Clever, elegant and funny
The story revolves around the comings and goings at No. 44 Scotland Street, a fictitious building in a real street in Edinburgh. Immediately recognisable are the Edinburgh chartered surveyor, stalwart of the Conservative Association, who dreams of membership of Scotland’s most exclusive golf club.
We have the pushy Stockbridge mother, and her prodigiously talented five-year-old son, who is making good progress with the saxophone and with his Italian. Then there is Domenica Macdonald who is that type of Edinburgh lady who sees herself as a citizen of a broader intellectual world. In McCall Smith’s hands such characters retain charm and novelty, simultaneously arousing both mirth and empathy.
44 Scotland Street is vintage McCall Smith, tackling issues of trust and honesty, snobbery and hypocrisy, love and loss, but all with great lightness of touch. This is a novel that provides huge entertainment but which is underpinned by the moral dilemmas of everyday life and the characters’ struggles to resolve them.
Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world’s most prolific and most popular authors.
His career has been a varied one: for many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the United Kingdom and abroad. Then, after the publication of his highly successful No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which has sold over twenty million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty languages and become bestsellers through the world.
The series include the Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in The Scotsman, the Sunday Philosophy Club series starring Isabel Dalhousie, the von Igelfeld series, and the new Corduroy Mansions novels.
Alexander is also the author of collections of short stories, academic works, and over thirty books for children. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the British Book Awards Author of the Year Award in 2004 and a CBE for service to literature in 2007. He holds honorary doctorates from nine universities in Europe and North America.
Alexander McCall Smith lives in Edinburgh. He is married to a doctor and has two daughters.