This is the latest installment in the 44 Scotland Street Series. Much like the Isabel Dalhousie series, nothing much happens. This is not to say that the books are about NOTHING. Not so. They are about life. This is my favorite series by Smith.
Alexander McCall Smith sometimes seems to me to be to literature what the great Observational Comics are to comedy. Not always funny, per se, but masters at telling stories about “real” life. And how timely some of these stories are.
In this installment, Smith cracks wise a bit about political correctness, and how everything is out of bounds now “interdicted by self-appointed guardians of sensitivity.” Domenica and Angus have a conversation on which she remarks “Now we’ve come to expect that everybody we see wants to kill us.” A most interesting remark.
Smith is one of my favorite authors, and I think I have read just about every book he has published. Beautiful, beautiful, words.
I was nearly in tears when I thought one of the characters was dying. Although, the description of his last thoughts is perfect. If we must go, please let it be like this: Page 159 –
“He was aware of movement; some pressure on his arms, as if somebody were pulling him, and for a few moments he resented that there should be this intrusion. But then he felt sleep claim him, and all sensation drained away, faded, and he no longer cared. So this was what it was like to die: it was an abandonment, a giving up, an allowing of life to drain away. It did not mater, he thought. It did not matter.”
The Irene/Stuart relationship is getting interesting and very controversial. I was not in agreement with Stuart’s choice, but I bet many others are.
Lastly, a piece of advice from our friends across the pond: “Never eat at a restaurant called Momma’s.” Now that remark, I would normally have to take umbrage against. However, I have not eaten at any such establishment called “Momma’s,” although growing up, we often visited “Mama’s.” Well, obviously that’s just different.