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Bertie Plays the Blues (44 Scotland Street, #7)
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Bertie Plays the Blues (44 Scotland Street #7)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  3,389 Ratings  ·  445 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Anchor (first published 2011)
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Sep 05, 2011 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Lyn Battersby
Mar 10, 2012 Lyn Battersby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Oct 20, 2012 Mira rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 ...more
Jul 31, 2012 Marianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Aug 23, 2015 Trelawn rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 06, 2012 Mandolin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-inventory
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 ...more
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 ...more
Oct 05, 2013 Tim rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jun 22, 2016 RebeccaS rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Dec 27, 2011 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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
Dec 31, 2013 Annalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
May 15, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
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.
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
Penny McGill
Nov 03, 2013 Penny McGill rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Mar 18, 2012 Dlhmoore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
The ongoing soap opera of Edinburgh in the 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith. I believe this is the longest novel in his series.

All of the players have a fair run. Elspeth and Matthew have their triplets and have moved into a new, larger upscale "flat." They have their typical problems with the multiple babies and hire an au pair. Elspeth doesn't like the new flat and Matthew makes plans for them to return to India Street.

Domenica, Angus and Antonia travel to Italy, with upsetting re
Gareth Evans
I read this to try and determine the fascination with 44 Scotland Street. My wife really likes them and they seem very popular. Not only does Mr McCall Smith make good money from them, at the time of writing this book has an average rating of 4.07. That takes some beating and many of the great classics would struggle to get much above 3.5. I think that this is one of the nicest (honestly non-pejorative) books I have read). Nothing much happens other than it is nice and when a character is ...more
P.C. Dettman
This belongs to McCall Smith's "44 Scotland Street" series and are not mysteries or legal dramas. No. 44 is just a house converted into flats where some people happen to live, rather than a professional office as I had assumed. These are slim books. Agatha Christie in length and about as demanding. They are very Scottish.​ Well, quite Scottish. The characters are interesting which is good because this is not a heavily plotted book. They are a good bunch, a nice mix of professional people, ...more
Feb 19, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
In this seventh book of the 44 Scotland Street series, new triplets have Matthew and Elspeth sleepless and confused. Big Lou starts dating a man with an unusual hobby, while Angus and Domenica are planning for married life. And Bertie, the seven-year old with the over-controlling mother, tries desperate measures to improve his situation. The humorous musings of the 44 Scotland series on the challenges of everyday life are very much of a place (Edinburgh) and a time (the present, more or less), ...more
Oct 20, 2011 Michele rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
McCall Smith has redeemed himself somewhat with this latest episode from Scotland Street.
More time was spent with those less irritating characters, Angus, Domenica and Pat and finally we may see a little ray of hope for poor Bertie.

That said I do wish that these characters would get a firm dose of the reality that the rest of us mere mortals are living. Was it strictly necessary for Angus Lordie to be gifted a work of art worth over 400,000 GBP and who in their right minds purchases back a prop
Mar 14, 2015 Sharyn rated it really liked it
I love the Scotland St series (also Sunday Philosophy club and Portuguese Irregular verb series. Makes me wonder how much more Philosophical Scotts are that they read these columns in the newspaper. Imagine this in an American Newspaper, I can't. Bertie and Angus and all the rest, just love reading about them. Favorite part of this book, Matthew cutting off the tripletts name tags, then not knowing who was who. Also, Bertie and Rogenvald getting on the train to Glasgow and getting off at the ...more
Susan Williams
Sep 02, 2013 Susan Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Will 7 year old Bertie finally escape the clutches of his domineering Tiger-Mother, Irene? In this latest installment of his Scotland Street series, McCall Smith delivers a lively, insightful glimpse into the lives of the diverse inhabitants of this Edinburgh neighborhood. It seems one is either a huge fan or hugely indifferent to this series, and I confess to being the former.
I love the characters, wish that I could be the worldly Domenica, fear that I've been the helicopter mom, Irene and am
Debbie Maskus
Mar 29, 2015 Debbie Maskus rated it really liked it
44 Scotland Street characters create many emotions, especially Bertie, who never grows older than 6-years-old. The stories of Matthew and Elspeth and the triplets amuse the reader with the mixing of the identity of the boys and the sleepless nights until Anna, the nanny arrives. And the names for three little boys provides another laugh. Can anyone imagine growing up as Tobermory or Rognvald? Angus and Domenica waver between getting married and deciding where to live, as Pat runs into Bruce, and ...more
Dec 05, 2011 Adrienne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I usually only give 5 stars to books that are life-changing in some way & I give 4 stars to books that I enjoy with all my heart, but that probably but that don't leave a profound or lasting impact. I notice that I have generally given 4 stars to most of the AMS books that I have read, but I now realize that even though no one of his books has had a profound impact on me, when taken in aggregate, they have made me want to be a nobler, kinder and less complicated human being. And in the ...more
Nov 12, 2013 Libby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I continue to look forward to and read each and every book that Alexander McCall Smith writes, knowing that it will be pleasant, like eating a nice dessert, I'm mildly disappointed at the end because while I still enjoy the characters and am interested in their positive growth and development (or their hardening of character and stagnation, in some cases), I no longer feel edified by the little nuggets of philosophy and wisdom I've found in previous books (especially the Isabel ...more
Oct 21, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it
It was so good to hear from these characters that have now become like old friends of mine. I was very pleased to read that Bertie continues to work at freeing himself from the plans of his overbearing mother, Irene. He decides that he will start anew by putting himself up for adoption. It is not that he does not love his family, he just needs to make some changes. The other story lines that are taken up once again are equally entertaining: Angus and Domenica are figuring out how they will merge ...more
Dec 04, 2013 Julie rated it it was amazing
You know how soup always tastes better the longer it sits? That's how I feel about this 44 Scotland Street series. The characters are like unique vegetables that are tasting better and better the longer that they sit in the pot together. Bertie is suspended in early primary school and the other people from his neighborhood have moved forward. Matthew and Elspeth have triplets. Angus and Domenica are getting married. Some are spinning in space but, they all are so grand. McCall Smith is one of ...more
Sep 10, 2014 Olga rated it really liked it
I am addicted to 44 Scotland street and to Corduroy Mansions series. i have read all other Mc Call-Smith series too, starting with the
No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. But this one is my favorite.
So yes, Bertie plays the blues. He is still not yet 7, despite "The Importance of Being Seven". He is more and more unhappy with his mother, and is actually trying to get out from under her power. This book also has a birth (or three!) and a wedding (no spoilers), Very very pleasant, sweet, kind, with fami
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What can I say? I continue to love these amusing, gentle and, yes, overused as it may be, charming books and their characters. This offering was every bit as delightful. Bertie takes drastic measures to improve his home life and he's not the only one taking a stand with his rigid mum (I so want to learn her back story, there has to be a reason behind her method and madness). The triplets arrive, an au pair is desperately summoned. Wedding plans proceed. Bruce makes a packet but no friends. Pat ...more
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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what ...more
More about Alexander McCall Smith...

Other Books in the Series

44 Scotland Street (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • 44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street, #1)
  • Espresso Tales (44 Scotland Street, #2)
  • Love Over Scotland (44 Scotland Street, #3)
  • The World According to Bertie (44 Scotland Street, #4)
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Scones (44 Scotland Street, #5)
  • The Importance of Being Seven (44 Scotland Street, #6)
  • Sunshine on Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street, #8)
  • Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers (44 Scotland Street, #9)
  • The Revolving Door of Life (44 Scotland Street, #10)
  • The Bertie Project (44 Scotland Street #11)

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