Monday, October 17, 2011
The novel tells the story of Pat, a student during her second gap year and a source of some worry to her parents, who is accepted as a new tenant at 44 Scotland Street in Edinburgh's New Town and her various roommates and neighbours.
She falls in love with her narcissistic flatmate Bruce, meets the intriguing and opinionated anthropologist Domenica MacDonald and her friend Angus, and works at an art gallery for Matthew, who was given the gallery as a sinecure position by his wealthy father. While working at the gallery Pat points out to Matthew (who knows almost nothing about art) that one of their paintings looks as if it could be a work of Samuel Peploe.
After the gallery is broken into Matthew asks Pat to store the painting at their flat until they can check whether it's a genuine Peploe, however Bruce gives the painting to a raffle run by the South Edinburgh Conservative Association. Matthew and Pat eventually track it down to the novelist Ian Rankin who gives it back to them.
The other major storyline is that of five-year-old Bertie, who is controlled by his pretentious and intellectual mother Irene - he has Grade Six on the saxophone, speaks fluent Italian, and is extremely knowledgeable about various subjects.
After he is expelled from his nursery school Irene sends him to psychotherapy with Dr Fairbairn, who constantly misinterprets Bertie's simple wish to be a normal five-year-old boy on Oedipal and Freudian lines.
Oh I do love a book that comes as a series! I figure if it is good enough to be followed by more books with the same characters or along the same lines, it is worth a look! And...I tend to miss characters when I finish a great book so it's nice to know the story continues. The first McCall book I read was one of his Sunday Philosophy club stories and didn't make the connection with The No1 Ladies Detective Agency which was such a big hit a few years ago.
I read the first book a few years ago but now that I have the whole series on my e-reader I thought I would start again. I am looking forward to bedtime each night as I get to get back to the story!
As a fan of Armistead Maupin (another newspaper serial writer I wrote about here) it is easy for me to love the 44 Scotland Street books. They flow nicely, always have interesting characters and a little mystery to keep the reader interested. They are easy to read and dont leave me depressed at all!
Have a fabulous day!