Following on the theme earlier this week of Tartans and Scottie dogs, I bring you the newest book set in Scotland from McCall Smith.

If you have been following the adventures of the precocious five-year old named Bertie who this book is titled for, you will know he is one of the residents at 44 Scotland St, Edinburgh.

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McCall Smith must be one of the most prolific writers I’ve come across, with four series running at this time, with the exception of Nora Roberts, my sister’s fave, who spits out a novel every other week in some genre.

The inhabitants at this address become old friends as you follow the series, and none is more endearing than little Bertie.   A child of extraordinary talents whose mum schedules his life, he plays the saxophone, has conversations in Italian, and takes yoga lessons, all the while yearning to play with other little boys and perhaps ride a train.  The addition of a new baby brother hardly distracts his mum at all from her predestined plans for the little tyke.

McCall also advances the stories of the other occupants:

Domenica, the anthropologist, whose great friend is Angus, the portrait painter.  Angus is never without his dog friend, Cyril, and we occasionally are privy to Cyril’s thoughts, so you know Auntie M loves him.

There is Pat, a young student who works at an art gallery with the shy Matthew;

Brian, a narcissistic toy boy who may just have met his match in this book;

and a host of others whose lives are explored in installments that are first published in the Edinburgh newspaper serially.

This series is filled with locales, name-dropping, neighborhoods and celebrities, so anyone enjoying Scotland at all will feel they have been for a visit.  (Trying To Be Greener check these out!)

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