When Pat rents a room in Edinburgh, she acquires some interesting neighbors, including a pushy Stockbridge mother and her talented, sax-playing, 5-year-old son. Pat's job at an art gallery hardly keeps her busy, until she suspects one painting in the collection may be an undiscovered work from a Scottish master. As Pat handles the mystery of the painting, she and the people surrounding her confront issues of trust, love, and loss.
Chalk up another winner for McCall Smith, whose endlessly entertaining and perceptive novel is filled with delightfully authentic sketches of all the archetypes of Edinburgh society.
©2005 Alexander McCall Smith; (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC
"Readers needn't possess plaid clothes or a brogue to savor this wise, witty send-up of Edinburgh rogues." (Booklist)
"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...works beautifully." (Publishers Weekly)
This book is a fun listen, and it is literally Smith's take on Maupin's Tales of City, but set in his beloved Edinburgh. It seems that many who have adored the Mma Ramotswe series can't get into anything else Smith has done, previously or subsequently. It's understandable, since the Botwana books are masterpieces. However, Smith is one of the best storytellers of our time, and it is unfortunate to always compare his other books (such as this one) to the Ladies' Detective Agency tales and then find them lacking. This story is full of all of the humanity, thoughtfulness and warm humor that his other stories have had. I can't wait for more of the serial.
Narrative makes the world go round.
I didn't expect to like this, don't know why I downloaded it, and had it in my library for a year before I even tried to listen. Once I started, I finished it within 48 hrs, sneeking on my iPod at every chance.
McCall Smith gives us wisdom masked in simple, curious tales of characters like those found in any coffee shop - inside Scotland or out- improbable but believable once inside the story.
The tales were first serialized in a newspaper - in the introduction McCall Smith reminds that Dickens spun most of his tales in that manner - but 44 Scotand put me in mind more of Trollope.
This is another example of a good read made better in audio by excellent narrration.
It took me a little longer to warm up to this new series by one of my favorite authors, but in the end it was added to my list of 'got to get the next book in the series' list. Alexander McCall Smith has a real talent for creating characters that you 'feel' you know. In this series he captures idiosyncratic characteristics that are recognizable and presents them is a light and amusing way.
By the way the audiobook has the added advantage of Scottish ascent.
Don't read this book if you think you are getting some tawdry mystery. This is a fantastic, gentle satire that introduces some wonderful characters and makes me long for a trip to Edinburgh.
It is subtle, sly, wonderfully aware and narrated with skill and charm. Don't miss it.
Tell us about yourself!
When I first began listening to 44 scotland street I found it a wee bit confusing and hard to follow. There are several voices and many characters which is different from the other McCall Smith titles in his other series' I have listened to. As I persisted; and got to know the different characters I found it as highly addictive as all his works. If you like Ladies detective agency you should consider giving Scotland street a try!
I listened to this book while I walked the dog--the walks got longer as I got more involved in the characters (the dog got happier). Nothing really happens, but if you can allow yourself to appreciate the little stories about the characters, it is a charming book. The humor is very dry and understated. They became pleasant companions that I looked forward to walking with. The reader does a good job with a modified Scottish accent.
A quiet, enjoyable listen. The characters are not cardboard cutouts, but have dimension.
The narrator is good, with interesting inflections and accents. It's tough for a man to do a woman's voice without getting too *soft and helpless* sounding and sometimes I noticed that happening, but not too often. More often I enjoyed hearing the different pronunciation of words than in America. And wondered about some new words, which I have no idea how to look up since I don't know how they would be spelled . . . such as Bruce, who wore his hair umbrasse? en brasse? - I guessed that meant either swept up or gelled - cultural differences. The new words were enjoyable though, trying to guess what they meant as they cropped up throughout the story. Tombolo? And, does everyone in Scotland know the various dances? The story was told as if people would know how to do such traditional dances. I can't imagine that the population in America would know the same dance - other than shuffling to a slow tune.
The cultural points gracefully framing the story make the listener notice even more how everywhere we go, we are all the same.
The books on Audible that I've listened to have been either educational or diversions, and this is a pleasant, well-crafted work of story telling.
The reader's beautiful diction and voice made the listening experience a treat, and, as always, Alexander McCall Smith's writing is a dream. The way he opens characters' hearts; the way he gently exposes their foibles. Both human frailty and generosity of spirit leak off every page. He is without a doubt my favourite contemporary male author.
The characters are richly nuanced. How can one not be intrigued by Irene, the pushy and opinionated mother, or by Dr. Fairbairn, the pompous poseur? Bertie's situation is so unfortunate that I wished I could rescue him. By the end of the book, I longed to hang out with Domenica and Angus.
His Bertie is wonderfu. How is it that a man with such a deep, rich voice can carry off the role of a child or a woman? Despite the number of characters, I was never confused as to who was speaking. He didn't overdo the characterization; it was just right. Robert Ian Mackenzie's performance is wonderful throughout, and I am sure the direction contributed to the making of this great recording.
It's too hard to choose. It's a toss up between Domenica and Angus. Definitely not Bruce, though I tend to agree with him that Chardonnay is overrated. Could I take Bertie out for an icecream and some rugby?
I listened while on my daily walk, and I will admit to the occasional snort of laughter or gasp at Bruce's pomposity. I'm sure the neighbours think I'm a wee bit loopy.
Favorite author: Alexander McCall Smith Favorite narrator: Gerard Doyle Favorite listen : Burton and Swinburne Trilogy
the Bold and the Beautiful. or maybe the not so Bold and not all that.
Everyone can probably identify with all the characters. They will either remind you of yourself at some stage in your life or they are like someone you know. In true Alexander Mcall Smith form they are a little larger in life. My favorite character was Bertie the very insightful 7 year old who new what he wanted.
When he talks through the characters he always puts you in their head, even though the thought may be Lol funny he takes tham very seriously, as much of us do with our ridiculous thoughts. Things you will laugh about later but it is very serious now, that is how the author portrays it.
Just like Pat, I would probably enjoy having dinner with Dominica and Angus. They could tell some stories.
This reminds me a little of the tales of Lake Wobeggan only Scottish. It's just little stories about a community of people with a little romance, a little angst, a little mystery , a little self discovery and a lot of laughs.
Say something about yourself!
It would be easy to overlook this rye look at life by Alexander McCall Smith. The series is wonderful and there are 9 books now in the series (Audible has 8). Smith is never mean spirited and you get to know the foibles of the characters so well. I love this series and think you will too if you like stories about everyday people and their oddness. Highly recommended for great character studies (even dogs!) and for excellent writing.
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