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The Revolving Door of Life – A 44 Scotland Street novel

Once again we meet up with young Bertie Pollock and his family as they begin to come to terms with the poignant fact their mother and wife has been detained in a Bedouin harem, as she was mistaken for the wife of a Bedouin Sheik. Her return to Scotland is sometime in the future, but as with anything relating to Irene it can get complicated.

We also renew our acquaintanceship with Matthew, Elspeth and their three boys as they are looking to relocate to a larger property; a place, where the boys have room to run and play. Matthew is consumed with anxiety about the move and Elspeth is her usual calm self, even after they do move and discover hidden room in their new place near Nine Mile Burn. It is what this room holds that bring a dilemma to Matthew as it could make him a very rich man; his question is; is the property his or someone else’s, and if so which someone else might be the lawful owner.

Bertie’s grandmother arrives from Portugal to take charge while Irene is detained. As the days roll bye and Bertie discovers there is no more psychotherapy, Italian lessons or yoga classes, he begins to discover life as a normal little boy is pretty special. In fact it is downright fantastic.

When his grandmother takes him to have his first kilt made he is in total bliss, even Ulysses has stopped being sick all the time and is enjoying his evening bubble bath with his brother. Life in general, is pretty good for the Pollock household.

Pat becomes seriously concerned her father has managed to get himself into a romantic situation that will leave him considerably poorer for the experience and the Duke of Johannesburg  turns out to be something else altogether.

Big Lou faces a business dilemma when her cousin Wee Hettie comes to Edinburg to study and needs both a job and accommodation.

As with life, the people of 44 Scotland Street have a range of interests, issues and like all people everywhere, a range of opinions about everything under the sun, particularly when it relates to them or theirs. As they let you into their lives in a gentle and charming manner, you find your friendship for these loveable, caring people you met in their last novel, deepening.

Add the Association of Scottish Nudist to the mix, along with all the other colourful characters who are the fabric of society on Scotland Street, or indeed any neighbourhood anywhere, and you have once again a wonderful, entertaining, sharp and keenly observant look at people and life, as only McCall Smith can deliver.


AuthorAlexander McCall Smith
DistributorNew South Books