The 44 Scotland Street Series

44 Scotland Street: The First Five Novels

44 Scotland Street; Espresso Tales; Love Over Scotland; The World According to Bertie; The Unbearable Lightness of Scones

Publisher: Knopf Canada
One of Alexander McCall Smith’s bestselling series and the funniest, 44 Scotland Street is the world's longest-running serialized novel and continues to be published weekly in The Scotsman newspaper for three months of each year.

The 44 Scotland Street series is truly heart-warming, terribly funny and filled with the day-to-day lives of the residents of 44 Scotland Street, a converted Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh. The first five novels chronicle the episodes that begin when 20-year-old Pat rents a room from handsome and cocky Bruce, and inherits some delightfully colourful neighbours: Domenica, an insightful and eccentric widow; Bertie, a 5-year-old who’s mastered both saxophone and Italian; and Irene, his overbearing mother. Pat has a new job at an art gallery, where her contemplative boss, Matthew, spends most of his time drinking coffee in a local café and discussing matters great and small, with barista Big Lou, wise and lovelorn. Pat’s duties are light, until she realizes that one of their paintings may be an undiscovered work of a renowned Scottish artist and she discovers that one of their customers may be in on the secret. Add to this a fancy ball, love triangles, an encounter with a famous crime writer, the dog-napping of painter Angus Lordie’s gold-toothed dog with a heart of gold, Cyril, and McCall Smith’s observations on a wide range of issues, including the merits of various forms of olive oil, the domestic economy of contemporary pirate households and our human search for happiness, and you have an incredibly entertaining and nuanced portrait of Edinburgh society.

In the first five novels—44 Scotland Street, Espresso Tales, Love Over Scotland, The World According to Bertie and The Unbearable Lightness of Scones—full of gently satirical humour and sympathy for his characters, McCall Smith offers an affectionate portrait of a city and its people who, in his own words, “make Edinburgh one of the most vibrant and interesting places in the world.”

PRAISE FOR

PRAISE FOR THE 44 SCOTLAND STREET SERIES:

“Perfect escapist fiction.” —The Times
 
“Simple, elegantly written and gently insightful.” —Good Book Guide
 
“Alexander McCall Smith once again proves himself a wry but gentle chronicler of humanity and its foibles. . . . A welcome addition to the McCall Smith repertoire” —The Miami Herald
 
“McCall Smith’s assessments of fellow humans are piercing and profound. . . . [His] depictions of Edinburgh are vivid and seamless.” —San Francisco Chronicle
 
“[McCall Smith] is a pro, and he delivers sharp observation, gentle satire . . . as well as the expected romantic complications. . . . [Readers will] relish McCall Smith’s depiction of this place . . . and enjoy his tolerant, good-humored company.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Just about perfect. . . . There’s a great deal here to enjoy. . . . Easy to dip into . . . and containing a healthy helping of McCall Smith’s patented charm.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
 
“A joyous, charming portrait of city life and human foibles, which moves beyond its setting to deal with deep moral issues and love, desire and friendship. Without resorting to clichéd cliffhangers, McCall Smith has mastered the short, episodic chapter.” —Sunday Express 

“Their creator blends the poignant with the profound, liberally seasoning everything with his trademark gentle, but hilarious wit. Bourgeois Edinburgh is brilliantly and minutely observed through the daily lives of his engaging characters.” —Good Book Guide
 
“Perceptive and amiable. Somebody should do the same for Melbourne.” —The Melbourne Age
 
“A delight.” —Literary Review
 
“Other novelists can only eye with envy McCall Smith’s apparently inexhaustible ability to conjure up characters and incidents, devise conversations, and mix comedy with moral reflections on the way we live now and how we should behave.” —The Scotsman 


PRAISE FOR ALEXANDER McCALL SMITH: 

“McCall Smith’s accomplished novels [are] dependent on small gestures redolent with meaning and main characters blessed with pleasing personalities.” —Newsday

“McCall Smith is prolific and he’s habit-forming. He’s the crystal meth of popular fiction.” —The Globe and Mail

“Alexander McCall Smith is an excellent, old-fashioned storyteller.” —The Gazette

“Scotland’s one-man novel factory. . . . Smith’s writing has tons of charm and kindly wisdom.” The Times

“McCall Smith’s talent for dialogue is matched only by his gift for characterization.” —Chicago Tribune
 
“McCall Smith makes the sublime look easy. . . . [He] has few peers in capturing the quiet moments of people’s lives.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“McCall Smith’s characters are well-drawn and alive. . . . A writer . . . who charms many readers.” —Providence Journal
 
“A prolific, popular and wonderfully peculiar writer.” —The Independent

“McCall Smith is a wonderful storyteller, and his stories are characteristically filled with humour and an innate, affectionate disposition towards the human race.” —The Sydney Morning Herald

“A vivid observer and an elegant writer.” —The Plain Dealer