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)
Someone from Scotland who doesn't require h/er novels to have an actual... you know... plot.
Because of the way it was written, it's very choppy. The characters are somewhat archetypical and fairly shallow. I think if there was less Scotland-specific detail and a bit more "finish" to this, I'd have enjoyed it. Frankly, what he should have done was take the series, removed the issue numbers, put them all together and edited to his heart's content. Then he might have had a novel worthy of his talents.
Pleasant; limited range.
Disappointment. Just not up to McCall Smith's standards (outside of Scotland.)
Not worth a credit. I'm returning it.
I don't know about you, but why are there so so so many 5 star reviews. I LOVE books, but so few are 5 star.
Not engrossing, amusing ramblings in a way. I do like this style, but it is not a page turner. I love the way all the characters are loosely tied together.
Like Colin Bateman, a good Sunday read or listen.
I was interested in purchasing this book for the mystery and Edinburgh scenery. However, I was disappointed on both accounts. The book starts off well enough, but then goes nowhere fast - ending horribly. I would skip it.
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
After listening to many of the selections in Alexander Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, I wondered if he could possibly match that great series in this new one. I was delighted to listen to "44 Scotland Street," in which he again creates a memorable set of characters and a lovely, meandering and engaging story through which to let them reveal themselves. Brought alive by the wonderful narration of Robert Ian Mackenzie, Pat--who has rented a room with Bruce in Edinburgh, finds herself a job in an art gallery (feeling a bit embarrassed because she is on her 2nd "gap year."). Her neighbors are each fascinating (and often humorous), and the book tells their tales as it shifts back and forth between several stories.
Smith slowly moves the reader/listener through various incidents in the days of the people who live in this house, which were increasingly interesting. Everyone is trying as best they can to get their needs met. Pat somewhat falls in love with Bruce, without realizing that his confidence is not all it appears. Her employer is part of a group who meet regularly at "Big Lou's"--and the reader gradually realizes that she not only dispenses food and drink--but also philosophical advice. The neurotic Irene--whose son is struggling to be a normal little boy despite her smothering attempts, and others. The thing that makes this book a gem is the reliance on good character development, description, and the underlying foundation of solid philosophical concepts that peek through at times.
In the very beginning, I wasn't sure if anything was going to happen, wondering if it was going to be boring. Then I realized that its beauty is in the attention to detail that Smith gives it. And even though things "happen" it seems as though the point is more about who they are than what they do. I would like to also say that the narration gives this book a richness that makes it wonderful to listen to. This is different from his other series, but is equally compelling. I really enjoyed listening to it!
This has to be one of the worst books ever recorded. I have to admit I purchased it because I really like the narrator, but even good narration cannot redeem a really bad book.
The book was originally written and published as a daily serial in a newspaper. At first I was intrigued by that idea. Some great literature was originally published that way; Dickens, for example. However, this story is way too slow. The worst part, however, is the character development. All the characters share a common characteristic. They are incredibly silly. They are simply too stupid to have a place in the world in general.
This was my first experience with an Alexander McCall Smith book. It will also be my last.
I am a big fan of the HBO series Ladies Number One Detective Agency so I thought this might be good. To be honest I could not finish the book. I really tried but I gave up after 43 chapters. I had hoped to gain some insight into life in Edinborough but this seemed to be overshadowed by the lives of a group of odd characters. I couldn't find much of a reason to like any of them. The plot twists were obvious and tedious. Sorry, I can't really think of a single positive thing to say about it.
It's a rare moment indeed when I find a book this boring. I couldn't manage to care enough to keep the characters in mind, and found myself wanting the radio on instead. Pass this one by, life's too short!
As a fan of the Number 1 Ladies Detective series, I looked forward to the same kind of rich cultural experience wrapped in a bit of a mystery. Unfortunately, the characters here are shallow and insipid, their bland stories strung together like an endless string of digressions from what is billed as the main plot line. I gave up after seven hours of listening. Disappointing to this fan of the author.
Ian Mackenzie has a great voice but he narrates ALL female characters the same and in 'up speak' - I could not listen for more than 4-5 hrs worth.
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