28 Sep 2017



INNER FRONT COVER (Like the First Sentence this contains what might be considered spoilers. Simply scroll over to reveal the text should you wish to read the full synopsis. TT)There are few things more important to a six-year-old than the prospect of being seven. Bertie, 44 Scotland Street's resident prodigy, is anxious to set aside the foolish things of his childhood - Italian language classes, the saxophone and psychotherapy - for the serious business of playing rugby, going on camping trips and being a 'real' boy. Standing in his way, though, is the formidable Irene set on further improvement of her first-born. But perhaps fate is about to intervene ...

Bertie and the familiar cast of characters are back in this latest instalment of the bestselling 44 Scotland Street series. Matthew is grappling with fatherhood and the perils of house-hunting in the grander parts of Georgian Edinburgh; Big Lou dispenses cakes and home-baked wisdom in her cafe; whilst Angus and Domenica plan the trip of a lifetime to Italy. But great art can be a dangerous thing if care is not taken, and Stendhal syndrome is endemic in Florence and ready to claim another victim ...

FIRST SENTENCE {1: NOTHING BUT TENDERNESS}: If there was one thing about marriage that surprised Matthew, it was just how quickly he became accustomed to it.

MEMORABLE RANDOM MOMENT{PAGE 119}: "Are you going to live?" It was a risky question, the answer might well have been no.

"Yes, I'm going to live."

"So it's not that bad, is it, hen?"

He looked again in the mirror and winked. He was right. Of course it was not that bad.

"No," she said. "It's not. It's just that ... just that I'm going to have triplets."

He was silent for a moment. "Oh michty!" he said. "I was wrong. It is bad!"

SOURCE: Ex-library stock.

READ FOR: Book 18 of 24 read for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2017.

MY THOUGHTS: The only one of this author's series of books that I have actually enjoyed and, even then, though I'd happily pick up a copy should one come my way, I'd not go out of my way to actually purchase a copy.

Having only previously read the first book in the series, I then jumped to this, the sixth instalment ... naughty of me I know but then I'm not adverse to reading a series out of order and besides which, I rather like to think of myself as one of the residents of Scotland Street who, having been away for some time, has now returned and is catching up with all of the gossip.

Like I posted in my review of the first book ...

 nothing much actually happens and when it does its all rather mundane  and, well, 'middle class'. But don't let that put you off, the beauty of this book lies in its humour ...'

Except with The Importance Of Being Seven ...

Whilst essentially an OK read, for me personally, the humour was somewhat lacking in this instalment. Or was it just, Bertie and family aside, I found myself if not totally disinterested, then certainly not as interested in the other characters as I had been? That I'd have happily skipped all of the chapters featuring the other residents in favour of focusing on the 'child genius' as he turns seven?


Kelly said...

As you know, I'm a great fan of this author's Botswana series and have enjoyed a couple of stand-alones. I did read the first (I must read books in order!) in another series of his, but it didn't thrill me enough to pursue further. I have a feeling this series would be the same for me.

At least you're ticking off books for the TBR challenge.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I have never read any Mccall smith books, although they always sound intriguing whenever they are donated into the charity shop and I get a few moments to read a premise or two.

I am notoriously bad at reading a series, let alone in any kind of order and I think I am put off actually buying one of his books for the reason that they do appear to need to be read in sequence to appreciate them fully.

As usual, I appreciate your honest and considered review. It definitely wouldn't do for us all to enjoy everything we read, or there would be no exchange of views or debate :)


Brian Joseph said...

The plot description sounds good. Too bad that the books was disappointing. I find that humor in a book is tricky. An author can so easily miss with it.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry that this book was disappointing,
but as usual I appreciate your honesty about
it. Perhaps I would appreciate the first book
of the series.

Suko said...

Tracy, I have read many of the books in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, but none from this series. Thank you again for sharing your honest thoughts.

Melliane said...

Too bad it wasn't a bit more there

Karen Alderman said...

"Having only previously read the first book in the series, I then jumped to this, the sixth installment" Wild child! lol

For What It's Worth

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Tracy, I’m sad to say I’ve never really enjoyed reading anything by Alexander McCall Smith. I always trust your judgement, so I won’t waste time on this one, especially as there are so many books I’m longing to read.

Nick Wilford said...

I've never read anything by him, not averse to it, but then there are lots of books I haven't read. This review hasn't moved the series any closer to my radar. Thanks for the honest thoughts!

Tracy Terry said...

Hi Nick, Many thanks for stopping by Pen and Paper.

Literary Feline said...

I adore the cover of this one! I've enjoyed many of this author's other books and might like this one too.