Monday, 24 September 2012

The Unbearable Lightness of Scones, by Alexander McCall Smith

Everyone's favourite character in this series is surely Bertie, the precocious but loveable child of dotty Irene.  Poor Bertie, just when we think he might escape the dreaded psychoanalysis he drops himself in it with talk of imaginary eagles.  That's a shame because Dr Fairbairn, with his uncanny likeness to Bertie's brother Ulysses, has left the therapy practice to sit on a chair somewhere - or so Bertie thinks - and his replacement, the nice Dr Sinclair, was beginning to think that Bertie was a normal, well-adjusted 6 year old (considering his mother) until Bertie launches into a discussion of his imaginary world. Bless him.

Elsewhere, Matthew, who frankly does need a good woman to sort him out, finally finds a girl who will marry him,  and returns from honeymoon with some help from a marine mammal.  Vain Bruce, also with matrimony on his mind, at last sees the error of his womanising ways when he is dumped.  It seems a bit of his own medicine is a shock to the system and he emerges from the experience a changed man - or does he? Something about Bruce's reform doesn't quite ring true and I wonder if this will last.

The saga of the blue Spode cup continues in the building where Domenica and Angus reside, providing a backdrop to Angus' daily life where - there must be something in the air - his thoughts turn to the possibility of proposing to Domenica, who seems to be the only woman who might have him. Somehow, amongst all this, Domenica's neighbour Antonia becomes known as a dealer of illicit substances.

This kind of gentle chaos is what we have come to expect of the prolific Alexander McCall Smith.  Hugely entertaining, this instalment, as usual, not only provides philosophical thought, but its comedy also provokes much smirking and tittering (beware if reading in public).  Long may it continue.