Alexander McCall Smith

A Promise of Ankles: A 44 Scotland Street Novel

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At the bottom of a sharply descending street - in the topographical sense - in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town, new residents have moved in to number 44 Scotland Street, joining the already well-known and much-loved denizens of that remarkable building. They appear to be a bit of a mystery, but so, too, do other things. What exactly did Sister Maria-Fiore, the aphorism-coining socialite nun, find on the No. 23 bus? Could it be the remains of a hitherto unknown Neanderthal, homo Watsoniensis? On the romantic front, long-suffering Stuart's hopes of kindling a new relationship are dashed, thanks to chino-wearing narcissist Bruce, effortlessly exercising his powers of charm. The Promised Land beckons for Bertie who is off to Glasgow for a school exchange that takes him doon the watter. Back in Edinburgh, the Duke of Johannesburg's desire to learn a new language, involving his Gaelic-speaking driver Padruig, has gone horribly wrong; to be immersed in a language, it seems, can be a captivating linguistic mistake. And the patrons of Big Lou's cafe are in for a gastronomic treat. In other words, everything in Edinburgh is absolutely normal.