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The Enigma of Garlic: A 44 Scotland Street Novel

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Little does Bertie know that his horrible mother, Irene, has returned to Edinburgh. She claims she has changed for the better. Her affair with the psychiatrist has ended. Bertie's father, Stuart, once under the domination of Irene, is now under his mother's control. His mother forbids Irene to stay in the family home. Has Irene possibly changed, and how will Bertie react to her return?

The Enigma of Garlic by Alexander McCall Smith | Goodreads The Enigma of Garlic by Alexander McCall Smith | Goodreads

The last chapter ran today in The Scotsman. It’s becoming a fall tradition of mine to read along as Alexander McCall Smith publishes one chapter a day in the newspaper from September through November, and then releases the book at the end. Ok. AMcS. I need a little word with you. I love these books and I have become increasingly fond of several of the characters and three of them Bertie , Big Lou and Cyril the dog aren’t particularly well served in this instalment. And frankly I felt was all a bit rushed.

I always like these books, but this one seemed unfinished …stories not as fleshed out or left at the beginning ..mainly, Irene! ..and there are touches of Bruce’s old self peeking through ..it will be a long wait, again! Following all sixteen books in the series is like catching up with old friends. These are comfortable, relaxing books told with wit, humour, wisdom, and a quiet philosophy to ponder. I always look forward to the newest edition. There was a limited amount of actual character development with a few exceptions. I felt too much time was spent in conversations between inhabitants of Scotland Street with debates about serious or profound subjects. Thought-provoking philosophies were revealed, and even arguments about trivial matters.

The Enigma of Garlic - Goodreads Carolyn Walsh ’s review of The Enigma of Garlic - Goodreads

Every chapter was a little gift of philosophy, gentle humor, and kindness. I loved the theme of "change". I can honestly say that reading this book series (and this book in particular) makes me want to be a better person. I think my favorite author, Alexander McCall Smith, is just getting more profound with age.

When Irene turns up at the Scotland Street flat without advance notice, readers will be cheering Nicola on as she handles the unwelcome arrival, but that doesn’t go quite how either woman expects; Bertie is booked into summer-camp, and hopes he will be allowed a penknife; Elspeth lies to Matthew, and they both spend quite some time agonising over it. As for Bruce, I am left wondering how long this new persona will last. Not to be too much of a pessimist, and I do believe people can change, but … really?? The story begins with a celebration of the wedding of Big Lou and Fat Bob. She is too busy running her restaurant and cooking her famous bacon rolls to consider a honeymoon. Fat Bob is frequently absent. Rumours are that he is having an affair and is sighted with another woman. We learn that the busybody Italian nun, Sister Marie Fiore dei Flori de Montegna was a member of the Vatican's secret spy organization. She is determined to discover the truth about Big Bob being unfaithful and may stir up more heartache for Big Lou.

The Enigma of Garlic : Alexander McCall Smith - Pinterest The Enigma of Garlic : Alexander McCall Smith - Pinterest

Can we really believe that both Bruce and Irene have reformed into more humble, reasonable human beings? At least Olive is still as odious as ever! But poor Bertie. I hope he stands up to her before too long. At least he has his friend Ranald and the prospect of Glasgow to look forward to. Every autumn, I look forward to the latest installment of 44 Scotland St. Reading each book is like sitting down with old friends to discuss what’s been going on in their lives and their spheres of influence. This latest installment was a delight. As always, Alexander McCall Smith has incorporated some tension into several of the plot lines within this book with resolutions that involve, as his plots usually do, characters who choose to act with kindness, humility, and concern for others. Even Bruce and Irene. to a sleepaway camp—a most unappealing proposition. She also manages to come between the enigmatic nun, Sister Maria-Fiore dei Fiori di Montagna, and her dear friend, Antonia Collie.Olive and Pansy indulge in cancel culture but are unable to get Tofu to react as intended; Irene coins the term “toxic caninity” with reference to the gold-toothed Cyril; Sister Maria-Fiore reveals a past in the Vatican’s Intelligence Service and puts it to good use in discovering the truth about Fat Bob. I really hope Big Lou’s marriage holds up — she certainly deserves some happiness — although I have my doubts about her new husband. And I want to scream at Stuart “What the hell are you doing?” It’s the most anticipated event of the decade—Big Lou and Fat Bob’s wedding—and everyone is invited! But the relative peace and tranquillity of 44 Scotland Street is about to be disrupted. Domineering Irene is set to return for a two-month stay, consigning young Bertie to a summer camp. Not content with that, she somehow manages to come between the enigmatic nun, Sister Maria-Fiore dei Fiori di Montagna, and her friend, the hagiographer, Antonia Collie.

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