Thursday, 5 July 2018

The Quiet Side of Passion (The Isabel Dalhousie Series) by Alexander McCall Smith

Hardback:  Isabel's manner had changed.  She remembered something:  "cover hatred and fear with love and delight, and with innocent things.  With love and delight, and with innocent things."  The trouble was that people were cynical about innocent things, or too embarrassed to celebrate them.  The proponents of confrontation, violence, the acerbic comment, laughed at innocent things, thought them naïve, considered them beneath them.  How easy it was to destroy the civilised structures of the world;  how easy to poison the wells.

It is summer in Edinburgh and Isabel Dalhousie is once again caught between 'gossip' and significant rumour.  It is none of her business that Patricia, the mother of her son Charlie's little friend Basil, is estranged from Basil's father, or that the woman has a somewhat brazen attitude to childcare.

And yet, it is curious.

Isabel, however, has much else on her mind as editor of the Review of Applied Ethics.  Along with the work involved for its impending next issue, she really needs to get her house in order and tend to the demands of her niece, Cat.

Thankfully, the arrival of Antonia, the exuberant Italian au pair, will take care of urgent chores.  And the hiring of Claire, a diligent if unsettlingly beautiful new assistant at the Review, surely means that Isabel can breathe, at least a little.

But her sharp observation and assured role as confidante soon have Isabel doubting all her recent decisions.  What's more, her instinct to help others may have put her in real danger.  In her desire to run both a smooth household and working life, has she simply created more chaos?  Perhaps the quiet side of passion is, after all, the best side on which to be?

The Quiet Side of Passion (2018) is the twelfth book in the delightfully thought-provoking Isabel Dalhousie Novel series set in Edinburgh, Scotland.

About the author:  Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world's most prolific and most popular authors.  For many years, he was a professor of medical law, then, after the publication of his highly successful No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which has sold over twenty-five million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty-six languages and become bestsellers throughout the world.

These include the 44 Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in the Scotsman, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, the von Igelfeld series and the Corduroy Mansions novels.  His novel, Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party, was winner of the 2015 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction.

Alexander McCall Smith is Professor Emeritus of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh and holds honorary doctorates from thirteen universities.  In 2017, he received the National Arts Club of America Medal of Honour for Achievement in Literature.

Rating:  5/5 (Super)

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