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44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street Series, Book 1) Paperback – June 14, 2005
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Like Smith's bestselling Botswana mysteries, this book—comprising 110 sections, originally serialized in the Scotsman, that drolly chronicle the lives of residents in an Edinburgh boarding house—is episodic, amusing and peopled with characters both endearing and benignly problematic. Pat, 21, is on her second "gap year" (her first yearlong break from her studies was such a flop she refuses to discuss it), employed at a minor art gallery and newly settled at the eponymous address, where she admires vain flatmate Bruce and befriends neighbor Domenica. A low-level mystery develops about a possibly valuable painting that Pat discovers, proceeds to lose and then finds in the unlikely possession of Ian Rankin, whose bestselling mysteries celebrate the dark side of Edinburgh just as Smith's explore the (mostly) sunny side. The possibility of romance, the ongoing ups and downs of the large, well-drawn cast of characters, the intricate plot and the way Smith nimbly jumps from situation to situation and POV to POV—he was charged, after all, with keeping his newspaper readers both momentarily satisfied and eager for the next installment—works beautifully in book form. No doubt Smith's fans will clamor for more about 44 Scotland Street, and given the author's celebrated productivity, he'll probably give them what they want. Agent, Robin Straus. (June)
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From Bookmarks Magazine
Inspired by Armistead Maupins serialized San Francisco-based Tales of the City, McCall Smith has successfully incorporated snippets of Bohemian Edinburgh life into 44 Scotland Street. He lends the same insights and sensibilities to these colorful vignettes as he does to his bestselling No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, set in Botswana: an understated intelligence, a deep human compassion, and lighthearted romance and mystery. Likeable and quirky characters, from a pushy mother and bookish neighbor to real-life walk-ons, populate the gentle satire. For those who dont read The Scotsman, not to worry: theres a second volume in the works.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Besides the enjoyment of being able to read as much or little as you wish at a time, the individual tales hold you captive in their ability to make you want to know what happens next.
There is Pat, a 20 yr old, second year gap student, trying to make her way in the city. She leases a shared flat with Bruce, a clerk with a surveyor company. Bruce is very aware of his beauty to all. Pat attains a job with Matthew, an art gallery owner with his own issues.
A lovely widow, Domenica lives across the way and befriends Pat with her tales of life and adventure.
Downstairs, is a family, Stuart, Irene, and their five year old Son, Bertie. Bertie is a genius, according to Mummy, and is forced to play the Saxophone (tenor at that,) and learn Italian. Bertie? Well, he loves trains.
We meet characters from outside the apartment house as well. Big Lou, owner of the coffee house who reads everything she can, and Angus, a portrait painter with his pooch, Cyril (who sports a gold tooth and love of ale.)
I read this first volume in a day. It was a compulsion to see what happened next. Not to mention to figure out the mysterious painting...
Indulge yourselves and share in a good gossip. It is a guilty pleasure in this case.