Q&A with Alexander McCall Smith discussion

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Scotland Street

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Liane | 3 comments Hello and greetings from Canada! Thank you for continuing to write such interesting stories about (what is often) ordinary life. A couple of years ago, I visited Edinburgh to see some friends; I had a wonderful trip, but bad timing: while I was away, I missed your talk at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario (my alma mater). However, I did win a copy of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency that you must have signed during that visit, so thank you for that as well!

Onto my question. I'm still catching up on the series, so forgive me if I've missed something, but will we ever find out what happened during Pat's disastrous, mysterious gap year in Australia?

Curious minds want to know. Australian minds, too...?


Laura (digifish_books) I love the '44 Scotland St' series and am excited that the next instalment, The Importance of Being Seven will be released in July!


Alice (AliceG) | 1 comments I absolutely adore the 44 Scotland Street series. It is certainly my favourite. I would like to echo Liane's question of will we find out what happened during Pat's disasterous year out in Australia. My mind is creating all sorts of ideas and it would be great to find out what really happened!

Do you know how many books in this series you will be writing? I will be very sad when it comes to an end! I love Bertie and family. His parents remind a little bit of Mrs Bucket and Richard from Keeping up Appearances in so far as Bertie's mum is the very dominant person in the relationship! They always make me laugh :-)


Cel Jel | 2 comments I love the 44 Scotland Street Series, and feel so sorrie for Bertie, and have seen too many like Bruce in my life.
I also would like to know what happened in the gap year, as I think it is unfair that it happened in Australia.


Melanie | 1 comments I just visited Edinburgh for the first time (and loved it, by the way) and made sure to visit the Cumberland Bar. I think I may have seen Bruce in the back corner...

Thank you for writing such enjoyable novels with so many beloved (and plan interesting) characters. I was lucky enough to meet you at BEA about 5 or 6 years ago in Chicago and you were so kind.


Annette | 1 comments I am desperate for something wonderful to happen to Bertie and his father. It would be so good for Bertie to get away from his tiresome mother for another little adventure and to get a pair of jeans of his own.......Please for Bertie's sake.


Elizabeth S. (elizs) | 1 comments I also love the "44 Scotland Street" series. I started and finished "Love Over Scotland" during a long layover at MSP (on my way to Gatwick). I like the way the chapters are set up; I have my favorite characters (Bertie & his dad, Pat, Matthew, Big Lou), but can quickly skim over the chapters involving the characters I'm less attached to.

I'm wondering what the real story is about Bertie's brother. I know they say it's not the psychiatrist's son, but I still wonder . . . I love how you address it but don't really give a straight answer.


Liane | 3 comments There seem to be many mysteries in Scotland Street... Pat's first gap year, Matthew's bad time at school, Ulysses' dubious parentage, why Irene is the way that she is, etc. Everyone has their secret histories, even in fiction. I don't think we'll ever know them all!

Still, Pat has thrown out too many tantalizing clues for me not to wonder. :)


Ellie (wwwgoodreadscomprofileEllie) | 7 comments This is such a delicious series! I have been ordering copies from the UK; I'm far too eager to wait for the US publication dates. I particularly enjoy Bruce's narcissism and Bertie's and Stuart's small triumphs over Irene. This is the series in which I love to loath certain characters! Two comments: could Big Lou PLEASE dump her Jacobean boyfriend? Also, thank you for Angus Lordie and Domenica McDonald and the strong friendship theme. I cry at the end of each book as the friends gather for their dinner party and Angus reads his beautiful poetry. Such a bittersweet ending to each book!


Sharon | 1 comments These books are wonderful and I anxiously await each one. Some characters are more compelling than others, but the mix is great. At the end of the last book I felt almost sick when Bertie's new psychiatrist misunderstood his situation and decided he needed further therapy--poor Bertie, he just can't catch a break! Also I really need to know what happened to the puppies. I can't believe Angus would turn them over to what appears to be a food use and not follow up on his feelings of guilt. Anyway, I was very disappointed your recent book signing in Raleigh NC had to be canceled because of the volcanic eruption and look forward to you visiting our city sometime in the future.


Alexander McCall Smith (Alexander_McCall_Smith) | 134 comments Mod
Liane wrote: "Hello and greetings from Canada! Thank you for continuing to write such interesting stories about (what is often) ordinary life. A couple of years ago, I visited Edinburgh to see some friends; I ha..."
Dear Liane, I very much enjoyed my visit to Kingston, and I'm very proud indeed to be an honorary graduate of Queen's! As far as Pat's disastrous gap year in Australia is concerned: she was given a job in a call centre for refrigerator users - and then found that she was stuck there, virtually kidnapped, for three months. She had to share a room with a very tedious young woman who had only one topic of conversation: her boyfriend, Martin. After that job she got another post which involved testing cosmetic products to see if they caused skin reactions. They did. AMcS
All best, AMcS


Alexander McCall Smith (Alexander_McCall_Smith) | 134 comments Mod
Alice wrote: "I absolutely adore the 44 Scotland Street series. It is certainly my favourite. I would like to echo Liane's question of will we find out what happened during Pat's disasterous year out in Austral..."
Dear Alice, Please see above reply. As for the number of books in this series, I shall shortly be publishing the sixth book and there will be more. I do not know how many! Best wishes, AMcS


Alexander McCall Smith (Alexander_McCall_Smith) | 134 comments Mod
Cel wrote: "I love the 44 Scotland Street Series, and feel so sorrie for Bertie, and have seen too many like Bruce in my life.
I also would like to know what happened in the gap year, as I think it is unfair..."


Dear Cel, Bruce is a very common type! Best avoided. AMcS


Alexander McCall Smith (Alexander_McCall_Smith) | 134 comments Mod
Melanie wrote: "I just visited Edinburgh for the first time (and loved it, by the way) and made sure to visit the Cumberland Bar. I think I may have seen Bruce in the back corner...

Thank you for writing such enj..."


Dear Melanie, Thanks very much. It probably was Bruce you saw - he's often there. AMcS


Alexander McCall Smith (Alexander_McCall_Smith) | 134 comments Mod
Annette wrote: "I am desperate for something wonderful to happen to Bertie and his father. It would be so good for Bertie to get away from his tiresome mother for another little adventure and to get a pair of jean..."

Dear Annette, I would like Bertie to get his freedom, but alas that does not seem to be happening. He might get some jeans though. All best, AMcS


Alexander McCall Smith (Alexander_McCall_Smith) | 134 comments Mod
Elizabeth wrote: "I also love the "44 Scotland Street" series. I started and finished "Love Over Scotland" during a long layover at MSP (on my way to Gatwick). I like the way the chapters are set up; I have my fav..."

Dear Elizabeth, I remain very doubtful about Bertie's brothers; paternity. There are some very strong resemblances to Dr Fairbairn - very strong ... AMcS


Alexander McCall Smith (Alexander_McCall_Smith) | 134 comments Mod
Ellie wrote: "This is such a delicious series! I have been ordering copies from the UK; I'm far too eager to wait for the US publication dates. I particularly enjoy Bruce's narcissism and Bertie's and Stuart's s..."
Dear Ellie, Each time I finish one of these books I feel very sad too! Domenica and Angus will become closer, by the way. All best, AMcS


Alexander McCall Smith (Alexander_McCall_Smith) | 134 comments Mod
Sharon wrote: "These books are wonderful and I anxiously await each one. Some characters are more compelling than others, but the mix is great. At the end of the last book I felt almost sick when Bertie's new psy..."

Dear Sharon, Cyril's puppies are fine. They are now performing dogs in an Irish travelling circus. All best, AMcS


Christina | 1 comments Hello AMcS
I spotted a semi-colon !
Now I am reassured that you personally reply to each :)
I would never have known the importance of owning a Spode teacup, had i not read your Scotland series.
I also enjoy going to my old Collins english dictionary for words I have never seen before - it's like finding nuggets of gold!
Christina


LynnB Hi from the Pacific Northwest of the US! I absolutely love this series! Little Bertie is my favorite. I'm glad to see from reading the above that another book is coming out soon....I have it on my to-read list now. Your writing is so fun to read! I feel like I'm right there. I wish I had read these before I had visited Scotland (back in the 70s). It would have been fun to imagine the story while actually in location.


Alexander McCall Smith (Alexander_McCall_Smith) | 134 comments Mod
Christina wrote: "Hello AMcS
I spotted a semi-colon !
Now I am reassured that you personally reply to each :)
I would never have known the importance of owning a Spode teacup, had i not read your Scotland series..."


Dear Christina, Semi-cooons are terrifically useful. As are Spode teacups - I do hope you've bought yourself one! AMcS


Alexander McCall Smith (Alexander_McCall_Smith) | 134 comments Mod
LynnB wrote: "Hi from the Pacific Northwest of the US! I absolutely love this series! Little Bertie is my favorite. I'm glad to see from reading the above that another book is coming out soon....I have it on ..."

Thank you very much. perhaps another trip to Scotland? You coudl visit Scotland Street (a real place) although I can;t guarantee a meeting with Bertie. All best, Sandy


Faith2 | 2 comments A note to the author - If nothing else, I would rather like the long suffering Bertie to finally be liberated from his crushed strawberry dungarees.

Kindest regards


Vickie | 1 comments Annette wrote: "I am desperate for something wonderful to happen to Bertie and his father. It would be so good for Bertie to get away from his tiresome mother for another little adventure and to get a pair of jean..."

I agree! I was pleased in "Unbearable Lightness of Scones" that Dr Fairbanks went away and he was able to join scouts. But why continue to torment him with Olive? Why cant his mother get hit by the #23 bus? Or his Dad finds out about Ulysses's parentage & lays down the law to the evil mother. I hope in the next book Bertie gets a nice life with sustained changes. He deserves so much better than he gets!


Alexander McCall Smith (Alexander_McCall_Smith) | 134 comments Mod
In the next book, The Importance of Being Seven, Bertie goes fishing with his father. They have various adventures and he gets a glimpse of what might be, if life were otherwise. All best, AMcS


barbaa hotchkiss (barbaralou28) | 1 comments Great I love keeping up with Bertie and his father.


Julrobs | 5 comments I'm so glad to hear that Bertie's dad is being the dad he needs to be for Bertie! I look forward to receiving my bk in summer! I order it from the UK, so I can get it sooner!
I"m about to finish the latest African bk, and I'm only reading a few pages, so it will last!
Thank you for letting us enjoy your talent with these bks!


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