Would I find all these friends if I could go to Edinburgh? Perhaps not, so it is better to stay here and read about them. I would like to hug Bertie, to pinch Olive, to chat with so many of the adults, but to avoid Irene and the dreadful nun...
I have read and enjoyed every book in this series, I admit to having formed romantic ideals about Edinburgh. As a result - if I ever was to visit the real Scotland Street (minus the fictional 44), then I would be gutted not to bump into my friends - Big Lou and young Bertie. Because they are my friends., the characters have been created and continued so consistently I feel like I know them. In this book, I was delighted to read Angus and Dominica's everyday situations, such as losing the right to carry a large bag about in private because they are married. My heart melted to find out about Bertie and Ranald's wish for a pet puppy - and laughed out loud at young Bertie's observation that 'no matter what you did, girls would get you'. All rounded together nicely by a happy ending for Pat, Lou and Elspeth, and a satirist's view of local authority call centres and shoe choices in social situations and saying 'dinner rather than tea'. A book - a series that restores faith in human nature.
I think I've read close to fifty McCall Smith books. Though I started on First Ladies the 44 Scotland Street series has become my favourite. I am in awe at how much quality writing he produces. His books are very middle class and not that demanding, but they are so comforting in these troubled times.
I have not read the whole book yet. But I have read all the others in this series and indeed most of the author's work. If you know and love Edinburgh this is a treat. I saw him recently at the book festival and as usual his love of life and especially his infectious giggle were an absolute delight. Highly recommend this author.
The latest book in the Scotland Street series - excellent! So many relationships/situations resolved satisfactorily, However, as one of your other reviewers said, Olive needs sorting out! Look forward to the next book.