This book is unusual in layout, since it was originally a serialised novel in The Scotsman. McCall Smith complained about how there were no more serialised novels, such as Dickens', and he was promptly offered the job to write one.
Now, while Dickens wrote in a time when people happily read immense quantities of text with their morning tea (I presume), McCall Smith lives in an age of much shorter attention spans. hence, his chapters are very brief. When reading all the instalments in one swoop, it therefore lacks flow, and comes across as a little too staccato. Although, as usual when reading his work, I really couldn't give an arse about such minor details. It's so much fun. I am in love with the characters and I want more of them. Please write a sequel, Mr. McCall Smith!
Best part: a hymn to Belgium presented to the Church of Scotland. No.. the best part is the cameo of and incessant references to Ian Rankin. I want to read Rankin now, and I never did before - surely that's saying something!