I always compare this series to Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City. I read in the prologue to this book that Smith actually consulted with Maupin before he began this series -which originally appeared as a serial in a local publication. So, that explains that - and makes me feel like I'm not so crazy in having sensed the similarities. The Scottish melodrama continues in this one, and with each passing book, I realize that my main interest in this series is 6-year old Bertie and his exasperating relationship with this controlling mother. I've grown a bt tired of self-centered Bruce and the couple older characters...but this may be a function of the fact that I need to space the books out and read them at the pace they were intended to be read.