AudioFile Recommends

by Michael Blanding | Read by Sean Runnette

E. Forbes Smiley is an almost larger-than-life character. Fusty, genuinely captivated by old maps, and cavalier about his spending, he cynically steals maps from libraries and museums for the money. Narrator Sean Runnette wholly grasps Smiley’s contradictions and quirks with a narration that is accessible and charming. For the complicated history of some of the maps, Runnette slightly slows his pace to ease listening digestion. He’s more conversational when recounting Smiley’s financial overextension as he bounces checks and lives a grander lifestyle than he can afford. Perhaps most fitting of all is Runnette’s hint of (deserved) incredulousness at the lax security of the institutions that Smiley steals from. It really shouldn’t be so easy to steal such rare and valuable things. A.B. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine