Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I just finished 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith.

Originally a daily serial in The Scotsman, this collects them all into a single novel with short chapters. The chapters hold together well enough that I don't think most people would even realize it was a serial if they weren't told beforehand.

I've read the first books in two of his other series, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and The Sunday Philosopher's Club, but this is my favourite of his works so far. Like the Ladies Detective Agency books, it is a slice of life novel, but without mysteries attached. It follows an interlocking group of characters in Edinburgh through a couple of weeks/months of their lives. It's well written and interesting, in a low key kind of way, similar to the books of Maeve Binchy.

The only thing that was a little off putting is that it has the wandering point of view problem that I noticed in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, where the text will be following one character, inside their head, and then abruptly switch to another character's thoughts/feelings to get their reaction. But this is a minor quibble in an otherwise very enjoyable book.

This was an excellent recommendation from a friend.


Megan said...

I'm glad you liked it. I've ordered the first Corduroy Mansions book but it hasn't arrived yet. I'll let you know how it is. Did I tell you I hear Alexander McCall Smith speak at the National Library on Monday?

Ian said...


I didn't like the 2nd one quite as much, but I'm proceeding on to the third one anyways.