Bertie Plays the Blues

Bertie Plays the Blues

Bertie Plays the BluesBy Alexander McCall Smith, NewSouthBooks, $29.95

If Precious Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is the Alexander McCall Smith character I most admire, six-year-old Bertie Pollack is the one I most want to help.

The latest of McCall Smith’s popular Scotland Street novels finally gives us a sliver of hope that Bertie will not lose his childhood completely to his obnoxiously intellectual mother.

His neighbours are going through their own personal upheavals: Big Lou is looking for love with an Elvis Presley impersonator, a handsome charming threat to the engagement of Angus and Domenica comes knocking, and Elspeth and Matthew adjust to life with triplets and the nudist colony next door.

If you like to read in bed and are not looking for anything too taxing or depressing, McCall Smith’s novels are perfect.

Bertie Plays the Bluesis another philosophical and warm offering from Edinburgh’s most loved export after shortbread and tartan.

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