Book Review: Love in the Time of Bertie by Alexander McCall Smith

Love in the Time of Bertie was a library book I borrowed with The Book Share by Phaedra Patrick. My regular readers will know that Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favourite authors. Love in the Time of Bertie is the most recent book in the 44 Scotland Street series about a precocious child living in Edinburgh. There are many characters, who will be familiar from earlier books in the series described as ‘the world’s longest-running serial novel’. It was published in November 2021.

Photo of the library book. Alexander McCall Smith A 44 Scotland Street Novel Love in the time of Bertie.
Picture is of a dark blue sky with waves and swirls, a decorated kite flies above the title. It has a red tail pointing to a crescent of city buildings in front of which a boy is holding the string

New readers would not have any trouble joining the story part way through. I haven’t read every episode. The last page tickled me almost as much as some of the incidents. ‘THE END’ was followed by a proviso! The next book in the series is to be published on 3 November 2022.

Other books by Alexander McCall Smith I have read and reviewed:

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party

The Careful Use of Compliments

 The uncommon appeal of clouds

Bertie plays the Blues

Trains and Lovers: The heart’s journey

The Novel Habits of Happiness

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection

Tears of the Giraffe

Precious and the Monkeys Precious Ramotswe’s very first case

Precious and the Mystery of Meerkat Hill A new case for Precious Ramotswe.

The Bertie Project

The Unbearable Lightness of Scones

Your Inner Hedgehog

How to Raise an Elephant

The Pavilion in the Clouds

Three library books I read recently

As I didn’t review any books in April due to the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge, and I am hoping to take part in some blog tours over the next few weeks, I have decided to catch up by posting three short reviews today.

Racing the wind by Patricia Nolan

Cover of Racing the wind

In Racing the wind: A Cumbrian Childhood Patricia Nolan recounts the story of three memorable years from her childhood in a remote village in Cumbria. I borrowed this book from the library and found it well-written and very interesting. As well as descriptions of many diverse characters, the way of life for country folk without access to most of the modern conveniences available in towns and cities is the backdrop for this memoir of a 20th century childhood.

This hardback book is published by Merlin Unwin Books and includes photographs.

The Pavilion in the Clouds by Alexander McCall Smith

Cover of The Pavilion in the Clouds

This novel by the popular and prolific author Alexander McCall Smith is not part of any of his earlier series. The Pavilion in the Clouds is set in Ceylon as Sri Lanka was known at the time of the story. It is a historical novel set in the 20th century. The twists in the story surprised me. There is mystery, deception and all the loose ends are tied up.

This book is also available as an audiobook and for Kindle.

Confessions of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

Cover of Confessions of a bookseller

Like Shaun Bythell’s earlier book, The Diary of a Bookseller, Confessions of a Bookseller is in diary form. It covers the year 2015. Although I couldn’t keep track of the numerous characters, I found this book entertaining and informative. It is available in paperback, audiobook and Kindle.


Book Review: How to Raise an Elephant by Alexander McCall Smith

How to Raise an Elephant was in the new books area of the local library. It was published in 2020. The following (22nd) instalment was published in September 2021.

Cover of the paperback edition of How to Raise an Elephant

As I am part way through at least three nonfiction books How to Raise an Elephant was light relief. I didn’t feel any pressure to read it quickly. This recent addition to The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series fulfilled my expectations. It was calming, entertaining, surprising and wise. The setting of Botswana was used to explore the themes of climate change and sustainability in a different context from more ‘developed’ countries. This added to the interest of the story, raising viewpoints of people, who have missed out on many things taken for granted in the West.

Although I hadn’t read the book(s) immediately before this one in the series, it was easy to follow the story. This is the 14th book by Alexander McCall Smith I have reviewed on Sue’s Trifles. My links to these reviews may be found here.