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A Rare Book of Cunning Device

(Rivers of London #6.5)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  3,053 ratings  ·  368 reviews
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.... ...more
Audible Audio, Unabridged UK Edition, 1 page
Published April 27th 2017 by Audible Studios
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Katie Unfortunately, it's an audio exclusive that you can only get via audible. I've been looking for a transcript, but haven't managed to find one.…moreUnfortunately, it's an audio exclusive that you can only get via audible. I've been looking for a transcript, but haven't managed to find one.(less)

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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  3,053 ratings  ·  368 reviews

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Start your review of A Rare Book of Cunning Device (Rivers of London, #6.5)
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
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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...
Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it
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
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
Montzalee Wittmann
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
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!
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.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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 ...more
Paul E. Morph
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it
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...
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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?
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
Chris, the Dalek King

I'm now scared of old books.

Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Librarians
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:)
Kitvaria 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*.
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
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.
Becky Wright
Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
A quirky listen. Short but fun.
Jun 16, 2020 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy, audio
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
Scott Firestone
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Apr 28, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
patrycja polczyk
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Adorable, though too short. I don't like audiobooks, but this one was fun. I'd happily read about other adventures in the library. ...more
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.
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.
Lis Carey
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, audio, mystery
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
Todd Oliver
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
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.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-read
***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.
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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Ben Aaronovitch's career started with a bang writing for Doctor Who, subsided in the middle and then, as is traditional, a third act resurgence with the bestselling Rivers of London series.

Born and raised in London he says that he'll leave his home when they prise his city out of his cold dead fingers.

Other books in the series

Rivers of London (8 books)
  • Rivers of London (Rivers of London, #1)
  • Moon Over Soho (Rivers of London, #2)
  • Whispers Under Ground (Rivers of London, #3)
  • Broken Homes (Rivers of London, #4)
  • Foxglove Summer (Rivers of London, #5)
  • The Hanging Tree (Rivers of London, #6)
  • Lies Sleeping (Rivers of London, #7)
  • False Value (Rivers of London, #8)

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