As always, McCall Smith delivers! A writer of deceptive simplicity...his stories always feel like very little is happening, yet they are so packed with humorous and gently wise observations, discoveries and observations about human frailties and foibles. He is such a generous writer in his humane view of the world...I always feel good reading his books.
If you've never read a Scotland Street book, PLEASE do yourself a favor and go back to the beginning. By this point in the series, the assumption is VERY strong that you are quite familiar with the characters and where they left off in the overall plot. You'd miss an awful lot if you started here, and besides, the books are so much fun, you should treat yourself to the whole series.
If you have read, rest assured that this is more of the same. Bernie, the "hero" of the books in my opinion, has more troubles...this time, his grandmother comes to help take care of him while is mother is "out of town" (I don't want to spoil, but if you're a fan, you know the reason Irene is out of Scotland). Bertie is trying to enjoy finally being another year older, but there are always minor obstacles in his way. Matt and his family deal with a move. Dominica and Angus have minor marital issues. Etc. Nothing truly revelatory happens to anyone, and yet this visit to the inner lives of these characters, plus checking in on the few things that DO happen is just so delightful.
Frankly, you either get McCall Smith's books or you don't. They are slight. They move slowly (in a traditional, plot-driven sense). There's no real cursing, violence or sex. In some ways, all the characters sound much the same. I certainly understand why some readers might not care for these books. But if you DO enjoy them...isn't it always a special treat when the new Scotland Street, or Isabel Dalhousie or (best of all) #1 Ladies Detective Agency book comes out! You know you'll laugh a bit, smile a lot, and once in a while, even teeter on the edge of tear. Spending time with Smith is like spending time in your most comfortable clothes. They aren't perfect, but they sure feel NICE.