44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

Cover 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

Tales of the city in Edinburgh.

In a nutshell:

Short synopsis:

Short instalments about the life of the inhabitants of a house in Edinburgh and the people they meet.

Language I read the book in: English

Did I like it? Yes, absolutely.

For people who:  love a cozy atmosphere, great locations, interesting people, short chapters that leave you wanting more.


My thoughts: 

I want to move to Edinburgh. Not because it is a lovely place (it is, but that is not the reason), but because I want to be able to enjoy Alexander McCall Smith’s books set in Edinburgh more than I already do. If you live there I am sure the reading experience will be exceptional. The way he moves his characters around, through streets, around quarters and inside shops is so enjoyable, even if you have no idea about the places; it must be absolute bliss to be able to picture the real locations that you know from experience while reading his stories.

When I started reading I wasn’t aware that this was previously published as a serialised novel in a newspaper, but I was pleasantly surprised. The chapters are very short, but always with an ending that made you want to read on. If I had read that in the paper I would have waited eagerly every morning for the new instalment.

Pat moves into a room in a flat at 44 Scotland Street. From now on we follow her life and that of her flatmate Bruce, an extraordinarily vain surveyor, of their neighbours Domenica (I want her to live next door to me), Irene, an extraordinarily pushy mother, and her son Bertie and of the people they know. As this series has the same setting as the Isabel Dalhousie books I almost expected her or Jamie to come around the corner any minute, but unfortunately this did not happen. I could have imagined Isabel turning up at the lecture at the Portrait Gallery, for example.

The whole book is a delight to read. The little incidents and goings on are sometimes common, sometimes annoying, sometimes completely absurd, sometimes exciting even, but never to the point where your heart rate starts to go up.

One of my many favourite passages:

“Why did you set fire to Daddy’s copy of The Guardian, Bertie? Did you do that because guardian is another word for parent? Was The Guardian your Daddy because Daddy is your guardian?”
Bertie thought for a moment. Dr Fairbairn was clearly mad, but he would have to keep talking to him; otherwise the psychotherapist might suddenly kill both him and his mother.
”No,” he said. “I like Daddy. I don’t want to set fire to Daddy.”
”And do you like The Guardian?” pressed Dr Fairbairn.
”No,” said Bertie. “I don’t like The Guardian."       
“Why?” asked Dr Fairbairn.
“Because it’s always telling you what you should think,” said Bertie. “Just like Mummy.”

I am glad I have the next book in the series already sitting on my shelves.


Product info and buy link :

Title 44 Scotland Street
Author Alexander McCall Smith
Publisher Random House
ISBN 9781400079445
I got this book from I bought it
Buy link Buy 44 Scotland Street

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

3 Comments Write a comment

  1. I also want to move to Edinbugh every time I read a novel by Kate Atkinson.

    Regarding your book, can you believe I never ready anything by Alexander McCall Smith? It’s incredible! If I’m not mixing him up with another Scottish writer, I think he has some cozy mysteries (about a club, maybe?). I should definitely check him.

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  2. He has the Mme. Ramotswe mysteries set in Africa (which I don’t like) and some other series going. You might think of the Sunday Philosophy Club books which are classified as mysteries but they are not really (I reviewed a number of them).

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  3. I thought it was just one of my idiosyncrasies–the whole wanting to live where certain books are set! Every time I re-read a Bill Bryson book, I have the urge to move to wherever he’s traveling. I have yet to get to Edinburgh, but it’s on my list. I’m a sucker for accents–Irish, English, and Scottish are some favorites–and it makes traveling to those countries that much more enjoyable. It should be noted that I’m from New Jersey and the accents around here strong and generally unpleasant (caw-fee, New Yawk, etc.). 🙂
    Natalie from Book Line and Sinker’s last post ..Danke schön: Belated Thanks

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