Lorraine from Athlone Library talks about 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith:
This hugely entertaining book centers around 44 Scotland Street, a fictitious building in a real street in Edinburgh occupied by a wide range of interesting characters. The characters are so well drawn they become like old friends as the series progresses: among them are Big Lou, who runs the local coffee shop, a winking dog called Cyril owned by artist Angus Lordie, 20-year-old Pat McGregor who works in an art gallery, and her narcissistic flat mate Bruce Anderson. But the star of the show is undoubtedly 5 year-old Bertie Pollack, a child prodigy, according to his appallingly pushy mother Irene who forces him to learn the saxophone and to do classes in yoga and Italian, when all he wants is to be a normal boy.
Like Dickens, the stories started out as a weekly newspaper series with short chapters in which something happens that whets the appetite for the next instalment. The stories feature the moral dilemmas of everyday life, tackling issues of trust and honesty, snobbery and hypocrisy, love and loss, with gentle humour and the lightest of touches. The pace is slow (but never boring) with a philosophy of life that promotes love and kindness – the perfect antidote to the times we live in. There are 14 books in the series, and once you read one you’ll be hooked!