SUNSHINE ON SCOTLAND STREET by Alexander McCall Smith

SUNSHINE ON SCOTLAND STREET

KIRKUS REVIEW

An eighth season of charmingly featherweight escapades, moral dilemmas, and errors committed and corrected and sometimes simply brushed aside by the denizens of 44 Scotland St. and its Edinburgh environs.

Miraculously, anthropologist Domenica Macdonald succeeds in marrying painter Angus Lordie even though Angus has made no arrangements for a wedding ring or a honeymoon or the gaping hole in the kilt he plans to wear. No sooner has the happy couple taken their vows than the best man, gallery owner Matthew Harmony, is approached by Bo, a filmmaker who’s a friend of his triplets’ au pair, Anna, who wants to film a fly-on-the-wall documentary of Matthew’s absolutely normal family, which he’s convinced Danish audiences will love. Bertie Pollock, the 6-year-old to whom Angus entrusts his beloved dog, Cyril, while he’s away, has to deal with the fact that his mother, Irene, doesn’t want a dog in the house. Convinced that something ails Cyril, she starts him in psychotherapy, and Bertie contemplates protective measures that are bound to backfire. Bertie’s father, Stuart, inches closer to confronting his misgivings about the uncanny resemblance of his baby son Ulysses’ ears to those of his wife’s former therapist, Dr. Hugo Fairbairn, now prudently decamped to Aberdeen. And in the most inventive of the plots that swirl and churn and then dissolve, narcissistic surveyor Bruce Anderson meets his exact physical double, a man who would certainly be his long-lost twin brother if he had one, and Jonathan proposes a mad scheme Bruce unaccountably accepts.

A tighter focus on fewer characters than the earlier installments (Bertie Plays the Blues, 2013, etc.) doesn’t pay off in additional depth or sharper conflict but generates more serial complications per capita for a crew that’s endlessly open to adventures while remaining immitigably themselves.

Pub Date: Aug. 12th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-345-80440-2
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Anchor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2014




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