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Nick Petrie Series

44 Scotland Street Books In Order

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Publication Order of 44 Scotland Street Books

44 Scotland Street (2005)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Espresso Tales (2005)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Love Over Scotland (2006)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The World According to Bertie (2007)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Unbearable Lightness Of Scones (2008)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Importance of Being Seven (2010)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bertie Plays the Blues (2011)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sunshine on Scotland Street (2012)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers (2013)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Revolving Door of Life (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Bertie Project (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Time of Love and Tartan (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Peppermint Tea Chronicles (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Promise of Ankles (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Love in the Time of Bertie (2021)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The 44 Scotland Street serial novel follows the lives, affections, shortfalls and laments of a group of residents of 44 Scotland Street, a fictitious building on a real street in Edinburgh. With its numerous occupancy flats, 44 Scotland Street is a corner of Edinburgh’s New Town that arouses lots of interest – a mix of Bohemians, aging haute bourgeoisie, students, and vibrant members of the intelligentsia.

It is a street with its own share of peculiarities and failures. The old haute bourgeoisie finds itself enmeshed with students, poets and portraitists.

The city of Edinburgh vividly comes to life in this gently satirical and humorous serial novel featuring the adventures of Bertie, a child prodigy and remarkably over-psychoanalyzed five-year-old; Cyril the dog, with a penchant for ankles; and the stylish painter, Angus Lordie.

This story was first published as a serial in the Scotsman Newspaper, and 44 Scotland Street was the first book in the series that adopted the same title. In this first book, McCall Smith sketches his characters with charm and uniqueness, provoking both amusement and empathy.

The novel unfolds the story of Pat, a likeable but mere twenty-year-old whose life choices are sometimes concerning to her parents. She takes her second-year gap from school to work in an art gallery run by Matthew.

Pat is accepted as a tenant at 44 Scotland Street, where she meets her fellow residents: Bruce, a narcissistic surveyor with whom she somewhat reluctantly falls in love; Domenica MacDonald, an opinionated but fascinating middle-aged widow who is an anthropologist; and Angus, a portrait painter and owner of Cyril, the dog with a fetish for ankles.

While Pat works at Matthew’s gallery, she points out that one of the paintings appears to be the work of Samuel Peploe. It is interesting that Matthew, the owner of the art gallery, has almost no knowledge of art. He is not much of a businessman, either, and his bills are paid by his father, who gave him the art gallery.

The gallery is broken into and Matthew decides to ask Pat to keep the painting at her flat until they are sure it is a genuine Peploe. Matthew is clearly attracted to Pat and would like to date her, but Pat does not reciprocate his feelings and does not want to get involved with her boss.

While Bruce certainly has his flaws, Pat cannot help falling for him. The situation becomes even more complicated when Bruce, a stalwart of the South Edinburgh Conservative Association, gives the painting to the Conservative Association for a fund-raising auction. Matthew and Pat are anxious to recover this painting that they believe is very valuable.

Five-year-old Bertie is a Grade 6 on the saxophone and speaks fluent Italian as a result of his pushy mother, Irene. Bertie gets into trouble and is expelled from East New Town Nursery. His mother forces him into psychotherapy, and his dreams of being a normal five-year-old continue to be thwarted.

The novel provides a distinctly separate point of view from each character, shedding insight into each of them and how they think of each other.

Espresso Tales is the second book in the serial series. It returns to the cast of colorful residents of 44 Scotland Street with a new set of challenges for each character.

Espresso Tales reveals that Pat’s attraction to Bruce, the attractive narcissist, is fading. Domenica tries to boost Pat’s love life by matchmaking, setting her up with a good-looking young waiter. Pat finds herself at a nudist picnic with the waiter in her pursuit of true love.

Domenica develops an interest in pirates and draws elaborate plans to embark on a journey to South China for her fieldwork. Pat goes back to university, but still works part-time at Matthew’s art gallery.

Matthew still yearns for Pat, who does not reciprocate his feelings. His father finds himself a girlfriend, but Matthew thinks she is after his father’s money. Matthew clearly does not like her, but perhaps dad’s new girlfriend can prove her honorable intentions.

The characters are flawed, but forgiven for their weaknesses, and readers are treated to satirical humor throughout. For instance, Ramsey Dubarton, the lawyer, puts his wife to sleep by reading his memoirs to her.

After Bruce is caught enjoying a romantic meal with his employer’s wife, he loses his job and his American girlfriend rejects him. This disillusioned ex-surveyor prepares to embark on a new career as a wine merchant.

Bruce’s new venture does not start smoothly. He tries convincing a friend to enter into a partnership. The friend’s lover, to whom Bruce is rude, may thwart this partnership. Bruce becomes even more worried when he discovers that some Chateau Petrus he purchased might be fake, which would be a devastating a financial loss.

Perhaps Bertie, the precocious five-year-old, will have the normal boyhood life envisioned by his father, Stuart. Bertie wants to attend Watson school, where he would get a chance to play rugby. He yearns for a life of fishing and rugby instead of yoga and Italian lessons orchestrated by his pushy mother.

Bertie plots a rebellion against his mother’s plans. The sessions with Bertie’s psychiatrist are entertaining, as is the psychiatrist’s attempts to finally bring about self-realization to this child prodigy, his legendary patient.

Bertie’s trip to Glasgow with his father, Stuart, ends with Bertie winning money at cards off Lard O’Connor, a legendary Glasgow gangster. In the course of this adventure, Irene and Dr. Fairbairn, the psychotherapist, are engaged in a web of dark secrets and hidden agendas.

McCall delivers abundant wit and unexpected twists and turns as he exposes the pretenses, glamour, and self-defeating behaviors in the daily lives of the characters. This is a series so deftly crafted that the reader feels an intimate knowledge of the characters.

The story was first published as a serial in The Scotsman, starting in January 2004, every weekday for six months. It marked its 10th anniversary with the publishing of the tenth volume, The Revolving Door, in 2015.

This charming and joyous illustration of city life and human shortcomings is a powerfully addicting fiction. Every reader will find it gentle, delightful, and graceful, full of amusing characters and humor down to the last volume.

Book Series In Order » Characters » 44 Scotland Street

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