A Promise of Ankles by Alexander McCall Smith, a review by Myrna Robins…

A Promise of Ankles by Alexander McCall Smith

I always consider myself so fortunate that I have a friendship with Myrna Robins. She is a seasoned Journalist, Writer on Food and Wine, published Author, Cookery Competition Judge and and and…

I like her style of writing and the information  she digs out confirms the journalist within her. Myrna and her husband live in the little country town of McGregor.

Read on to find out what she thinks of A Promise of Ankles.

As an academic who has written more than 100 books on a variety of subjects he is surely unique. As Professor Emeritus of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh McCall Smith also holds honorary doctorates from 13 universities, which could present another record  achievement. While South Africans may know him best from the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, set in Botswana,  his 44 Scotland Street titles are described as the “world longest-running serial novel.”

No 1 Ladies Detective Agency – 12 million copies sold

Which brings us to this, the latest title concerning a diverse group of citizens sharing an address in Drummond Place, or at least the gardens. Angus, an artist, is married to Domenica, a cultural anthropologist whose academic theories are never far from the surface. Their dog Cyril is an important member of the household, with one unfortunate habit – he cannot resist nipping an ankle that shows itself beneath the trousers of any wearer.

Alexander McCall Smith, Professor Emeritus of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh

Another flat is shared by five students, with handsome affable Torquil as the spokesman.

Stuart Pollock hopes he has got rid of his nagging, annoying, feminist wife Irene, so he can focus on his new girlfriend Katie while Nicola, his mother, is even more delighted to see the back of Irene. Central to their lives are the triplets Rognvold, Fergus and Tobermory.

Sister Maria-Fiore dei Fiori di Montagna is a nun who shares the Drummond Place gardens and lives with Antonia whom she had nursed back to health in Tuscany before leaving the church and moving to Scotland.

Neanderthal Skull

Briefly, Cyril disappears into a thicket on a walk with Angus  , and uncovers what looks like an ancient skull in a cave.  Back at home Domenica is astonished to find that it resembles a Neanderthal skull, and notifies the National Museum of Scotland who send a representative to examine it. He carries it off to be photographed in Glasgow but leaves it on the bus by mistake. It is found there by sister Maria Fiore who throws it in the rubbish bin.

This is a novel where the plot is of little importance: We are immersed in the lives and conversations of the inhabitants of the flats, who spend much time discussing philosophy, parenting, poetry and more, as they move forward with their lives. The author’s droll humour engages the reader of these intertwined portraits in McCall Smith’s unique and  inimitable manner .

Myrna Robins

A PROMISE OF ANKLES by Alexander McCall Smith. Published by Abacus, London, 2020

Click HERE to read more about Abacus Publishing.




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