Since the comings and goings at 44 Scotland Street first appeared in daily episodes in the pages of The Scotsmannewspaper in 2004, the inhabitants of that Edinburgh New Town house have become familiar to Alexander McCall Smith’s growing army of fans. The first serial novel, 44 Scotland Street, was collected in book form and became an instant hit both in Great Britain and the United States, where it appeared in the top ten of a number of bestseller lists across the country.
By popular demand, and the author’s growing addiction to his cast of characters, a second series inevitably followed. In this new volume, Espresso Tales, we see the continuation of many themes: Bertie, the precocious six-year-old is still in therapy and dreams of slipping his mother’s leash; the ghastly Bruce still holds himself in ridiculously high esteem; and worldly-wise Domenica continues to observe events with her customary mordant wit. The appeal of the 44 Scotland Street series lies in both the author’s talent for entertaining his readers – broad comedy, cheerful satire and philosophical asides all have their place – and in the affectionate portrait of a city and its people who, in the author’s own words, ‘make it one of the most vibrant and interesting places in the world’.