I had already read both of course–but it was a long time ago, 8 years maybe. This time I listened to them, and was very entertained by the accents and, as always, the wonderful story telling . Stephen Briggs, the reader, does a grand job differentiating the characters as he reads them.
The horrible villain of Going Postal, Reacher Gilt, has a sort of husky emphatic tone, which actually reminded me of the way a wealthy contractor friend of ours speaks. The whole ingenious story about the birth of stamps (culminating in the brilliant idea of flavored glues, including the CABBAGE scented glue for the Sto Plains edition, featuring, of course, a picture of their prime money earner, the cabbage) is a tour de force. Pratchett is a master when it comes to giving life to his characters, and the aged Junior Postman Tolliver Groat and his assistant Stanley Howler are brilliant examples of his art. With slightly-deranged-but-heart-of-gold Stanley, we have a splendid example of the crazy nerd, and in this case, his particular craze is PINS: we enter (somewhat gingerly, it’s pointed, ha ha) the world of the Pin Collectors, with magazines devoted to it, grungy stores selling pins in all their marvelous variety, the arcane language, and the seedy back rooms where Special Pins for the True Connoisseur are to be found. Stanley is a fanatic Pin Head–until Moist Von Lipvig creates and reveals to him the much more magical and engrossing world of Stamp Collecting. With Pictures! The story is of course silly–but irresistible, and Moist is an engaging hero, sharp and devious, but kindly. He falls in love with the no-nonsense, crossbow-wielding, chain smoking Adorabella Dearheart. How can you not love it?
Once I finished Going Postal, I had to keep going–addicted, is what it was. So, Audible obliged, and I downloaded Moist’s next adventure, Making Money. Crammed with golems and wizards and magical rings–not to mention, pole dancing, Rubber Goods of a Certain Variety, and economic theory. Great fun ensues when Mr. Fusspot (the little dog who is the Chairman of the board of the bank, thanks to a bequest from his late loving mistress, Topsy Lavish) discovers an item in the Rubber Goods of a Certain Variety category and adopts it as his plaything. It vibrates, do you see, and as he is a very small dog, it carries him with it. Mr. Fusspot is eventually adopted by the Patrician, who misses his little dog Wuffles (visiting his grave every week to lay a dog biscuit on it). This book gives us another take on the Clown’s Guild. It is featured in a couple other stories, which mostly emphasized how grim and UNfunny the clown’s life is. In this case, however, we are introduced to a born Master Clown, who unfortunately discovers his vocation too late, and becomes a bank clerk instead of a clown.