One of McCall Smith's particular talents is his ability to portray archetypes without resorting to stereotype or cliche. We immediately recognise 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.
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.
©2005 Alexander McCall Smith; (P)2005 Time Warner AudioBooks
"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)
Charming and wittily observed novel....revealing of human nature and Edinburgh itself. Must now read all the series. Blythe Duff read superbly - nothing against David Rintoul, but I do wish Duff had read them all.
I was given the second book, "Espresso Tales" on CD, and enjoyed the first CD enough to want to listen to the entire series.
Blythe Duff does a wonderful job of bringing these interesting characters to life, and their individual stories and incidents make for a wonderful tapestry of life. They do not seem to be contrived or artificial, which makes the book both plausible and entertaining.
I can see myself listening to the entire series. The setting is very different to Mma Ramotswe in Botswana, but the storytelling and attention to character detail is just as good as the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency
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