To the casual observer, the great enlightened city of Edinburgh, home of no-nonsense sermons and cream teas, might appear immune to the rollercoaster of strong emotions. But at 44 Scotland Street, as Matthew and Elspeth embark on the risky enterprise of married love, the raffish portrait painter Angus Lordie has a premonition of disaster. Soon enough Irene Pollock is shocked to learn that her small son Bertie harbours a highly unsuitable ambition; and Angus finds himself facing a large Glaswegian gangster bearing gifts . . .