Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith A fantastic short in the library. Complaints of a poltergeist in the library but once there, that's not what is found! Fun story... Great narration!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Caro the Helmet Lady

    Aww, why so short? As soon as I got involved with the story it ended quite brutally, that's not fair! In such case I guess I will have to listen to it again... ;) Cute and funny, it makes a nice appetizer before the next Peter Grant book is out. Aww, why so short? As soon as I got involved with the story it ended quite brutally, that's not fair! In such case I guess I will have to listen to it again... ;) Cute and funny, it makes a nice appetizer before the next Peter Grant book is out.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    Short, tiny and wonderful story of Peter Grant investigating a report of a poltergeist at the British library with the head librarian and Harold Postmartin. And Toby. I love that this story is a bit of a love letter to librarians, and that Postmartin is known as “The Pirate” by other librarians. If you haven’t read any of the other stories in this world, this isn’t the place to start, but it’s a lovely reminder of Aaronovitch’s characters and humour, and the lovely, amazing voices of Kobna’s Hold Short, tiny and wonderful story of Peter Grant investigating a report of a poltergeist at the British library with the head librarian and Harold Postmartin. And Toby. I love that this story is a bit of a love letter to librarians, and that Postmartin is known as “The Pirate” by other librarians. If you haven’t read any of the other stories in this world, this isn’t the place to start, but it’s a lovely reminder of Aaronovitch’s characters and humour, and the lovely, amazing voices of Kobna’s Holdbrook-Smith.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alice (Married To Books)

    This was a short audible listen, at around 25 minutes long and part of a longer series, which I haven't gotten round to reading yet. I did like the narrator, he spoke clearly and made the characters stand out. The story-line itself just didn't fully capture my attention. I've never been to the British Library (considering that one of my real-life goals is to become a Librarian!) and while I loved the imagery surrounding this setting, it just moved too quickly and a little underdeveloped for me p This was a short audible listen, at around 25 minutes long and part of a longer series, which I haven't gotten round to reading yet. I did like the narrator, he spoke clearly and made the characters stand out. The story-line itself just didn't fully capture my attention. I've never been to the British Library (considering that one of my real-life goals is to become a Librarian!) and while I loved the imagery surrounding this setting, it just moved too quickly and a little underdeveloped for me personally.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paul E. Morph

    This is an audiobook exclusive Peter Grant short story (set between books five and six in the series). It was pretty good but left me craving MORE! Good job I've got book six lined up on my Kindle ready to go. This was very well read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. I'm told he does a great job on the other Peter Grant books too; alas, I have read them on my Kindle and deprived myself of the pleasure. Maybe when I re-read them a few years down the line I'll go the audiobook route... This is an audiobook exclusive Peter Grant short story (set between books five and six in the series). It was pretty good but left me craving MORE! Good job I've got book six lined up on my Kindle ready to go. This was very well read by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. I'm told he does a great job on the other Peter Grant books too; alas, I have read them on my Kindle and deprived myself of the pleasure. Maybe when I re-read them a few years down the line I'll go the audiobook route...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    Short story, audiobook available for free on Audible. Peter is sent to investigate weird bollocks at the British Library. Amusing, very short, great narration again by Kobna Holbrook-Smith. Can someone enlighten me regarding the tattooed eyeball reference?

  11. 5 out of 5

    CrabbyPatty

    I'm not familiar with the series, so my synopsis - some poltergeisty activity in the library results in Peter Grant finding a cunning device in said library - is probably not as detailed as if I were familiar with Peter Grant and his cases! Loved the narration and that British accent - top notch and all that. Visit my blog, Sinfully Good Gay Book Reviews I'm not familiar with the series, so my synopsis - some poltergeisty activity in the library results in Peter Grant finding a cunning device in said library - is probably not as detailed as if I were familiar with Peter Grant and his cases! Loved the narration and that British accent - top notch and all that. Visit my blog, Sinfully Good Gay Book Reviews

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris, the Dalek King

    Well. I'm now scared of old books. Congrats? Well. I'm now scared of old books. Congrats?

  13. 4 out of 5

    AndrewP

    A short story from Ben Aaeronovitch exclusively available on audible. It fit's in the 'Rivers of London' series and features Peter assisting a librarian by investigating a poltergeist in the British Library. The 35 minute story is read by the amazing Kobna Holbrook-Smith. If you haven't experienced Kobna reading Aaeronovitch this is free sample not to be missed. If you have, then you probably already grabbed this one:) A short story from Ben Aaeronovitch exclusively available on audible. It fit's in the 'Rivers of London' series and features Peter assisting a librarian by investigating a poltergeist in the British Library. The 35 minute story is read by the amazing Kobna Holbrook-Smith. If you haven't experienced Kobna reading Aaeronovitch this is free sample not to be missed. If you have, then you probably already grabbed this one:)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julia Sarene

    I liked this one, but it was just a tad too short for me to get full enjoyment. The end was a bit abrupt and unsatisfying for my personal taste, but I've never been too good with short stories, so it might just be me... ;) I liked the humor and the craziness and had some laugh out loud moments, so I'll give it 4*. I liked this one, but it was just a tad too short for me to get full enjoyment. The end was a bit abrupt and unsatisfying for my personal taste, but I've never been too good with short stories, so it might just be me... ;) I liked the humor and the craziness and had some laugh out loud moments, so I'll give it 4*.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    Charming piece of ephemera. Set in a library (be still my heart). I’m not sure but I feel that there was a little flirtation going on between Postmartin and Winstanley. Delightful.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Becky Wright

    A quirky listen. Short but fun.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marta

    This Audible freebie is a short story set in the Peter Grant universe. It is light and humorous, with some good-natured fun-poking at librarians everywhere. It is inventive, but too short to really draw us into the characters, and the story seems unfinished.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    This was a bit of an odd experience, as after 7+ books my own mental Peter Grant voice is a thing, and this obviously was different in numerous ways, not least of which were the cadences and emphasis my internal voice would have read this with. So a bit of an adjustment there, but excluding that the narration was good and I don't think I'd have had any issues was this my first encounter with the character. The story itself, being a short, was pretty linear and didn't have much in the way of tensi This was a bit of an odd experience, as after 7+ books my own mental Peter Grant voice is a thing, and this obviously was different in numerous ways, not least of which were the cadences and emphasis my internal voice would have read this with. So a bit of an adjustment there, but excluding that the narration was good and I don't think I'd have had any issues was this my first encounter with the character. The story itself, being a short, was pretty linear and didn't have much in the way of tension or depth, but that's ok for a 30 minute episode. Audio is somewhat difficult for me, so I'll have to listen again later to really make up my mind about it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Scott Firestone

    Okay, this probably doesn't deserve 4 stars, because it's just sort of a middling story. But since this is only an Audible story, you get to hear the narration from the wonderful Kobna Holdbrook-Smith--and that's worth an extra star on its own. It's free, and it's a terrific introduction to this world. Give it a listen. Okay, this probably doesn't deserve 4 stars, because it's just sort of a middling story. But since this is only an Audible story, you get to hear the narration from the wonderful Kobna Holdbrook-Smith--and that's worth an extra star on its own. It's free, and it's a terrific introduction to this world. Give it a listen.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Hank

    My first Peter Grant story I just sort of liked instead of loved. Apparently I need a longer story to get into the flow, this was too short. Still good but not enough time to appreciate the humor or the setting.

  21. 5 out of 5

    patrycja polczyk

    Adorable, though too short. I don't like audiobooks, but this one was fun. I'd happily read about other adventures in the library. Adorable, though too short. I don't like audiobooks, but this one was fun. I'd happily read about other adventures in the library.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cora Tea Party Princess

    5 Words: Perfect length for a cuppa. Although this didn't really add much to the world, I appreciated this little extra. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith was an exceptional narrator, as always. 5 Words: Perfect length for a cuppa. Although this didn't really add much to the world, I appreciated this little extra. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith was an exceptional narrator, as always.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katerina

    Are you kidding me? Peter Grant is called to the library to catch a poltergeist, finds a weird supernatural insect connected to a book, catches it, the end. The end?! Dear Ben, please, you can do better than that.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lis Carey

    London PC Peter Grant gets called to the British Museum, which has a serious problem in one of its many basements. They think it's a poltergeist; something, at least, is moving things around in ways that can't be accounted for by the actions of staff and users. Grant thinks this is unlikely, because of how modern the building is, but given the ancient, rare, historical, and otherwise valuable items in the collection, can't rule it out. And so he goes hunting through the basements. But is he hunti London PC Peter Grant gets called to the British Museum, which has a serious problem in one of its many basements. They think it's a poltergeist; something, at least, is moving things around in ways that can't be accounted for by the actions of staff and users. Grant thinks this is unlikely, because of how modern the building is, but given the ancient, rare, historical, and otherwise valuable items in the collection, can't rule it out. And so he goes hunting through the basements. But is he hunting a ghost, a poltergeist, something else? And has he brought the right equipment? This is a nice little short story, an Audible exclusive, that adds to the world-building and character development of the series. It's an additional little treat if you've been reading the series, and a nice introduction to Peter Grant if you haven't been. This story was free on Audible when I downloaded it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nicky

    Narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, this is a short story set in Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London world. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is a great narrator and sounds just perfect for Peter, and while it’s a short story, it’s fun and features Toby and Postmartin… and the British Library. And, of course, a rare book of cunning device. I won’t spoiler you if you haven’t listened to it, but it really is fun, helped by Holdbrook-Smith’s delivery. If you enjoy Peter Grant and his brand of humour, you’ll be in Narrated by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, this is a short story set in Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London world. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith is a great narrator and sounds just perfect for Peter, and while it’s a short story, it’s fun and features Toby and Postmartin… and the British Library. And, of course, a rare book of cunning device. I won’t spoiler you if you haven’t listened to it, but it really is fun, helped by Holdbrook-Smith’s delivery. If you enjoy Peter Grant and his brand of humour, you’ll be in for a treat. And as I recall, it’s free on Audible… Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Todd Oliver

    Neat short story that I'd love to see evolve into a bigger book. I'd love to learn about the inventor of the book of cunning device. Sounds like a very interesting character! Peter Grant is a paranormal investigator. He gets a call to check out the British Library. They seem to think they have a poltergeist in the basement of the library. What they find is much more interesting! Loved the narration by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Neat short story that I'd love to see evolve into a bigger book. I'd love to learn about the inventor of the book of cunning device. Sounds like a very interesting character! Peter Grant is a paranormal investigator. He gets a call to check out the British Library. They seem to think they have a poltergeist in the basement of the library. What they find is much more interesting! Loved the narration by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Papercuts1

    Loads of fun in a regrettably short Peter Grant mini story. Sort of an ode to librarians and their natural habitat combined with a creature hunt. The ending is a bit unspectacular. Feels like something Aaronovitch wanted to add to a Peter Grant novel but then discarded it. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's narration is, as usual, a miracle in itself. Loads of fun in a regrettably short Peter Grant mini story. Sort of an ode to librarians and their natural habitat combined with a creature hunt. The ending is a bit unspectacular. Feels like something Aaronovitch wanted to add to a Peter Grant novel but then discarded it. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith's narration is, as usual, a miracle in itself.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melanti

    Audible Freebie. Amusing, but it reads more like an excerpt from a longer book than a story in its own right. I like Aaronovitch's imagination and sense of humor... I just wish I liked Peter Grant more. Audible Freebie. Amusing, but it reads more like an excerpt from a longer book than a story in its own right. I like Aaronovitch's imagination and sense of humor... I just wish I liked Peter Grant more.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bart

    ***Actual rating: 4,00*** The good: + The wit and witticisms of Peter Grant is great (as always). + Kobna Holdbrook-Smith does an amazing job as narrator. The not so good: - The story is too short to be amazing.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Silvana

    The story was not terribly exciting but the setting and the narration are perfect. My first time listening to an RoL audiobook.

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