Quiet Side of Passion
by McCall Smith, Alexander

Isabel navigates a complex family situation when she learns that a single mother has been associating with a con artist and making questionable claims about her son's paternity.

ALEXANDER McCALL SMITH is the author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels and a number of other series and stand-alone books. His works have been translated into more than forty languages and have been best sellers throughout the world. He lives in Scotland.

McCall Smith's series about privileged Edinburgh philosopher Isabel Dalhousie is a bit rarefied, lacking the depth and humor of his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, or the beehive intensity of his 44 Scotland Street novels. Isabel-of inherited wealth, married to a much-younger hunky musician, mother of two-mostly lives in her head, frequently going off on thought tangents, even in mid-conversation. It's McCall Smith's rare ability to fascinate the reader with Isabel's wide-ranging thoughts-on luck, DNA, class, tattoos, the pasta strozzapreti (which translates to "priest stranglers")-that makes this series delightful to many, even though the episodes are virtually plotless. In this twelfth installment, a single mother at Isabel's older son's nursery school provides much of the interest. She's manipulative, edgy, and may be linked to someone dangerous (Isabel is assaulted in a heart-pounding episode that may connect to the woman). Meanwhile, Isabel needs more household help, leading to a nice ironic turn showing how "more help" can backfire. This series is like gaining entry to someone's mind, a privilege that will captivate some readers and puzzle or frustrate others. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

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