Here is a summary of 44 Scotland Street from Alexander McCall Smith's website:
Welcome to 44 Scotland Street, home to some of Edinburgh's most colorful characters. There's Pat, a twenty-year-old who has recently moved into a flat with Bruce, an athletic young man with a keen awareness of his own appearance. Their neighbor, Domenica, is an eccentric and insightful widow. In the flat below are Irene and her appealing son Bertie, who is the victim of his mother’s desire for him to learn the saxophone and italian–all at the tender age of five.
Love triangles, a lost painting, intriguing new friends, and an encounter with a famous Scottish crime writer are just a few of the ingredients that add to this delightful and witty portrait of Edinburgh society, which was first published as a serial in The Scotsman newspaper.
I had a feeling that I would enjoy listening to one of Alexander McCall Smith's books on audio, and I was right! This was such a delightful book to listen to that even had me laughing at loud during certain parts and other segments had me sympathizing with their misfortunes. We are introduced to a very interesting and colorful cast of characters in this book. Pat is a very shy gal who finds herself moving into a flat at 44 Scotland Street with an arrogant roommate, Bruce. Also residing in the complex is the eccentric widow Domenica, and the child prodigy Bertie with his parents.
Pat happens to be employed by an art gallery that is owned by Matthew. Although Pat is usually very soft spoken, when a specific painting comes into the gallery Pat recognizes it as possibly being a valuable work of art. She mentions this to Matthew and this painting sets the tone for the novel.
Back at 44 Scotland Street Pat finds herself increasingly growing fond of her roommate Bruce. Since Bruce made a rule for himself never to become romantically involved with his flatmates, he seeks affection from another woman's arms. Pat's emotions are in turmoil from Bruce's actions and she doesn't understand how she could possibly fall in love with a man that considers himself 'God's gift to women'. By the end of the story she finally sees Bruce's true colors and I think her romantic intentions are headed in a direction where she will find a welcoming mate.
Matthew decides that the painting may be too valuable to keep in the gallery so he asks Pat to take it to her flat for safekeeping, where no one would expect it to be. When Pat goes to retrieve the painting from where she has it hidden in the flat, she is shocked to find that it is gone! As they track where the painting could possibly be we are introduced to a few new and interesting characters. We are taken on a journey through Edinburgh that brings us to second-hand shops, underground tunnels, homes of well-known authors, and even gives us a glimpse of a secret society that many thought had dissolved years ago.
This was such an enjoyable audiobook and I will probably listen to the rest of this series sometime in the future. I can tell that this series is probably a bit more spicy than The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, but I find that fun and risque. After listening to this book I know the next time I see a man in a kilt I will be wondering if he is actually wearing underpants! You will have to read this one yourself to know what that means.
My Rating 4/5