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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master Returns
Bertie is back, with all the usual crowd and a pawbiting Cyril the gold toothed canine anti-hero plot to boot.
Sandy McCall Smith although best known for his 1st Ladies Dective Agency series, always hits the spot with 44 Scotland Street.
If you live in Edinburgh, you will recognise many of the places and probably some of the characters.
For those who don't...
Published on 3 Aug 2007 by Mr. Alan J. Milton

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars McCall Smith back on top form
Well, it seems hard to believe but already we're on to the fourth in this series. I can hardly manage to read McCall Smith's various series as quickly as he can write them. I was disappointed with the previous one in this series "Love over Scotland Street" but he is definitely back on form with this latest installment. He's made a wise decision in bringing back Bruce...
Published on 6 July 2009 by The story fiend


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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master Returns, 3 Aug 2007
By 
Mr. Alan J. Milton (Meppershall Beds UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Bertie is back, with all the usual crowd and a pawbiting Cyril the gold toothed canine anti-hero plot to boot.
Sandy McCall Smith although best known for his 1st Ladies Dective Agency series, always hits the spot with 44 Scotland Street.
If you live in Edinburgh, you will recognise many of the places and probably some of the characters.
For those who don't know is that the books are first serialised in the "Scotsman Newspaper" similar to Dickens and The Times and then collated into an exellent volumes, amply illustrated by Iain McIntosh.
Roll on the next volume,if you have not read any of the earlier volumes go and buy them, pull up a comfy chair, some single malt and lose yourself to some quality plots,then when you have read them, go out and buy the Isobel Dalhousie trilogy, you will thank me for telling you
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an absolute delight, 10 Sep 2007
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The 44 Scotland Street series is just perfection..somehow the books manage to be very funny and insightful, as well as quite calming. This latest installment does not disappointment, and quite rightly the focus is now on Bertie, who is still being smothered by his awful mother. If you haven't read them yet, go and get the first one, and work your way through - the books are wonderful.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun!, 18 Feb 2008
By 
Stromata (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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Another delightful volume of sketches from the lives of the inhabitants, past and present, of 44 Scotland Street, Edinburgh. The stories have a fair dash of local colour which is understandable given that the chapters were serialised in the Scotsman, but that should not put-off readers from Kidderminster or Kathmandu as the characters and storylines are pretty universal. All the usual suspects are here - indecisive Matthew; outrageous Angus; put-upon Big Lou; bullying Bruce; poor six year old Bertie, whose every waking minute is organised by his overbearing mother - and more.

Great story-telling - very amusing, occasionally acerbic but never unkind. A good, uplifting read. How does he do it?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than any soap opera!, 14 July 2008
By 
A. Nicholson (Lancashire UK) - See all my reviews
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This is the first book I have read of the series, and I found it did not matter that I had not read the others (although it has left me very eager to do so!) It is easy to be drawn into the lives of the characters who are thoroughly believable and far more entertaining than any soap opera!Some of the remarks little Bertie comes out with are absolutely priceless and made me laugh out loud!!
You will enjoy this wherever you come from, but if you have ever lived in or known Edinburgh well (I grew up there) this is a delightful bonus and makes it all the more entertaining and amusing, it captures the 'essence' of Edinburgh life superbly well,and in a gently amusing way.
I would highly recommend this book for its' ability to portray characters and its' pure entertainment value, we all need a bit of light relief these days, and this book certainly gives us that!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return of old friends, 24 Jun 2008
By 
Jane Watson (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This is like coming home to old friends and listening to their tales of what they have been doing for the last few months. I am biased of course as I live in Edinburgh and know that area extremely well, so a lot of the fun is picking out the places the characters go to and imagining them walking up and down the streets of Edinburgh. Alexander McCall Smith writes in a fairly ponderous, careful way, but he draws the characters so delightfully that you really feel about them and what they go through. All the old characters are there, Pat, Matthew, Big Lou, Bertie and his dreadful mum, Angus and Domenica - along with all their problems and joys. The book is completely charming and thoughtful in turn, with flashes of humour and fun showing through as well. The only bit that didn't quite satisfy me was the bit about Bertie's little brother, Ulysses, when he gets left behind at Valvona and Crolla and the family go to pick him up at council agency. Although I'm sure the agency probably does exist, I can't really see that they would just hand over a baby without checking extremely carefully that it was exactly the right baby and right sex!

But all in all, this is a delightful read - I think this is my most favourite series of books by Alexander McCall Smith - and hopefully he will keep on with this series!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Reading!, 2 Feb 2009
Alexander McCall Smith is a wonderful writer and this book is a further instalment in his 44 Scotland Street series, and every bit as interesting as the previous instalments. The characters' lives are as amusing as ever and the book will keep you spellbound from beginning to end. I can't wait for more!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perpetually Six, Bertie Shows More Maturity Than the Adults, 23 Nov 2008
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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Please, if you haven't read any of the novels in the 44 Scotland Street series, you should immediately go order and read 44 Scotland Street and then move on to Espresso Tales and Love Over Scotland before reading The World According to Bertie. Before making that decision, let me explain a little about the series. It began as a serial novel in The Scotsman newspaper. As a result, the writing is broken up into little vignettes that are loosely tied to each other by the relations the characters have with each other.

There's no doubt about it, Bertie Pollock makes this series work. He is the young (perpetually six so far), and blameless, example of what we all aspire to be . . . honest, fair, serious, humble, and considerate. Bertie has a problem (and we have a source of humor) in Bertie's mum, Irene, who wishes to make Bertie into a PC version of what a 21st century boy should be . . . despite Bertie's preferences and instincts to the contrary. As a result, Bertie's bedroom is painted pink, his mother encourages him to play with girls rather than boys, he takes Italian, saxophone, and yoga lessons, and he sees a psychotherapist. Irene also organizes his life . . . over much.

In this book, Irene decides that she wants to encourage Bertie to play with Olive, his nemesis at school. The consequences reverberate throughout the book.

In addition, Bertie's little brother, Ulysses, is someone Irene wants Bertie to have a close relationships with. Bertie finds an unexpected surprise while changing Ulysses' diapers that reveal fundamental flaws in his parents.

Bertie also has questions about the birds and the bees . . . but not the ones you expect.

Another major theme in the book is the genuine concern that the painter Angus Lordie has for his dog, Cyril, who faces legal proceedings for biting. You'll notice that no one in the novel cares for another human being nearly as much.

Big Lou's boyfriend is tied up in a Jacobite group and is devoted to Bonnie Prince Charlie.

After flaming out in London, Bruce is back and quickly puts the touch on an adoring young woman. Pat notices him . . . and finds she still feels excited.

Domenica is finding it very annoying to have her friend Antonia living across the hall. Antonia learns to communicate with her Polish builder in ways she hadn't expected.

Matthew still drinks a lot of coffee and feels like he needs to make changes in his romantic life. He also develops a bit of whimsy when it comes to modern art.

For me, the parts where neither Bertie nor Angus were present didn't work nearly as well. Without a lot of those two, this would have been a four-star book. The humor was aimed in more directions than usual . . . and touched on some very sensitive (and thus, very funny) topics that I didn't expect to find in the book. Two of the scenes involving Irene are ones that I'll laugh about for the rest of my life.

Enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly addictive, 17 July 2009
By 
Mr. Luke D. Fitzgerald (Norwich, England) - See all my reviews
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The whole series is a joy and delight. Reading a single one of these books is like eating one peanut. I'd actually bought numbers 1, 2, 3, and 5 in a high-street bookshop, and realised as I read #3 that I didn't have this one. I managed to resist opening #5 until Amazon, very speedily, brought me #4; but it was a bit of a struggle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars McCall Smith back on top form, 6 July 2009
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Well, it seems hard to believe but already we're on to the fourth in this series. I can hardly manage to read McCall Smith's various series as quickly as he can write them. I was disappointed with the previous one in this series "Love over Scotland Street" but he is definitely back on form with this latest installment. He's made a wise decision in bringing back Bruce who is a completely odious character but makes compulsive reading even if it's only to see if he will finally get his comeuppance. And of course Bertie is, as always, highly entertaining.

I think this one works much better than his last book in the series as there is a definite feeling that the characters lives move on significantly. I love how McCall Smith manages to use his everyday situations to satirize Edinburgh's good and great... all the while with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.

My one gripe would be that he does dedicate quite a few dull chapters to Bonnie Prince Charlie and secret Edinburgh societies. It feels like these were topics that the author was personally interested in rather than the characters and the dialogue here is pretty stilted because there is just TOO much info. For me the book would have been a 4 out of 5 without these few self-indulgent chapters. As it is, it's a well-deserved 3.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 13 July 2014
lovely read, prompt delivery.
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