by Alexander McCall Smith.
In the third volume of the 44 Scotland Street series, the adventure continues. Domenica ended up trying to make an anthropological study of pirates in the Straits of Malacca, but found a different species of pirate in a storyline which ended up being a prolonged shaggy dog story.
Angus took a dislike to Antonia Collie, who was looking after Domenica’s flat while she was away and then invited her to a disastrous dinner party. Cyril got dognapped, but managed to escape and was found by someone who knew whose dog he was. And while Angus was painting Ramsey Dunbarton’s portrait (he of the dull, badly remembered autobiography), his sitter died in mid sentence.
Irene dragged Bertie off to enrol in the Edinburgh Teenage Orchestra which he joined in spite of his attempt to sabotage his audition. That resulted in a trip to Paris where Bertie, without his mother, was left behind when the orchestra returned to Scotland. He earnt some money from busking, and went to a lecture with some university students. When Irene came to Paris to collection Bertie, she assumed that he had been traumatised, and Dr Fairbairn assumed that all his friends were imaginary.
Pat showed her usual insight into men and took an interest in Wolf, but became the butt of a deception perpetrated on her by him and his girlfriend, Tessie. Matthew came to the rescue by offering her a room in his flat, and eventually they became an item in spite of Domenica’s warning about their age difference.
Eddie came back into Big Lou’s life and having borrowed a large sum of money, turned out to be a bad ’un. With Lou thinking about closing up shop and returning to Arbroath, Matthew had Stuart take him to see Lard O’Connor in Glasgow. Lard not only sorted the matter out, but seemed to take a shine to Lou.
No Bruce in this volume.
Like the first two volumes, I think the stories are better read on a daily basis as they would’ve been published in The Scotsman. As I said, Domenica’s tale was a prolonged shaggy dog story to which I have no objections, but I’m not sure that recounting what happened while she was away was really relevant to Scotland Street. If McCall Smith was going to write about what happened to Domenica, he might also have covered Bruce’s absence in London. (But, I know that there’s also a Corduroy Mansions series set in London; perhaps that’s where Bruce was.)