Changes are afoot in Scotland Street, where small things can be of great consequence. A colossal embarrassment follows Pat Macgregor’s ill-advised coffee with narcissistic ex-boyfriend Bruce. If Matthew, her boss at the art gallery, hadn’t wandered into his local bookshop and picked up a particular book at a particular time, he would never have knocked over his former English teacher or attracted the attention of the police.
Meanwhile, other residents are moving onwards and upwards. Stuart’s application for promotion and his wife Irene’s decision to study for a PhD in Aberdeen mean alterations to life in serial fiction’s favourite street. But, as Stuart’s son Bertie finds out, sometimes change can lead to sudden, unexpected happiness too.
Alexander McCall Smith’s delightfully witty, wise and sometimes surreal comedy spirals out to include bogus head-hunters in Papua New Guinea, an exchange visit of Rwandan forest people and the adventures of a class of seven-year-olds with Waiting for Godot. And its heart remains where it has always been – true to life, love and laughter in Edinburgh’s New Town.