The story revolves around the comings and goings at No. 44 Scotland Street, a fictitious building in a real street in Edinburgh. Immediately recognisable are the Edinburgh chartered surveyor, stalwart of the Conservative Association, who dreams of membership of Scotland's most exclusive golf club. We have the pushy Stockbridge mother, and her prodigiously talented five-year-old son, who is making good progress with the saxophone and with his Italian. Then there is Domenica Macdonald who is that type of Edinburgh lady who ...
The story revolves around the comings and goings at No. 44 Scotland Street, a fictitious building in a real street in Edinburgh. Immediately recognisable are the Edinburgh chartered surveyor, stalwart of the Conservative Association, who dreams of membership of Scotland's most exclusive golf club. We have the pushy Stockbridge mother, and her prodigiously talented five-year-old son, who is making good progress with the saxophone and with his Italian. Then there is Domenica Macdonald who is that type of Edinburgh lady who sees herself as a citizen of a broader intellectual world. In McCall Smith's hands such characters retain charm and novelty, simultaneously arousing both mirth and empathy. 44 Scotland Street is vintage McCall Smith, tackling issues of trust and honesty, snobbery and hypocrisy, love and loss, but all with great lightness of touch. Clever, elegant and funny, this is a novel that provides huge entertainment but which is underpinned by the moral dilemmas of everyday life and the characters' struggles to resolve them.
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This series is delightful. The characters grow on you, with all their foibles. And the setting in the author's (and my) beloved Edinburgh adds a great sense of place.
Nov 23, 2007
Welcome to Scotland Street
I love an author who's not afraid of a challenge. Alexander McCall Smith took on the daunting task of writing a modern newspaper serial and made it look easy. Each installment is a tidy, satisfying little story, but each one leaves you wanting more. Like Dickens, this author has a talent for weaving together seemingly unrelated story lines into a beautiful, seamless tapestry of everyday life. It almost made me want to move to Edinburgh!
While you're buying, you might as well purchase the two subsequent books in this series: Espresso Tales and Love Over Scotland. You'll be glad you did.
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