Reading 44 Scotland Street after some pretty tough books was pretty much the literary equivalent of comfort eating. Alexander McCall Smith, probably best known for his No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, has a way of writing that is funny, strangely comforting and keeps you engaged, despite not very much happening.This novel was originally seralised in The Scotsman newspaper, and is set in Edinburgh, pretty much my favourite place. It follows the lives of the people primarily living in 44 Scotland Street. There’s Pat, a young woman on her second gap year after an unknown disaster in Australia who becomes a roommate of Bruce, a self-obsessed & self-confident chartered surveyor. Then there’s Irene Pollock, pushy parent of poor five year old Bertie, who speaks Italian and plays saxophone. Finally there’s Domenica Macdonald, the wise woman whose friendship becomes important to Pat. There are also numerous other colourful characters; such as Big Lou the coffee shop owner, Angus Lordie the artist and Matthew the gallery owner.I loved pretty much all the characters; even the ones that I hated. One character who I found most amusing was probably Irene; who interpreted her sons resistance towards learning saxophone, and having a pink bedroom, in various Freudian ways. McCall Smith also really bought to life the city of Edinburgh; which I really loved.44 Scotland Street doesn’t pretend to be anything other than it is, which is fun, lively and almost relaxing. However, I liked the characters so much that I snapped up the second in the series (there are currently seven) Espresso Tales. If you’re after something light and fluffy, then this is the novel for you.