Are you familiar with Alexander McCall Smith? He is a highly prodigious author. While probably better known for his series “The No. 1 Ladies Detection Series”, he has several book series.
Truth be told, I am not a fan of the No. 1 Ladies Detection Series. I started the first one several times but I just could not stick with it. I know they are wildly popular and there are 15 books in the series so far but for some reason I just didn’t like them.
I am a fan of two of his other series. The Sunday Philosophy series featuring Isabel Dalhousie as the main character are entertaining. They are mysteries but they are much heavier in character and place development than on the mystery. There are nine books in the series.
The other series is the series that brought me to Alexander McCall Smith. And almost lost me. I heard about the 44 Scotland Street Series and decided that I wanted to read them. The first book, 44 Scotland Street, was originally written as an episodic novel that appeared in The Scotsman starting in January of 2004 and ran for six months. The book introduced the reader to the fictitious inhabitants of 44 Scotland Street in Edinburgh. As in any situation, there are characters to love and some to find despicable. The book is often compared to Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.
I enjoyed the first book and then continued to read the series. Unfortunately, somewhere in the series I became disenchanted. I think that the characters that I didn’t like grew in the spotlight and I just felt that my time with the books was over.
Recently, I was going through my library’s eBook catalog and found a newer book in the series that I had not read. I decided that I would try again to see if perhaps I could find the series back to the way I liked it. So, with some question in my mind, I started Sunshine on Scotland Street.
I was pleased to find that the whole cast complete with their idiosyncrasies was back. Two of the characters marry at the beginning, another who’s life seems to be a series of just missed chances continues to be that way, the vain character finds that he has what could turn out to be a twin, and the young lad with the mother who has subscriptions rather than issues avoids his mother’s latest attempt to embarrass him at school.
While there may be points that you would find in common with people you know, each character is slightly exaggerated so as to make the goings on a bit more convoluted and humorous. Unfortunately, it can go a bit too far sometimes and I think that is why he lost me for a few books.
If you have not had a chance to read 44 Scotland Street, I would recommend it. The next book in the series, Expresso Tales was also very good. In the first few books the characters are fun and there are plenty of them to meet.
Here is a delightful interview with Alexander McCall Smith – They even start on Scotland Street!
Thanks for reading!