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on 26 May 2017
I love the Scotland Street series, but I felt this was the weakest of them all. That's not to say I didn't enjoy the book as whole, I did, I just found the situation with Bruce and his doppelganger implausible and rather tedious, and I didn't really get the point of Matthew and the Danish documentary maker. It felt like AMS had rather run out of ideas, and wasn't really sure where the story was going.
That said, the series remains one of best things I have read in many years, and my gripes didn't stop me from enjoying it.
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on 12 May 2017
Excellent continuation of classic series. thanks.
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on 21 July 2013
enjoyed reading this book - glad to read more of Bertie's life but I think he should be allowed to reach 7 soon ! Not so sure about Bruce's escapade he really isn't my favourite character. The Scotland Street books are my favourite McCall Smith series.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 August 2012
I've read all the books in this series and have really enjoyed meeting again this diverse band of Edinburgh folk. I'm pleased to say that in this further installment McCall Smith has managed to maintain his high standard of story-telling weaving the different lives together in a series of short chapters often ending a gentle cliff-hanger keeping one eager to read on. I suspect that those of us who know Edinburgh and recognize some of the real people and shops incorporated into the fictional account get added enjoyment.

The book opens with preparations for Angus and Domenica's wedding causing anxiety for Mathew as best man. As usual the troubles are resolved and the reader is left content that all is well. Little Bertie remains aged 6 years old hoping to be seven as the other characters move on in real time. His perceptions of the world and his hopes to be free of his domineering mother remain one of the engaging themes of the series. His mother, Irene, continues to provide an amusing source of satire over her obession with psycho-analysis and her strident feminism endured stoically by her husband Stuart. Bruce, the narcissistic surveyor is back in Edinburgh and gets involved entertaining adventure with a new neighbour.

The charm of these books is that they are an escape from the real world of debt, troubled relationships and the sheer grind of surviving that many people endure and take the reader into the world of privileged Edinburgh society with their little ups and downs of life. Along the way the author amuses, informs and subtly makes one think about philosophical issues in a natural manner.
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on 26 August 2012
Alexander McCall Smith writes again. This novel is full of beautifully drawn characters who have a life of their own. One can see them and hear the way they speak. They are so real that, for example, one's blood pressure rises on reading about Irene's treatment of that poor little boy, Bertie. One feels as if the characters were old friends whom One would recognise in the street. This is a relaxed and dreamy book, with a few surprises on the way to a believable but not quite tidy ending. I thoroughly enjoyed this latest and was quite cross when I had finished it. Another, please, and quickly.
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on 17 November 2015
Unfortunately it did not state in the sales description that it was an MP3 CD and although I do have one new cd player which can play it, I need to listen to it in bed and be able to turn it on and off easily - in fact using the Sony CD player I have just rated ,and that won't play it.
So I have had to painstakingly copy it on to 6 cassettes from my new cd player (which took me a long time - 9 hours playing and I had to be around!) so I can listen on my old Sony Walkman.
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on 7 March 2015
I was disappointed with the condition of this book and felt it was of a lower standard than described. It bore tea or coffee stains on the front and on the spine . Also very obvious signs of wear. Is should have had a more accurate description of the condition.
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This series is a great favorite of mine and I look forward to every new book; but somehow this episode seemed to be more like treading of water than moving the storyline and its great group of characters forward. There are some funny moments for sure; and the usual cast is all on board, with much of the action in "Sunshine..." focusing on the estimable canine, Cyril. That paragon of loyalty and stoicism finds himself afloat in Edinburgh as his master Angus Lordie and his new bride Domenica are out of the country on their honeymoon. Also included are Bertie Pollock and his mismatched parents; Matthew and Elspeth well-matched parents of triplets; Big Lou, still looking for an appropriate SO; Pat MacGregor, filling in at the coffeebar; and Bruce Anderson, feckless as ever, but in cahoots with his gay doppelganger.

So what's missing? Hard to say exactly, but for me, the story lacked the forward movement already mentioned, but also a certain characteristic edginess and bite in its humor. This has been supplied in the past by the Pollock family, but those dynamics didn't raise much dust this time around. Beyond that, the usually funny musings of the cast of characters about the meaning of life, etc. just weren't as interesting. And also in this general context, the disagreeable Bruce who often serves as a badly behaving straw man in line for comeuppance, gets involved in a just plain weird situation that doesn't make a lot of sense.

I might have read this at an off personal moment, and I'm certainly not giving up on the series. Just saying.
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on 14 July 2014
I haven't received this
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This delightful book takes the development of the Scotland Street characters further along the road. Written with Alexander McCall Smith's astute observations of life and personal relationships, the book is a feast of wit, humour and entertainment narrated with snappy dialogue and flowing prose. Domenica and Angus are about to be married. Angus's best man Matthew is horrified at how disorganised Angus is. He has a large hole in his Campbell tartan kilt, has forgotten to buy a wedding ring and has not booked the surprise honeymoon he promised his bride to be.
Domenica's bridesmaid is Big Lou desperately trying to make her presentable. They discuss aging and its effects quite openly. "Two auld hens together", says Big Lou. Fortunately, Matthew and Big Lou somehow get their acts together in time. Big Lou is still looking for love (or a man!),having been disappointed with her lot over the years. She is a rough diamond and continues to speak her mind in or out of her cafe and has a few surprises awaiting her.

Irene remains insufferable with her restrictive forthright opinions and obsession with Melanie Klein and yoga. Stuart is shackled by this and the children, mortgage and insurance payments. Ulysses continues to scream or be sick whenever Irene picks him up.Brother Bertie, still stuck on the age of 6 is captivating and lovable. His innocence and freshness enable him to ask direct questions to all and sundry without fear of embarrassment including making comments regarding Ulysses's resemblance to his previous psychotherapist, (making Stuart think!). He is still having psychotherapy, loves the cubs (paramilitary-Irene),fishing (cruel), rugby (barbaric) and dogs (dirty). He yearns for the freedom his schoolmates have and still hates being made to learn Italian.

Matthew remains serious and vulnerable, perhaps searching for a missing part of life. Solid, and supported by Elspeth ever busy with the triplets aided by Danish au pair Anna. Bruce returns to Edinburgh with his narcissism admiring his perfection in any reflective surface. "Adonis", he says. He meets his match, literally, with new neighbour Jonathan that has dramatic effects on both their futures.

Angus's dog, Cyril, is a star. He runs throughout the story. Devoted to Angus, loved by everyone (except Irene, of course), he is looked after by Bertie while Angus is away but becomes withdrawn. Irene takes him for dog psychotherapy much to Bertie's disgust. Cyril then passes contentedly through several foster homes with comical incidents doing what dogs do best eating,sleeping,walking,salivating at the thought of biting ankles (Irene's and Matthew's especially) and not averse to animal indiscretions.

The author maintains the high standards and expectations of this series. He is not averse to slipping in passages of gentle satire, philosophy or ethics. They add to this highly entertaining book full of sparkling fun and humour. Highly recommended escapist fiction.
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