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Bertie Plays the Blues

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Domestic bliss seems in short supply at 44 Scotland Street. Over at the Pollocks, dad, Stuart, is harbouring a secret about a secret society and Bertie is feeling kind of blue. Having had enough of his neurotic hot-housing mother, he puts himself up for adoption on eBay. Will he go to the highest bidder or will he have to take matters into his own hands? Will the lovelorn Domestic bliss seems in short supply at 44 Scotland Street. Over at the Pollocks, dad, Stuart, is harbouring a secret about a secret society and Bertie is feeling kind of blue. Having had enough of his neurotic hot-housing mother, he puts himself up for adoption on eBay. Will he go to the highest bidder or will he have to take matters into his own hands? Will the lovelorn Big Lou find true love on the internet? And will Angus Lordie and Domenica make it up the aisle? Catch up with all your favourite faces down in 44 Scotland Street as we follow their daily pursuit of a little happiness


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Domestic bliss seems in short supply at 44 Scotland Street. Over at the Pollocks, dad, Stuart, is harbouring a secret about a secret society and Bertie is feeling kind of blue. Having had enough of his neurotic hot-housing mother, he puts himself up for adoption on eBay. Will he go to the highest bidder or will he have to take matters into his own hands? Will the lovelorn Domestic bliss seems in short supply at 44 Scotland Street. Over at the Pollocks, dad, Stuart, is harbouring a secret about a secret society and Bertie is feeling kind of blue. Having had enough of his neurotic hot-housing mother, he puts himself up for adoption on eBay. Will he go to the highest bidder or will he have to take matters into his own hands? Will the lovelorn Big Lou find true love on the internet? And will Angus Lordie and Domenica make it up the aisle? Catch up with all your favourite faces down in 44 Scotland Street as we follow their daily pursuit of a little happiness

30 review for Bertie Plays the Blues

  1. 4 out of 5

    John

    The 44 Scotland Street novels are not fluff. They humorous and humane. The characters--except for Bruce--are not coercive. And Bruce gets what he deserves in this book--lots of money and no love. This book is fantasy. But the fantasy is an appealing one: that good, though imperfect, people might get what they deserve. Elspeth, Matthew and the triplets get the best au pair in the world. Big Lou finds a kind widower, a contemporary from Arbroath. Pat finds an uncomplicated man to love. And Domenic The 44 Scotland Street novels are not fluff. They humorous and humane. The characters--except for Bruce--are not coercive. And Bruce gets what he deserves in this book--lots of money and no love. This book is fantasy. But the fantasy is an appealing one: that good, though imperfect, people might get what they deserve. Elspeth, Matthew and the triplets get the best au pair in the world. Big Lou finds a kind widower, a contemporary from Arbroath. Pat finds an uncomplicated man to love. And Domenica and Angus find one another--and Domenica accepts Cyril along with Angus. And Bertie, brilliant, kind, honest Bertie, whose mother gives him the blues, get a reprieve, when a kind stranger convinces his mother Irene to give him a chance to be a boy. Alexander McCall Smith is constantly reminding us that our personal world need not be cold and cynical like the world around us. Kindness, tolerance and forgiveness can improve all of our family and friendly relationships. These traits become easier to foster when we recognize that our happiness depends much more on the "tenor" of our personal world than on our place in the competitive world around us. In fact, rejecting the false values and rankings of the big world is the biggest step we can make toward creating a personal world of happiness.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lyn Battersby

    This is my 3rd Scotland Street novel and I have to say, this series is fast becoming my favourite. As much as I love Mma Ramotswe, I find I am forming a greater bond with Bertie. For me, Bertie is pretty much the best character in modern literature. I know I am never going to be a traditionally built lady from Botswana, driving around in my little white car, solving problems, but I do know the angst of being young and not knowing how to verbalise what *you* want from life in the face of what you This is my 3rd Scotland Street novel and I have to say, this series is fast becoming my favourite. As much as I love Mma Ramotswe, I find I am forming a greater bond with Bertie. For me, Bertie is pretty much the best character in modern literature. I know I am never going to be a traditionally built lady from Botswana, driving around in my little white car, solving problems, but I do know the angst of being young and not knowing how to verbalise what *you* want from life in the face of what your parents dictate for your life. Bertie Plays The Blues is, of course, not only about Bertie and his problems. We sit alongside Domenica as she struggles with what life is compared to what life should be. We hold Angus' hand as he bravely copes with a possible disruption to his future. We even pat the pretensious Irene on the back as she is forced to face a few home truths - whether she takes the lesson on board remains to be seen but for now we can only hope she unbends a little. In the end Scotland St, like all of McCall Smith's work, is about the ties that bind and the goodness behind the motives of most people. I recommend McCall Smith to anyone who wants to take a breath of fresh air and once more see the world through kind eyes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    4.5-4.75 stars. Oh I wish I could buy all of AMS's books and give them to everyone in the world to read. These books are humorous and entertaining but most of all, they are lessons in small kindnesses, and how much of a difference they make in the world. His The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series will probably always be my favorite, and it's the only series I've ever read completely twice over. But this one is a close second. And it keeps getting better. These last two volumes are my favorite 4.5-4.75 stars. Oh I wish I could buy all of AMS's books and give them to everyone in the world to read. These books are humorous and entertaining but most of all, they are lessons in small kindnesses, and how much of a difference they make in the world. His The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series will probably always be my favorite, and it's the only series I've ever read completely twice over. But this one is a close second. And it keeps getting better. These last two volumes are my favorites in this series so far. I truly hope God continues to bless this man's pen and word processor. He is a treasure. I love him as much as anyone can ever love someone they have never met. I can't praise the man or his books any more highly. Long live AMS!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    So much happened! Triplets were born and the poor dears were named horrible things! And they got an adorable au pair! Big Lou has found love! (I hope!) Bruce was an asshole! Bertie might have a real friend! And Irene might finally be seeing the light! These books are so fun! Every chapter makes me think: why don’t I move to Edinburgh?!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mira

    I love Alexander McCall Smith. He Tweets short stories, always has interesting things to say and write, and is the author of one of my favourite series, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency featuring my favourite detective Ma Ramotswe. His other two series, The Sunday Philosophy Club and 44 Scotland Street (of which this book is part of) are set in Edinburgh. The characters that populate these series are thoughtful and philosophical (the give away is in that series title right!) and many words are l I love Alexander McCall Smith. He Tweets short stories, always has interesting things to say and write, and is the author of one of my favourite series, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency featuring my favourite detective Ma Ramotswe. His other two series, The Sunday Philosophy Club and 44 Scotland Street (of which this book is part of) are set in Edinburgh. The characters that populate these series are thoughtful and philosophical (the give away is in that series title right!) and many words are leant to these thoughts. Even Cyril (the dog with the gold tooth) has ponderings. My issue is that reading around four pages of thoughts and ruminations put me into glazed over mode, and really doesn't keep me with the story. The thoughts really interrupt my enjoyment of the story. The redeeming feature of this book is the precocious Bertie - a boy genius who plays saxophone at Grade 5 and is fluent in Italian. Sadly he's afflicted with a horribly overbearing mother who makes him wear pink dungarees and practice yoga. The Bertie sections are brilliant. He's such an amiable little soul and I looked forward to his appearances all the way through the book. Its very easy to love Bertie. I don't think I'll drop back into Scotland Street anytime soon, but it was a nice day trip on this occasion! :)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    The Scotland Street series is funny, clever, and endearing. The Edinburgh of these books is a place we'd all love to live. I'd add, except for July and August when the city is crammed with tourists who traverse the city in large packs, oblivious to all other humanity, and the obstruction they create. Despite trying visitors, Edinburgh residents couldn't be friendlier. I was pleased that there's a reference to the Belfast poet Michael Longley in this book. Smith includes so many interesting comme The Scotland Street series is funny, clever, and endearing. The Edinburgh of these books is a place we'd all love to live. I'd add, except for July and August when the city is crammed with tourists who traverse the city in large packs, oblivious to all other humanity, and the obstruction they create. Despite trying visitors, Edinburgh residents couldn't be friendlier. I was pleased that there's a reference to the Belfast poet Michael Longley in this book. Smith includes so many interesting comments linked to literature, history and more that demonstrate what a knowledgeable writer he is. The additions make reading him even more fun. Bertie continues to struggle with his unreasonably demanding mother but there are signs in this installment she may be turning a corner.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

    Bertie Plays the Blues is the 7th novel in Alexander McCall Smith’s popular 44 Scotland Street series. Once again we join our favourite Edinburgh characters in their daily lives. Matthew and Elspeth are delighted to now have three sons, whom they have ambitiously named, but are finding them difficult to tell apart, and exhausting to care for, until help arrives from Denmark; Angus Lordie and Domenica McDonald discuss living arrangements for their marriage, but the appearance of a former boyfrien Bertie Plays the Blues is the 7th novel in Alexander McCall Smith’s popular 44 Scotland Street series. Once again we join our favourite Edinburgh characters in their daily lives. Matthew and Elspeth are delighted to now have three sons, whom they have ambitiously named, but are finding them difficult to tell apart, and exhausting to care for, until help arrives from Denmark; Angus Lordie and Domenica McDonald discuss living arrangements for their marriage, but the appearance of a former boyfriend has Domenica reconsidering; Pat Macgregor returns to Matthew’s Gallery and finds herself once again a rabbit caught in the headlights of Bruce Anderson’s gaze; Big Lou bans Matthew from the coffee bar and enters the world of internet dating; and Bertie, longing to do what other six-and-three-quarter-year-old boys do and fed up with Irene running his life, puts himself up for adoption on eBay. In this delightful instalment, McCall Smith touches on subjects as diverse as the acronyms used in internet dating, wisdom and happiness, the Masons, sincerity in animals, sensitivity (or lack of it) in Scottish men, the dehumanising effect of technology and the purpose of chocolate cake. The characters develop further: Angus proves his wisdom and generosity; Stuart shows some backbone; Bertie discovers he loves Irene despite her controlling nature; Domenica shows her selfish side; Irene shows she has a heart and Bruce, beautiful, vain, arrogant, perfidious Bruce attains possibly even higher levels of offensiveness now that his new leaf has shrivelled up and died (but he’s so much more fun this way!) Even minor characters get to say some insightful things, like equating dangerous and deluded German mental patients to Italian politicians. As always, there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments: the fate of Elpseth’s father reduced me to tears of laughter, and Bruce’s freak accident had a similar effect. Once again, light-hearted, philosophical and thought-provoking: readers will eagerly await the eighth instalment, Sunshine on Scotland Street.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This series continues to make me smile. The characters are charming and adorable (even the annoying ones like Bruce and Bertie's mom) and I want to have a drink with them at the Cumberland Bar. I love the way this series was written, chapter by chapter as a serial publication. Bertie is his usual brilliant and cute self who is truly a good person deep down inside. Even when everyone seems to be struggling with a dilema, these books always have an upbeat quality to them which I love and keeps me This series continues to make me smile. The characters are charming and adorable (even the annoying ones like Bruce and Bertie's mom) and I want to have a drink with them at the Cumberland Bar. I love the way this series was written, chapter by chapter as a serial publication. Bertie is his usual brilliant and cute self who is truly a good person deep down inside. Even when everyone seems to be struggling with a dilema, these books always have an upbeat quality to them which I love and keeps me coming back for more. I am very attached to these characters at this point and love learning about their lives (even the mundane things). Many things seem a little far-fetched but so endearing in these books that it makes me laugh and I accept them for what they are. I enjoy that all the books end with Domica and Angus having a dinner party and Angus reciting a poem that echoes the themes brought up in this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Trelawn

    It looks like Bertie might finally get some peace to be the little boy he is and not a moment too soon. But I really do hate Bruce with an all consuming passion. He had better get his comeuppance by the end of this series. For everyone else, life in Edinburgh is ticking along nicely. A truly inspired set of books.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    This one could be one of my favorite installments (despite two small hiccups where the author seemed to have forgotten Bertie's trip to Paris a few installments ago and what happened with Pat in the last installment), because so many delightful events happened to and for the characters. The ending - with the requisite poem from Angus - had the most tender twist that I had tears in my eyes (especially because my three favorite characters were all sitting together). The delightful, but so very bri This one could be one of my favorite installments (despite two small hiccups where the author seemed to have forgotten Bertie's trip to Paris a few installments ago and what happened with Pat in the last installment), because so many delightful events happened to and for the characters. The ending - with the requisite poem from Angus - had the most tender twist that I had tears in my eyes (especially because my three favorite characters were all sitting together). The delightful, but so very briefly seen, Dilly Emsley has a fabulously pivotal moment. And I just loved the observations on human nature so much in this installment: Alexander McCall Smith, you are heaven sent! These stories just warm my soul and make me laugh out loud and gnash my teeth and cry. I love them so! (Sorry for the minor spoiler, but Bertie putting himself on eBay nearly did me in!)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alisha

    Alternated between the audiobook and the ebook. The audiobook is really well read; it made some of the funny stuff even funnier.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mandolin

    See the beautiful city of Edinburgh through the eyes of the current and former inhabitants of 44 Scotland Street and its surroundings as Alexander McCall Smith catches up with them once again in this splendid new novel. Matthew and Elsbeth, the new parents of triplets, see it through the tired eyes that are hungry for sleep and desperate for a little peace in their lives, despite their enormous love for their three tiny little boys (even if they can't tell them apart!) Angus and Domenica, so rec See the beautiful city of Edinburgh through the eyes of the current and former inhabitants of 44 Scotland Street and its surroundings as Alexander McCall Smith catches up with them once again in this splendid new novel. Matthew and Elsbeth, the new parents of triplets, see it through the tired eyes that are hungry for sleep and desperate for a little peace in their lives, despite their enormous love for their three tiny little boys (even if they can't tell them apart!) Angus and Domenica, so recently engaged, see it through the rose-tinted eyes of love as they prepare for their upcoming wedding and face the questions that all such couples ask themselves prior to making that huge commitment. The chance for love also appears to be on the horizon for Big Lou - will this be the man that she's been waiting for so long or will he just disappoint her like the rest? Pat, too, is facing questions of her own heart as she reconnects with her old flames Matthew and Bruce. Finally, little Bertie Pollock sees it through eyes filled with unhappiness as he continues to try to cope with his overbearing mother and aggravating classmates in his need to be "just a little boy." At the same time, his own father is learning to stand up for himself against his wife in subtle and somewhat subversive ways. I always close the last page of an Alexander McCall Smith book feeling so enriched, both emotionally and intellectually. Each page is so full of wisdom and interesting details that I have to read each slowly, savoring their depth and meaning. I frequently find myself looking up further information about the Scottish and European history and people to which Smith refers (like the Oberammergau Passion Play - how interesting!) or finding definitions of words that aren't even part of my daily lexicon. It's no wonder these books take twice the time to read as any others! It is always time well spent, however. McCall Smith's humor is also prominent here (my favorite examples? Olive's belief that God's method of punishment is pulling out the offenders fingernails, one by one or Tofu's belief that war is made through tickling!) I absolutely loved this book and felt that it was one of the best in the series. I was a bit sad at the end, though, for it seems that everyone has come to a happy point in their lives (even my favorite little guy Bertie) and I wonder if Smith will end the series here. I truly hope not, for I love every visit to Scotland Street and look forward to many more.

  13. 5 out of 5

    June Louise

    "Ranald stroked his chin. 'How about eBay, Bertie? Have you heard of eBay? You could put yourself on it, you know'. Not having a computer, Bertie was unsure what eBay was, and listened attentively as Ranald explained it to him. 'You can get anything on eBay, Bertie. I'm telling you. Trucks, model railways, even swords. Everything. If you've got something to sell, you put it on eBay and they have a sort of auction. You could choose two weeks maybe. That gives people time to decide how much they w "Ranald stroked his chin. 'How about eBay, Bertie? Have you heard of eBay? You could put yourself on it, you know'. Not having a computer, Bertie was unsure what eBay was, and listened attentively as Ranald explained it to him. 'You can get anything on eBay, Bertie. I'm telling you. Trucks, model railways, even swords. Everything. If you've got something to sell, you put it on eBay and they have a sort of auction. You could choose two weeks maybe. That gives people time to decide how much they want to bid'". Life for poor Bertie doesn't get any easier in this most recent volume of the Scotland Street series. In fact, life is so bad that he decides to put himself up for adoption via eBay - hoping in doing so that a nice family from Glasgow will rescue him from his nightmare of a mother, Irene. When this proves unsatisfactory, Bertie and his cub scout friend, Ranald, then decide to take matters further by going to Glasgow - directly to the doors of the adoption agency....they board the train, but what happens next? Meanwhile Domenica, recently engaged to Angus, has exciting plans and also meets an old flame; Matthew and Elspeth find life with triplets very difficult and hire an au pair. But still things are not perfect, and - after au pair Anna making a shocking discovery, decide that maybe a move to the plush Moray Place was a hasty one. Bruce continues being Bruce; Lou lands herself two men; whilst Pat just gets messed about. And at the conclusion, there is the now expected dinner party and poetry recital - but what event is this in honour of? I am really sad to have got to the last (so far) of the Scotland Street books - I've loved every one of them, and hope that Alexander McCall Smith will continue to write some more. Having being brought up among the "Edinburgh bourgeoisie" I can identify several people I have met, in the characters - I especially know several Irenes (unfortunately!). I love the humour and banter (especially that pertaining to the rival city of Glasgow), and the ease with which you can either love or hate (or indeed love to hate) the characters. Very well done Mr Smith! I look forward to the next instalment!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    I mean this entirely as praise (and decidedly not as "damning with faint..."): Alexander McCall Smith is a king of the middlebrow novel. I've read a few of these serialized novels (an extraordinary feat of execution, by the way), and finally understand his appeal: He offers novels of ideas that are also novels of about domestic drama, about people who are enormously appealing to middlebrow readers (of whom I am one). We like life rendered in fictional form, with drama, scandal, gossip, and tidbi I mean this entirely as praise (and decidedly not as "damning with faint..."): Alexander McCall Smith is a king of the middlebrow novel. I've read a few of these serialized novels (an extraordinary feat of execution, by the way), and finally understand his appeal: He offers novels of ideas that are also novels of about domestic drama, about people who are enormously appealing to middlebrow readers (of whom I am one). We like life rendered in fictional form, with drama, scandal, gossip, and tidbits (or titbits as they say across the pond), and we like interesting ideas; these books could be called comedies of manners, but a better, though more awkward, term might be comedies of philosophies. Nearly every character in the 44 Scotland Street series is a philosopher of some kind, with the exception of seven-year-old Bertie and his awful friend Olive. His mother, the delightfully horrible Irene, has a million of philosophies and a shrewish insistence of being right, though she is easily the most tyrannical of the denizens of Edinburgh. People are interested in ideas, they are interested in morality, and they are above all else interested in civility, or the desire to be civil even when their natures drift them in the other direction.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    It is a testament to the skill of Alexander McCall Smith that he can consistently dash off such thoroughly enjoyable middle class... soap opera? pap?drivel? I am not quite sure at what point his failure to waste any time whatsoever on checking the factual underpinnings is going to stop me reserving each new volume from the library before it is available. I know Bertie is a precocious child but he is too young for Cub Scouts, Elspeth Harmony is a remarkable woman but I doubt she could secure such It is a testament to the skill of Alexander McCall Smith that he can consistently dash off such thoroughly enjoyable middle class... soap opera? pap?drivel? I am not quite sure at what point his failure to waste any time whatsoever on checking the factual underpinnings is going to stop me reserving each new volume from the library before it is available. I know Bertie is a precocious child but he is too young for Cub Scouts, Elspeth Harmony is a remarkable woman but I doubt she could secure such normality for the birth and early days of triplets, and as for an Edinburgh social worker inspecting Matthew's baby car seats.... Perhaps more worryingly the snap decisions are now becoming predictable. But, oooh, the descriptions of Edinburgh interiors (as well as exteriors), the vicarious culinary pleasures, the insight into the irrelevance of London and England, Cyril the dog's joie de vivre and the slightly pompous internal dialogues which are all too familiar to myself...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Once more, Mr McCall Smith weaves his magic. This series just gets better. The characterisation goes from strength to strength and Bertie at last shows a few weaknesses and gaps in his thought processes which you would expect from one not yet seven years old. This makes him all the more lovable and real. It also raises more than a few chuckles and even the odd belly laugh. His mother is still the brittle super-bitch she always was but even that is beginning to change, albeit ever so slightly and Once more, Mr McCall Smith weaves his magic. This series just gets better. The characterisation goes from strength to strength and Bertie at last shows a few weaknesses and gaps in his thought processes which you would expect from one not yet seven years old. This makes him all the more lovable and real. It also raises more than a few chuckles and even the odd belly laugh. His mother is still the brittle super-bitch she always was but even that is beginning to change, albeit ever so slightly and the hapless Stuart, Bertie's henpecked father, is at last shrugging off the mantle of all time super-wimp and this makes the family more interesting and believable. The great thing about all the characters in a McCall Smith novel is their credibility and above all there is nothing evil in there. No-one who is all black, or indeed, all white, just like life only nicer. I heartily recommend the book and indeed all his books, to you!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Annalie

    "An antidote to grimness, greyness and meanness" - according to "The Scotsman" review on the back cover. Thus the perfect book to read after 2 unpleasant books - Gone Girl and Chronicle of a Death Foretold "An antidote to grimness, greyness and meanness" - according to "The Scotsman" review on the back cover. Thus the perfect book to read after 2 unpleasant books - Gone Girl and Chronicle of a Death Foretold

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This was another great offering in the 44 Scotland Street Series. I liked the focus on the trials and tribulations of the long suffering Bertie and also on Matthew and Elspeth and they're newborn triplets. I also love how distinctly Scottish these books (in particular this one) are...Rather than being a distraction for an American reader such as myself, they add atmosphere and depth. This was another great offering in the 44 Scotland Street Series. I liked the focus on the trials and tribulations of the long suffering Bertie and also on Matthew and Elspeth and they're newborn triplets. I also love how distinctly Scottish these books (in particular this one) are...Rather than being a distraction for an American reader such as myself, they add atmosphere and depth.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kingfan30

    I’ve enjoyed this series from the very beginning, and although I’ve had some large gaps between reading them, it’s always nice to return and see how everyone is. I’m pleased to say I have the next already lined up on the shelves so got no excuses for leaving it so long before catching up again. So after nearly a year since the last book, it was time to sit down with a coffee and enjoy. I’d like to think Berties mum is lightening up, although I don’t hold out to much hope, his story line did make I’ve enjoyed this series from the very beginning, and although I’ve had some large gaps between reading them, it’s always nice to return and see how everyone is. I’m pleased to say I have the next already lined up on the shelves so got no excuses for leaving it so long before catching up again. So after nearly a year since the last book, it was time to sit down with a coffee and enjoy. I’d like to think Berties mum is lightening up, although I don’t hold out to much hope, his story line did make me smile, even if it was a little far fetched. Poor Matthew and Elsbeth come to grips of being parents of three, although i’m Not sure about the names of the poor boys, it did make me laugh that the mixed them up once the tags were taken off. And has Big Lou finally met someone. Bring on the next in the series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Charming and joyous episode in the 44 Scotland Street series. Domenica and Angus are about to get married, Matthew and Elspeth try to adjust to life with their baby triplets, vain Bruce reappears in Pat's life. All the characters have a place in my heart, but the star of them all is Bertie Pollock. His attempts to get himself adopted are both touching and comic, from his carefully crafted advertisement on EBay to the journey to a children's home in Glasgow that doesn't quite go as planned. This Charming and joyous episode in the 44 Scotland Street series. Domenica and Angus are about to get married, Matthew and Elspeth try to adjust to life with their baby triplets, vain Bruce reappears in Pat's life. All the characters have a place in my heart, but the star of them all is Bertie Pollock. His attempts to get himself adopted are both touching and comic, from his carefully crafted advertisement on EBay to the journey to a children's home in Glasgow that doesn't quite go as planned. This is a gentle and heartwarming book, with some perceptive observations on the human condition.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor Taylor

    Enjoyed another read off 44 Scotland Street . Nice light read

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia McIvers

    Recommended by the "Someone Else Is Reading It" Club. Couldn't even finish it. Recommended by the "Someone Else Is Reading It" Club. Couldn't even finish it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I love listening to this series. They take you away from your life to theirs and always make me feel good. I will really miss all the character's lives when I finish the series. I love listening to this series. They take you away from your life to theirs and always make me feel good. I will really miss all the character's lives when I finish the series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kara Budge

    This is such a charming series. I would love for them to become a sitcom.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    My favorite book of the series so far...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    Thoroughly enjoy all the books in the 44 Scotland Street series. I've been reading them out of order but it doesn't seem to matter. They are so funny and good for light bedtime reading. To me this series gives the reader a humorous, tongue-in-cheek, slice of Edinburgh life among a rather arty and cultured set of people. In this episode, Matthew and Elspeth are exhausted when they bring home their triplets from hospital and finding it quite difficult telling them apart. Lou has started internet da Thoroughly enjoy all the books in the 44 Scotland Street series. I've been reading them out of order but it doesn't seem to matter. They are so funny and good for light bedtime reading. To me this series gives the reader a humorous, tongue-in-cheek, slice of Edinburgh life among a rather arty and cultured set of people. In this episode, Matthew and Elspeth are exhausted when they bring home their triplets from hospital and finding it quite difficult telling them apart. Lou has started internet dating and enlists the help of Pat when she meets her date for the first time. Bertie puts himself up for adoption on eBay. So many intertwined stories and I feel I know the characters so well.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paula Dembeck

    This volume is number 7 in the 44 Scotland Street Series. Elspeth and Mathew bring home triplets but are having trouble telling them apart and are absolutely exhausted from the sleepless nights and the care the three babies require. They find a solution by hiring Anna a Danish au paire who soon helps them organize themselves and develop a routine. But Elspeth is not comfortable in their new India Street location and longs for the comfort of their former residence on Scotland Street. But alas, tha This volume is number 7 in the 44 Scotland Street Series. Elspeth and Mathew bring home triplets but are having trouble telling them apart and are absolutely exhausted from the sleepless nights and the care the three babies require. They find a solution by hiring Anna a Danish au paire who soon helps them organize themselves and develop a routine. But Elspeth is not comfortable in their new India Street location and longs for the comfort of their former residence on Scotland Street. But alas, that place has been sold to someone who has it for sale but intends to flip it for a big profit. Domenica MacDonald and Angus Lordie are enjoying their engagement and considering the best place to live. Should they move to the building where Angus has his home and studio, or should they move to Domenica’s place. While considering this problem they receive a letter from Antonia, still recuperating at a nunnery in Italy from Stendhal Syndrome. She asks Domenica to arrange for the sale of her apartment as she has decided to become a nun and stay in Europe. Domenica’s apartment is right next to Antonia’s, so there may be an opportunity to buy Antonia’s apartment, join the two flats together and create one spacious flat. However an accidental meeting with a former lover has Domeinca considering whether she should reconsider her marriage to Angus. Meanwhile Pat has picked up her job again at Mathew’s art gallery and will work there for the summer. She accidently runs into Bruce again in a pub and accepts to go out on a date with him. While she is waiting for him she runs into a former friend from high school and re-establishes an acquaintance. Big Lou is lonely and begins internet dating. Her first date is with Darren an Elvis Impersonator and she agrees to go with him to the annual convention in Crieff. While waiting in a bar for Darren she runs into an old friend from Arbroath and considers this friendship may be more satisfying. Bertie remains frustrated with Irene’s continual dominance in his life and decides to put himself up for adoption. It is through this process that he accidentally meets up with someone who may be able to help him with his rather pushy mother. After all he just wants to be a boy and do the things boys like to do. As it is, all his time is taken up by commitments of his mother’s making: saxophone lessons, yoga, Italian conversation and psychotherapy. I have been reading this author’s books (have done 35 at this point!), for several years now and I may now be getting to the end. I am finding them somewhat formulaic. They are a bit like soap operas, with every character philosophizing about everything. Beneath all this thinking, the characters are doing the things we all do and mulling over everyday problems we all ponder at some time in our lives. I just want more things happening and less philosophizing. I know when you read a book or a series of books your reaction may/may not be related to the time you are in your life or the space you are in in your head, and perhaps that is what is happening to me. I still like the characters. Who could not be endeared to someone like Bertie? But I may move on now to some different reading.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michael Braccia

    Book Review: Bertie Plays The Blues (Alexander McCall Smith) The seventh book in the ’44 Scotland Street’ series, and McCall Smith does not disappoint. Beyond all logic and reason (unless you are a regular reader of the author), Bertie is still six years old. An infant prodigy, he continues to struggle with the pressure piled on him by his ever-irritating mother. Irene insists that Bertie develop his linguistic and musical skills. Fluent in Italian and Saxophone, the little boy (six going on eigh Book Review: Bertie Plays The Blues (Alexander McCall Smith) The seventh book in the ’44 Scotland Street’ series, and McCall Smith does not disappoint. Beyond all logic and reason (unless you are a regular reader of the author), Bertie is still six years old. An infant prodigy, he continues to struggle with the pressure piled on him by his ever-irritating mother. Irene insists that Bertie develop his linguistic and musical skills. Fluent in Italian and Saxophone, the little boy (six going on eighteen) thinks to himself “I would divorce my mother if I could”. In ‘Bertie Sings The Blues’, he makes a new friend. Ronald Braveheart MacPherson, only slightly older than Bertie Pollock, suggests that they take a trip to Glasgow, search out the Adoption Agency, and find Bertie a new mother. Mathew and Elspeth, not only struggling to cope with the domestic trials of caring for triplets, have a real problem telling them apart; particularly after Mathew removes the hospital tags from their tiny wrists. To enable him to take paternal leave (from his own business) he re-employs ex-girlfriend Pat. We will have to see how that goes... Pat’s new man in her life (Bruce) is also an ex-man in her life. He gets involved when Elspeth declares that she wants to return to their old flat where she had been happy before the three boys came along. Mathew discovers that Bruce had purchased their old property surreptitiously, using someone else to pretend to buy it as a front for one of Bruce’s property deals. Angus Lordie and Domencia continue with their engagement, but the road to true love (and the wedding) becomes rockier when an old flame returns to Domenica’s life. Her friend and neighbour, Antonia, is still living in a nunnery and makes some decisions that impact on both Domenica and Angus. Isn’t life complicated? Bertie’s father, the downtrodden Stuart, has issues of his own. Joining a secret society (mainly to get away from Irene, it has to be said), with funny handshakes, strange ceremonies and male bonding, must be kept secret from her indoors. However, Stuart forgot to take into account the enduring integrity and honesty of his little boy, six-year-old Bertie. Michael Braccia

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laurel Bradshaw

    Not the strongest book in this series, but it is still delightful. Poor Bertie - we thought he had gained some ground in the last books with joining the cub scouts, and a fishing trip with his father, but here he is thinking that his problems with his overbearing mother would be solved if he could get himself adopted by another family on eBay. Matthew and Elspeth learn they are going to be the parents of triplets. Matthew is as gullible and ineffectual as always when he tries to be assertive in Not the strongest book in this series, but it is still delightful. Poor Bertie - we thought he had gained some ground in the last books with joining the cub scouts, and a fishing trip with his father, but here he is thinking that his problems with his overbearing mother would be solved if he could get himself adopted by another family on eBay. Matthew and Elspeth learn they are going to be the parents of triplets. Matthew is as gullible and ineffectual as always when he tries to be assertive in the purchase of a new, larger flat for his growing family. Domenica and Angus end up engaged to be married, and Big Lou enters the world of online dating and gets involved with an Elvis impersonator. Book description: New parents Matthew and Elspeth must muddle through the difficulties of raising their triplets Rognvald, Tobermory and Fergus—there's normal sleep deprivation, and then there's trying to tell the children apart from one another. Angus and Domenica are newly engaged, and now they must negotiate the complex merger of two households. Domenica is also forced to deal with the return of an old flame, while Big Lou has begun the search for a new one, boldly exploring the new world of online dating and coming up with an Elvis impersonator on the first try. And in Bertie’s family, there's a shift in power as his father Stuart starts to stand up to overbearing mother, Irene—and then there’s Bertie, who has been thinking that he might want to start over with a new family and so puts himself up for adoption on eBay. With his signature charm and gentle wit Alexander McCall Smith vividly portrays the lives of Edinburgh’s most unique and beloved characters. Series info: #7 of series See: 44 Scotland Street

  30. 5 out of 5

    Penny McGill

    I love a visit to 44 Scotland Street. I set aside some chores this Sunday afternoon to finish off this wonderful trip into the world of Bertie, Angus and Matthew. Each time Alexander McCall Smith publishes another of this series I catch myself wondering what he might think of. I can never imagine him coming up with changes in their lives that he hasn't included before but he does. It keeps me turning the pages and brewing more tea even though I know that sinks need to be cleaned and towels need I love a visit to 44 Scotland Street. I set aside some chores this Sunday afternoon to finish off this wonderful trip into the world of Bertie, Angus and Matthew. Each time Alexander McCall Smith publishes another of this series I catch myself wondering what he might think of. I can never imagine him coming up with changes in their lives that he hasn't included before but he does. It keeps me turning the pages and brewing more tea even though I know that sinks need to be cleaned and towels need to be folded. Bertie plays a strong part in the seventh of the series and I was pleased to see that his mother makes a little progress and that Angus and Big Lou seem to have found love. Matthew and Elspeth have triplets - named Tobermory, Fergus and Rognvald - and employ an efficient au pair. This being the writing of Alexander McCall Smith there were several instances where I thought the plot would take me in one direction, for example Pat returns to work for Matthew in the gallery and then meets up with the despicable Bruce (smelling of cloves!), but found it taking me in another. He fools me every time and I love it. I was laughing and smiling and even though I am finished the book now (and a bit sad as I begin to wait again for his next book to arrive)I am glad I spent the afternoon this way. Unclean sinks and unfolded towels don't really matter when you arrive at the end of a 44 Scotland Street book and enjoy the poetry of the 'portrait painter' Angus Lordie.

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