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44 Scotland Street
Cover of 44 Scotland Street
44 Scotland Street
44 Scotland Street Series, Book 1
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44 SCOTLAND STREET - Book 1

The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy—just ask his mother.
Welcome to 44 Scotland Street, home to some of Edinburgh's most colorful characters. There's Pat, a twenty-year-old who has recently moved into a flat with Bruce, an athletic young man with a keen awareness of his own appearance. Their neighbor, Domenica, is an eccentric and insightful widow. In the flat below are Irene and her appealing son Bertie, who is the victim of his mother's desire for him to learn the saxophone and italian–all at the tender age of five.

Love triangles, a lost painting, intriguing new friends, and an encounter with a famous Scottish crime writer are just a few of the ingredients that add to this delightful and witty portrait of Edinburgh society, which was first published as a serial in The Scotsman newspaper.

44 SCOTLAND STREET - Book 1

The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy—just ask his mother.
Welcome to 44 Scotland Street, home to some of Edinburgh's most colorful characters. There's Pat, a twenty-year-old who has recently moved into a flat with Bruce, an athletic young man with a keen awareness of his own appearance. Their neighbor, Domenica, is an eccentric and insightful widow. In the flat below are Irene and her appealing son Bertie, who is the victim of his mother's desire for him to learn the saxophone and italian–all at the tender age of five.

Love triangles, a lost painting, intriguing new friends, and an encounter with a famous Scottish crime writer are just a few of the ingredients that add to this delightful and witty portrait of Edinburgh society, which was first published as a serial in The Scotsman newspaper.

Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
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Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    2
  • Library copies:
    2
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    5.0
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    3 - 4

Recommended for you

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One 1. Stuff Happens Pat stood before the door at the bottom of the stair, reading the names underneath the buttons. Syme, Macdonald, Pollock, and then the name she was looking for: Anderson. That would be Bruce Anderson, the surveyor, the person to whom she had spoken on the telephone. He was the one who collected the rent, he said, and paid the bills. He was the one who had said that she could come and take a look at the place and see whether she wanted to live there. "And we'll take a look at you," he had added. "If you don't mind." So now, she thought, she would be under inspection, assessed for suitability for a shared flat, weighed up to see whether she was likely to play music too loudly or have friends who would damage the furniture. Or, she supposed, whether she would jar on anybody's nerves. She pressed the bell and waited. After a few moments something buzzed and she pushed open the large black door with its numerals, 44, its lion's head knocker, and its tarnished brass plate above the handle. The door was somewhat shabby, needing a coat of paint to cover the places where the paintwork had been scratched or chipped away. Well, this was Scotland Street, not Moray Place or Doune Terrace; not even Drummond Place, the handsome square from which Scotland Street descended in a steep slope. This street was on the edge of the Bohemian part of the Edinburgh New Town, the part where lawyers and accountants were outnumbered - just - by others. She climbed up four flights of stairs to reach the top landing. Two flats led off this, one with a dark green door and no nameplate in sight, and another, painted blue, with a piece of paper on which three names had been written in large lettering. As she stepped onto the landing, the blue door was opened and she found herself face-to-face with a tall young man, probably three or four years older than herself, his dark hair en brosse and wearing a rugby jersey. Triple Crown, she read. Next year. And after that, in parenthesis, the word: Maybe. "I'm Bruce," he said. "And I take it you're Pat." He smiled at her, and gestured for her to come into the flat. "I like the street," she said. "I like this part of town." He nodded. "So do I. I lived up in Marchmont until a year ago and now I'm over here. It's central. It's quiet. Marchmont got a bit too studenty." She followed him into a living room, a large room with a black marble fireplace on one side and a rickety bookcase against the facing wall. "This is the sitting room," he said. "It's nothing great, but it gets the sun." She glanced at the sofa, which was covered with a faded chintzy material stained in one or two places with spills of tea or coffee. It was typical of the sofas which one found in shared flats as a student; sofas that had been battered and humiliated, slept on by drunken and sober friends alike, and which would, on cleaning, disgorge copious sums in change, and ballpoint pens, and other bits and pieces dropped from generations of pockets. She looked at Bruce. He was good-looking in a way which one might describe as . . . well, how might one describe it? Fresh-faced? Open? Of course, the rugby shirt gave it away: he was the sort that one saw by the hundred, by the thousand, streaming out of Murrayfield after a rugby international. Wholesome was the word which her mother would have used, and which Pat would have derided. But it was a useful word when it came to describe Bruce. Wholesome. Bruce was returning her gaze. Twenty, he thought. Quite expensively dressed. Tanned in a way which suggested outside...
About the Author-
  • Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the huge international phenomenon, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, and The Sunday Philosophy Club series. He is a professor of medical law at Edinburgh University. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and he was a law professor at the University of Botswana. He lives in Scotland.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 25, 2005
    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
    .

  • Library Journal

    May 1, 2005
    Originally serialized in the "Scotsman", this latest novel from Smith ("The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency") revolves around the inhabitants of an Edinburgh apartment house. The newest resident is 20-year-old Pat, who rents a room from the slightly older and irresistibly handsome Bruce. Pat's eccentric neighbors include Dominica, an artsy and wise widow; Bertie, a five-year-old saxophone player; and Bertie's overbearing mother, Irene. In order to make ends meet, Pat takes a job as a receptionist at a nearby art gallery. Her boss is the ineffectual Matthew, whose father owns the gallery. When Pat gets a hunch that one of the gallery's paintings might be valuable, and then the piece of work goes missing, the action takes off. Other storylines include Bruce struggling over an appropriate career path and conflicted Bertie undergoing therapy. The novel is made up of several short chapters that leave the reader wondering what will happen next. This, along with McCall Smith's insightful and comic observations, makes for an amusing and absorbing look at Edinburgh society. Recommended for most popular fiction collections. [See also Smith's "In the Company of Cheerful Ladies", reviewed in Mystery on p. 69. -Ed.] -Karen Core, Kent District Lib., Grand Rapids, MI

    Copyright 2005 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    April 1, 2005
    Residents of an Edinburgh apartment building are put merrily under the microscope in this latest offering from Scotsman McCall Smith, author of the best-selling Ladies Detective Agency series. Likable 20-year-old Pat--now on her second "gap" year--rents a room from Bruce, a handsome surveyor who is insufferably self-absorbed. He's hardly boyfriend material, she tells herself, nor is Matthew, the aesthetically impaired owner of the gallery where she's employed. Pat's mundane life becomes infinitely more interesting when she suspects that one of the gallery's paintings may be an undiscovered work of eighteenth-century portraitist Samuel Peploe. Fearful that a customer is also in on the secret, Pat hides the painting in her apartment, where it's put to use by Bruce. The novel, originally serialized in " The Scotsman," has multiple subplots in which the author gently mocks fellow Scots (what is proper kilt protocol--underwear or no?). The building's irrepressible tenants are vintage McCall Smith: gossipy widow Domenica McDonald, who tools around town in a custard-colored Mercedes, and the preposterous Pollock family, whose five-year-old son, Bertie, speaks fluent Italian, plays the saxophone, and reads W. H. Auden for fun. Readers needn't possess plaid clothes or a brogue to savor this wise, witty send-up of Edinburgh rogues.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2005, American Library Association.)

  • San Francisco Chronicle "McCall Smith's assessments of fellow humans are piercing and profound. . . . [His] depictions of Edinburgh are vivid and seamless."
  • Newsday "[McCall Smith's] accomplished novels . . . [are] dependent on small gestures redolent with meaning and main characters blessed with pleasing personalities. . . . .These novels are gentle probes into the mysteries of human nature."
  • The Independent (London) "McCall Smith's writing . . . harks back to a more tranquil age, where gentle ironies and strict proprieties prevail. . . . The pleasure of the novel lies in its simplicity."
  • Chicago Sun-Times "Utterly enchanting . . . It is impossible to come away from an Alexander McCall Smith 'mystery' novel without a smile on the lips and warm fuzzies in the heart."
  • San Francisco Chronicle "McCall Smith's assessments of fellow humans are piercing and profound. . . . [His] depictions of Edinburgh are vivid and seamless."
  • The New York Times "McCall Smith's generous writing and dry humor, his gentleness and humanity, and his ability to evoke a place and a set of characters without caricature or condescension have endeared his books . . . to readers."
  • Newsday "Pure joy. . . . The voice, the setting, the stories, the mysteries of human nature. . . . [McCall Smith's] writing is accessible and the prose is beautiful."
  • The Dallas Morning News "[McCall Smith's] accomplished novels . . . [are] dependent on small gestures redolent with meaning and main characters blessed with pleasing personalities . . . Not so much conventional mysteries, [his] novels are gentle probes into the mysteries of human nature."
  • The Globe and Mail (Toronto) "Mr. Smith, a fine writer, paints his hometown of Edinburgh as indelibly as he captures the sunniness of Africa. We can almost feel the mists as we tread the cobblestones."
  • USA Today "Alexander McCall Smith has become one of those commodities, like oil or chocolate or money, where the supply is never sufficient to the demand. . . . [He] is prolific and habit-forming."
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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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44 Scotland Street Series, Book 1
Alexander McCall Smith
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