I was searching for a particular book when I visited my library last week - I wasn't exactly sure what the book was which made the search a little difficult! I needed a book that wasn't too intense - something I could read before going to sleep that wouldn't keep me thinking too much and yet not "fluff" either.
Then I saw 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith - I read the first page and was hooked - the search was over. I had read a couple of the books in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series by the same author quite some time ago now and I remember really enjoying them (not sure why I didn't keep reading the rest of the series really?) so I thought this new series was worth a try.
McCall Smith first wrote 44 Scotland Street as a serialised novel in the Scottish newspaper The Scotsman - it was extremely successful so the novel of the serial was born (and 4 sequels as well). The novel is set in Edinburgh and follows the rather ordinary, but at times extraordinary, lives of a set of characters and their numerous associates, friends and foes, living in the apartments of 44 Scotland Street.
I have to say from the beginning that I adore books set in the UK - absolutely love reading about the lives of people living here (even if they are fictional!) so this book did grab me from the start simply because of this. Even without the setting though, the author's writing style is so engaging you just want to keep digging deeper and deeper into the plot and the character's personalities and actions. It's as though McCall Smith is telling the story just to you - he knows what you want to hear about next and he never rests too long on one setting or one character.
I loved this book completely - totally gorgeous is how I would describe it! I'm already on to the sequel - Expresso Tales.