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Bertie Plays The Blues: 44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street 7) Hardcover – 1 Aug 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited; 1st Edition edition (1 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846971888
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846971884
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.9 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 277,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world's most prolific and most popular authors. His career has been a varied one: for many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the United Kingdom and abroad. Then, after the publication of his highly successful 'No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series, which has sold over twenty million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty-six languages and become bestsellers through the world. These include the Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in The Scotsman, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, the Von Igelfeld series, and the Corduroy Mansions series, novels which started life as a delightful (but challenging to write) cross-media serial, written on the website of the Telegraph Media Group. This series won two major cross-media awards - Association of Online Publishers Digital Publishing Award 2009 for a Cross Media Project and the New Media Age award.

In addition to these series, Alexander writes stand-alone books. 2014 sees publication of three new novels which fall into this area: 'The Forever Girl'; 'Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party'; and 'Emma' - a reworking of the classic Jane Austen novel. This year there will also be a stunning book on Edinburgh, 'A Work of Beauty: Alexander McCall Smith's Edinburgh'. Earlier stand alone novels include 'La's Orchestra Saves the World' and 'Trains and Lovers: A Hearts Journey'.

Alexander is also the author of collections of short stories, academic works, and over thirty books for children. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the British Book Awards Author of the Year Award in 2004 and a CBE for service to literature in 2007. He holds honorary doctorates from nine universities in Europe and North America. In March of 2011 he received an award from the President of Botswana for his services through literature to that country.
Alexander McCall Smith lives in Edinburgh. He is married to a doctor and has two daughters.

Product Description


This seventh satirical instalment of their adventures is a delight --Scotland in Trust Magazine

Often much humour can t stand up to a second reading. McCall Smith s comedy is different. Because while it is written with abundant wit...there are equally large dollops of wisdom too --Scotsman

Book Description

The brilliant new novel in the 44 Scotland Street series, first serialised in the Daily Telegraph --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWERTOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Such is the level of civility in Edinburgh reminds Alexander McCall Smith in the latest hilarious episode of the 44 Scotland Street series. The usual wonderful characters are all here as a few months have progressed since the previous installment, "The Importance of Being Seven". Matthew and Elspeth are now the parents of triplets and quickly learning how the joy and wonderment of that parenthood is balanced out by the stress of the responsibility and the almost total lack of sleep, These are good people trying to keep up with a sharp turn in their lives, and help arrives in the form of Danish pastry.

Newly engaged boomers, Domenica and Angus, are struggling with the practical aspects of planning a merger of households; a discussion complicated by the arrival of an old first love. The Pollock family is also evolving in its own way with husband Stuart asserting more independence on his own behalf and that of his prodigy son, Bertie. Bertie, a paragon of brightness and common sense, continues to be baffled and frustrated by the main female in his life--mother Irene, but also by the clique of little girls at his school led by the ever-conniving and devious Olive. Irene Pollock, poster person for overbearing, yuppie maternity, gets a major wakeup call in ""Bertie Plays..." when her son takes a shocking step toward repudiation of her methodologies with the help of eBay.

Supporting characters Big Lou, Pat, Bruce and, above all the rest, Cyril the gold-toothed dog, all have important roles to play in this story, largely as participants in the conversations about the daily dilemmas of life that are the main point of the series and, the reader surmises, the author's larger purpose for writing. As in all of these books, there is a sweet satire that can be both gentle and provocative.
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70 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Sloneill on 11 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you are already a fan of the 44 Scotland Street series then this latest instalment will not disappoint. I now have all of Alexander McCall Smith's books and devour them immediately! I often find myself laughing out loud, which can be somewhat of an embarrassment on the train! His stories are always gentle, full of charm, snippets of wisdom and all importantly a good dose of wit and humour. In this volume we pick up with the latest developments in the lives of Bertie & co. Antonia's life takes a new direction after her attack of Stendhal syndrome, Matthew and Elspeth get to grips with family life, Angus and Domenica grapple with their new dometic arrangements and Pat and Lou are both off in search of love! Finally Bertie seems to be making a break through in his long suffering trials with his awful domineering mother! Oh and a good bit of comeuppance for Bruce is thrown in too! The only problem I have with these books is that they make me greedy for more, so I must be patient and wait for the AMS next book to come out! I can't thank Alexander McCall Smith enough for writing such wonderful books, I may need a new book case shortly however...
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jill Besterman on 19 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Scotland Street stories are by far my favourite McCall Smith books. I must be Bertie's no 1 fan (or certainly in the top 10). My problem is that I really enjoy the audiobook versions, read by the fantastic David Rintoul. They are perfect for short shopping trips in the car, the stories being told in relatively short segments. Just be careful that you don't get stopped at traffic lights as you giggle helplessly! Being born and brought up in Edinburgh definitely helps but is NOT essential. I look forward hopefully to the next episode about Bertie, Big Lou, Angus and Domenica, Matthew and Elspeth, Pat and the awful Bruce ( and hope that Bertie's father gets rewarded for putting up with his dreadful wife!)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Caley on 29 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've just read 'The Importance of Being Seven' and 'Bertie Plays The Blues' back to back and, for the most part, thoroughly enjoyed my trip back to Scotland Street and its environs (plus Italy). But whereas I had no hesitation in awarding the previous book 5 stars, this one just didn't quite do it for me.

Let me first deal with the positives - of which there are many. As with the rest of the series, we dive straight into the ongoing story with no unnecessary preamble. Around six months have passed, and - without giving away too much of the plot(s) - births are imminent, wedding plans are in hand, and Bertie is still yearning to escape the clutches of his mother. The character development, the plots, the humour and the philosophical asides are all what we have come to expect from a master story-teller.

So why the dissatisfaction? One word: continuity. Now I must confess that I am one of those annoying people who, when watching a tv show, will always spot when a character is seen getting into a blue car, but then climbing out of a red car. Yes, these things happen and some suspension of disbelief is always required when watching or reading fiction. Artistic licence and all that. But consistency of plot and back-story is always crucial to any soap opera, literary saga, or whatever. So it is a bit disconcerting to find that Bertie, after spending all the last book wishing he was 7, still appears to be 6. Perhaps we can accept this as part of the author's charm and whimsy, but later we have Bertie reminiscing on his adventures and travels, which include Glasgow but not Paris! How could Bertie forget that episode? Or has AMS forgotten it?

Skip this paragraph if you wish to avoid spoilers. The above appears halfway through the book.
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