A Promise of Ankles: 44 Scotland Street, Book 14 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The latest, delectably witty installment of Alexander McCall Smith's sumptuous 44 Scotland Street series.
For the residents of 44 Scotland Street, life in Edinburgh's intriguing New Town is a thing to be relished. After all, there are new faces to excite Domenica's anthropological imagination, precious moments with his triplets for Matthew to savor, and the prospect of a trip to the promised land of Glasgow for young Bertie.
But there are mysteries that need solving, too. Could Angus Lordie's dog Cyril - the only dog in Scotland with a gold tooth - have unearthed a Neanderthal skull? Does the long-suffering Stuart have any hope of kindling a new relationship when Bruce, ever the navel gazer and consummate seducer, effortlessly steps into his pas de deux? And how will the patrons of Big Lou's cafe react to the menu's imminent culinary transformation?
The stories of this wonderfully vibrant cast may take unexpected turns, but the warmth and humor at Scotland's most recognizable address will ultimately affirm the joy life brings us all.
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 56 minutes|
|Author||Alexander McCall Smith|
|Narrator||Robert Ian Mackenzie|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||December 08, 2020|
|Publisher||Recorded Books, Inc.|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #63,772 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#833 in Humorous Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,165 in Cozy Mysteries (Audible Books & Originals)
#4,353 in Humorous Fiction (Books)
Top reviews from the United States
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I missed the warm-hearted Big Lou as a major character in this installment, but I was especially disconcerted to read of Matthew and Elspeth reminiscing about their honeymoon in Jamaica, when they had such a dramatic honeymoon in Australia in *Unbearable Lightness of Scones." It was Angus and Domenica who honeymooned in Jamaica (see *Sunshine on Scotland Street*). Still, with a series this long and complex, some plot irregularities may be inevitable. In any case, Angus would recite a poem to recommend forgiveness, and I can go along with that.
A speedy and pleasurable reading experience in these pandemic days.
I latched onto the search for the crossword puzzle clue "An air force man looks jaunty." I think the disjointed plot bits fit together...this is my 51% maybe....with the theme/topic/spirit of the final poem at the party. For this structural unity--as well as the realistic human portraits and casual references to works like Outlander,, nods to Scott, Burns, Donne, etc, and his other works (I've read most)--I think a 5 star is justified.
SPOILER: Unless I nodded, I don't think the solution Irene claims as child-like easy was ever revealed. It made me read on on the sequence level but also to keep testing how that solution might be revealed or insinuated. I think McCall Smith gently reminds us of that clue throughout the book. "Jaunty" comes up a few times, so do flying/fliers naturally with reference to the Johannesburg non-duke. Everyone is seeking some kind of high flying joy, some more nobly, others more sneakily. With jaunty comes the notion of "free," as the boys and Stuart and others gain some freedoms. I'll admit an early, clunky guess of mine was that somehow "freeway flier" might come into play. But I think Birdsong, with a soaringly free joy, just could be what comes of "air force" and jaunty as a crossword solution. Feel free to shoot me down with your better idea!
I find myself skimming thru many pages of pointless dialogue. There is no meat to any of the story lines. I am not ready to give up on this author after so many wonderful books so I hope this is not a precursor of things to come.
He is a master of the English language and therefore a pleasure to read. His characters are always intriguing, even the ones you love to hate. :)
I dearly love the 44 Scotland Street series, as well as the #1 Ladies Detective Agency, which I consider his masterpiece. It's always difficult waiting until his books are out in paperback!
Top reviews from other countries
Smith of old? It was such a disappointment to read,I kept hoping there would be a spark, but there was not, nothing but damp squibs. There were numerous pages reprising previous text as if the reader were too stupid to remember what had been written in a earlier passage. This is an insulting tactic, used I fear, to fill up pages. Leave this book on the shelf and buy a different novel!
This book was not written for me.
1) There is too much talk and musings and not enough happening. I found myself skipping great swathes of conversation between characters or waffle from the author because it just wasn't interesting. There is also a lot of irrelevant detail - the genealogy of the owners of a hotel Matthew and Elspeth are staying in, for example, is really neither here nor there
2) Too much of what does happen is never followed up - for example, there is a lot at the very beginning about a group of students, or at least one of them, that have moved in to No 44 but other than a brief appearance to wash the common stair we don't see them again until the very end when two of them turn up to Domenica's inevitable party. Irene reappears very briefly but doesn't do much and we never actually see her leave again, though it's assumed that she does. Pat turns up only to give Matthew important news that again, we never hear any more about. Two senior members of the nudist organisation have a conversation, but nothing comes of it.
3) The glaring continuity errors that have been creeping in in recent volumes are exemplified by the author having completely forgotten that Matthew and Elspeth honeymooned in Australia: a couple of chapters are devoted to a flashback of a honeymoon in Jamaica. Meanwhile their children are now three years old, having gone backwards and forwards in the last book, while Bertie is still only 7 and Ulysses still only a pre-verbal baby.
4) I realise the plot and characters are meant to be over the top and unlikely, but suspension of disbelief is sometimes strained too far. What is Sister Maria-Fiore, evidently still a nun, doing away from her convent so long, without any apparent means of support or duties? What could make a nice young woman in a serious relationship be so egregiously rude as to suddenly abandon the man she's with to go off with someone else in mid-date? Nobody would do that to a friend, let alone a lover. Why would somebody trying to learn Gaelic think it would help to listen non-stop to recordings of Kenneth McKellar singing in English?
So, not really a success. I think AMS has run out of steam with this series and it's time he gave it up. It's a shame, because I've really enjoyed it up till now.