The Geometry Of Holding Hands
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Isabel Dalhousie applies her moral philosopher's mind to wrongdoings in Edinburgh, and will have to call upon her powers of deduction and her unflappable moral code to unravel another social mystery in the new novel from the bestselling author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Isabel Dalhousie finds herself entangled in some tricky familial and financial situations that will require all of her kindness, charm and philosophical expertise to navigate. Just when Isabel and Jamie finally seem to have some time to connect and unwind, a wealthy Edinburgh resident reaches out to Isabel with an unusual request--he would like her to become the executor of his large Highland estate. Though Isabel initially demurs, he presses on. He has only a short time to live and, without any direct heirs, is struggling to determine which of his three cousins would be the best caretaker. Should the estate go to the bohemian artist, the savvy city property developer, or the quiet, unassuming bachelor? And if this weren't enough to keep Isabel occupied, she's also spending more time helping her niece, Cat, at the deli. Cat, perennially unlucky in love, appears to have finally found her match in the leonine Leo. But Isabel is beginning to suspect that Leo might be interested in more than Cat's charms--namely, her access to the family trust. Isabel will need to rely upon her remarkable reserves of intelligence and compassion in order to give all parties exactly what they want and deserve--no more and no less.
THE THIRTEENTH INSTALLMENT OF THE MUCH-LOVED ISABEL DALHOUSIE SERIES When Isabel Dalhousie and her husband Jamie book a table at an expensive Edinburgh restaurant, she finds herself battling with her conscience. Lately, there has been a lull in work for the Review of Applied Ethics, and the care of their young sons, Charlie and Magnus, is often undertaken by their housekeeper Grace. Is Isabel deserving of such a luxurious dinner? But Isabel holds herself to impossible moral standards. Not so, the parents of one of Jamie's students, who have no qualms about ensuring their son's place in the school orchestra, despite his mediocre talent. In the restaurant, Isabel witnesses a row between local businessmen; another reminder that thoughtless ambition is too often second nature to others. Compelled to intervene in the aftermath, Isabel's sense of integrity is observed by a fellow diner, Iain Melrose, who seeks out her help. He must decide which of his remaining relatives should one day inherit his estate. Isabel, he believes, would make a just executor of his will. While she deliberates, another troubling situation arises with her niece, Cat, whose relationship with the unlikeable Leo is causing her to behave recklessly, putting Isabel in a very difficult position. Faced with such weighty decisions, can Isabel balance compassion and integrity to make the right choice for all, and to protect those she holds dear to her heart?
Isabel finds herself entangled in some tricky familial and financial situations that will require all of her kindness, charm, and philosophical expertise to navigate. Just when Isabel and Jamie finally seem to have some time to connect and unwind, a wealthy Edinburgh resident reaches out to Isabel with an unusual request—he would like her to become the executor of his large Highland estate. Though Isabel initially demurs, he presses on. He has only a short time to live, and, without any direct heirs, is struggling to determine which of his three cousins would be the best caretaker. Should it go to the bohemian artist, the savvy city property developer, or the quiet, unassuming bachelor? As if this weren’t enough to keep Isabel occupied, she’s also spending more time helping her niece Cat at the deli. Cat, perennially unlucky in love, seems to have finally found her match in the leonine Leo. But Isabel is beginning to suspect that Leo might be interested in more than Cat’s charms, namely her access to the family trust. Isabel will need to rely upon remarkable reserves of intelligence and compassion in order to give all parties exactly what they want and deserve—no more, and no less.
The author of the best-selling and universally adored No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series now gives us The Forever Girl, a novel about love and following one’s heart, and the unexpected places to which this can lead us. Amanda and her husband, David, feel fortunate to be raising their son and daughter in the close-knit community of ex-pats on Grand Cayman Island, an idyllic place for children to grow up. Their firstborn, Sally, has always listened to her heart, deciding at age four that she would rather be called Clover and then, a few years later, falling in love with her best friend, James. But the comforting embrace of island life can become claustrophobic for adults, especially when they are faced with difficult situations. At the same time that Clover falls in love with James, Amanda realizes that she has fallen out of love with David . . . and that she is interested in someone else. While Amanda tries to navigate the new path her heart is leading her down, Clover finds, much to her dismay, that James seems to be growing away from her. And when they leave the island for boarding school—James to England and Clover to Scotland—she feels she may have lost him for good. As Clover moves on to university, seldom seeing James but always carrying him in her heart, she finds herself torn between a desire to go forward with her life and the old feelings that she just can’t shed. Through the lives of Clover and James, and Amanda and David, acclaimed storyteller Alexander McCall Smith tells a tale full of love and heartbreak, humor and melancholy, that beautifully demonstrates the myriad ways in which love shapes our lives.
ISABEL DALHOUSIE - Book 9 Nothing captures the charm of Edinburgh like the bestselling Isabel Dalhousie series of novels featuring the insatiably curious philosopher and woman detective. Whether investigating a case or a problem of philosophy, the indefatigable Isabel Dalhousie, one of fiction’s most richly developed amateur detectives, is always ready to pursue the answers to all of life’s questions, large and small. In this latest installment of Alexander McCall Smith’s endearing Isabel Dalhousie series, the Edinburgh philosopher and amateur sleuth answers an unexpected appeal from a wealthy Scottish collector who has been robbed of a valuable painting. One afternoon over coffee at Cat’s delicatessen, a friend of Isabel’s shares a call for help from Duncan Munrowe. Crafty thieves have stolen a prized painting from his collection, a work by the celebrated French artist Nicolas Poussin that was earmarked for donation to the Scottish National Gallery. Munrowe has been approached by the thieves and hopes that Isabel will assist him in recovering the painting. Never one to refuse an appeal, she agrees, and discovers that the thieves may be closer to the owner than he ever would have expected. Against the backdrop of this intriguing case, Isabel copes with life’s issues, large and small. She and Jamie have begun to suspect that their three-year-old son, Charlie, might be a budding mathematical genius. What should be done about it? Then there is the question of whether Isabel should help a young couple who want to move in together—against the wishes of the girl’s parents. The boyfriend is hoping Isabel might intercede. As she wrestles with these problems, Isabel finds herself tested as a parent, a philosopher and a friend. But, as always, she manages to use the right combination of good sense, quick wits and a kind heart to come to the right solution, proving once again why Isabel Dalhousie has become one of Alexander McCall Smith’s most beloved characters. This ebook edition includes a Reading Group Guide
In the second installment of the bestselling Detective Varg novels, Ulf and his team investigate a notorious philanderer--a wolf of a man whose bad reputation may be all bark and no bite. The Department of Sensitive Crimes, renowned for taking on the most obscure and irrelevant cases, is always prepared to take on an investigation, no matter how complex. So when the girlfriend of an infamous author approaches Ulf Varg, the department's lead detective, and insists her bad-boy beau is being blackmailed, Ulf is determined to help. It's rather difficult to determine what skeletons hide in the hard-living Lothario's closet, though. And while his fellow Swedes are notoriously tolerant...well, there are limits. The case requires all of Ulf's concentration, but he finds himself distracted by his ongoing attraction to his coworker, Anna, whose fears about her husband's fidelity are cauing a strain on her marriage. When Ulf is also tasked with looking into a group of dealers exporting wolves that seem more canis familiaris than canis lupus, it will require all of his team's investigative instincts and dogged persistence to put these matters to bed.
Introducing the new series from the international bestselling author of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books — the Sunday Philosophy Club series is set in Edinburgh, Scotland, and stars Isabel Dalhousie, editor of The Review of Applied Ethics and part-time detective. Isabel enjoys wading through the mysteries of life, everything from the morning’s crossword to higher philosophical dilemmas, often with the advice of her ethically upright housekeeper, Grace. In this first novel of the series, Isabel witnesses a young man plunge to his death from the upper balcony of the Edinburgh Concert Hall. When Isabel discovers that the young victim had uncovered illicit activities at the brokerage house where he worked, the hunt for answers, and the killer, is on. This new series is a delightful look at a reasonable and logical woman who keeps getting involved in mysteries despite all reason and logic. From the Hardcover edition.
Here is the fifth novel in the internationally bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency hit series. Once again we are transported to Gaborone, capital city of Botswana, and into the world of Mma Ramotswe and her friends. THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY. FOR ALL CONFIDENTIAL MATTERS AND ENQUIRIES. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED FOR ALL PARTIES. UNDER PERSONAL MANAGEMENT. Mma Ramotswe and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni are still engaged, but with no immediate plans to get married. Mma Ramotswe wonders when a wedding date will be named, but she is anxious to avoid putting pressure on her fiancé. For indeed he has other things on his mind -- particularly a frightening request (involving a parachute jump) made by Mma Potokwani, the persuasive matron of the orphan farm. Mma Ramotswe herself has weighty matters on her mind. She has been approached by a wealthy lady to check up on several suitors. Are these men interested in her or just her money? This may be difficult to find out, but it’s just the kind of case Mma Ramotswe likes and she is, as we know, a very intuitive lady. Meanwhile, Mma Makutsi -- plucky assistant detective and deputy manager of the Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors garage -- is moving. Her entrepreneurial venture, the Kalahari Typing School for Men, is thriving and with this new income she has rented two rooms in a house. Her spare time is occupied with planning the move, the décor and her new life in a house with running water all to herself. In the background of all this is Botswana, a country of empty spaces and echoing skies, a country so beautiful and entrancing that it breaks your heart. Mma Ramotswe has prepared the bush tea and is waiting for us to join her. From the Hardcover edition.
The new novel from the bestselling Alexander McCall Smith about Isabel Dalhousie--philosopher, moral sleuth, mother, wife--in which Isabel is called upon to help when a paternity question presents more than meets the eye. Isabel finds herself befriended by Patricia, a single mother whose son, Basil, goes to school with Isabel's son. Isabel discovers that Basil is the product of an affair Patricia had with a well-known Edinburgh organist, also named Basil, who was, rumor has it, initially reluctant to contribute financially to the child's upkeep. Though Isabel doesn't really like Patricia, she tries to be civil and supportive, but when she sees Patricia in the company of an unscrupulous man who may be a wanted criminal, her suspicions are aroused and she begins to investigate the paternity of Basil Jr. When Isabel takes her suspicions to Basil Sr., she finds that, although he is paying child support and wishes he could have more of a relationship with Basil Jr., Patricia has no interest in Basil Sr. taking a more hands-on role in Basil Jr.'s parenting, even as she continues to accept his financial support. Should Isabel help someone who doesn't want to be helped? As Isabel navigates this ethically-complex situation, she is also dealing with her niece, Cat, who has taken up with a brawny and opinionated tattoo shop clerk? Isabel considers herself open-minded, but has Cat pushed it too far this time? As ever, Isabel must use her kindness and keen intelligence to determine the right course of action. In this twelfth full-length installment of Isabel's story, McCall Smith gives his readers what we want--time inside the mind of one of fiction's most richly developed women detectives, a visit to Edinburgh, and a twisting and tangled mystery about what responsibility humans owe to each other.
In this warm, intelligently observed novella, Isabel Dalhousie, Alexander McCall Smith's wonderful heroine, learns valuable lessons about inviting the past (and everyone in it) back into your life. Isabel Dalhousie--philosopher, mother and friend--has generously agreed to host the opening dinner for her school reunion weekend. Twenty-five former classmates will descend upon her Edinburgh home, bringing with them new names new looks, and old reputations. While some see the reunion as an opportunity to forge new friendships and reaffirm old ones, others aren't interested in changing their minds about the past. One particular classmate, Barbara Grant, was known as an especially mean girl who bullied the others relentlessly. As hostess, Isabel feels compelled to help her guests on the path toward reconciliation, but bitter feelings and long-held secrets threaten to derail her efforts entirely. With her trademark insight and compassion, Isabel Dalhousie may find a way to navigate the treacherous waters of mean "girls", with mercy and forgiveness.
In this delightful sequel to the bestselling comedic novel My Italian Bulldozer, Paul Stuart's travels taie him to a French village, where the local restaurant's haute cuisine leaves a lot to be desired. Renowned Scottish cookbook writer Paul Stuart is hard at work on his new book, The Philosophy of Food, but complicated domestic circumstances, and two clingy cats, are making that difficult. So when Paul's cousin Chloe suggests that he join her at the house she's rented in the French countryside, he jumps at the chance. The two quickly befriend the locals, including their twin-sister landladies, who also own the infamous local restaurant known to be the second-worst eatery in all of France. During their stay, the restaurant's sole waitress gives birth mid-dinner service and the maitre d' storms off after fighting with the head chef. Paul is soon drafted to improve the gastronomy of the village, which Chloe, ever on the hunt for her next romance, busies herself with distracting the handsome but incompetent chef. Could he become husband number six? With all this local drama to deal with, Paul finds it next to impossible to focus on his writing, and that's before he learns that Chloe's past is far more complicated than he'd ever imagined. Paul will have to call upon al his experience--with food and with people--to bring order back to the village. And he may just learn something about family--and about himself-- along the way.
More goes wrong than could be imagined when Iris Sparks and Gwendolyn Bainbridge of The Right Sort Marriage Bureau are unexpectedly engaged to dig into the past of a suitor of a royal princess in Allison Montclair’s delightful second novel, A Royal Affair. In London 1946, The Right Sort Marriage Bureau is just beginning to take off and the proprietors, Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge, are in need of a bigger office and a secretary to handle the growing demand. Unfortunately, they don't yet have the necessary means. So when a woman arrives—a cousin of Gwen's—with an interesting and quite remunerative proposition, they two of them are all ears. The cousin, one Lady Matheson, works for the Queen in "some capacity" and is in need of some discreet investigation. It seems that the Princess Elizabeth has developed feelings for a dashing Greek prince and a blackmail note has arrived, alluding to some potentially damaging information about said prince. Wanting to keep this out of the palace gossip circles, but also needing to find out what skeletons might lurk in the prince's closet, the palace has quietly turned to Gwen and Iris. Without causing a stir, the two of them must now find out what secrets lurk in the prince's past, before his engagement to the future Queen of England is announced. And there's more at stake than the future of the Empire —there is their potential new office that lies in the balance.
WITH A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR TO HIS CANADIAN READERS It is said that a picture may be worth a thousand words but an old photograph can inspire many more. In this beguiling book, McCall Smith casts his eye over five “orphaned” photographs from the era of black-and-white photography and imagines the stories behind them. Who were those people, what were their stories, why are they smiling, what made them sad? What emerges are surprising and poignant tales of love and friendship in a variety of settings an estate in the Highlands of Scotland, a travelling circus in Canada, an Australian gold-mining town, a village in Ireland, and the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. A dapper, roguish-looking man perching on a lady’s knee sparks the story of a ventriloquist and an animal handler who work in a circus, and who, under the most delightfully unexpected circumstances, fall in love. The image of a woman haloed by light in a train station becomes the lighthearted tale of a nun’s decision to leave the sisterhood and discover what and whom the big city has to offer. Some will find joy and fulfillment; others would prefer happier endings. Each of them, though, will find love, and that is ultimately what matters. Romantic, wistful and poignant, Chance Developments brims with flourishes of grace and humor that could only come from the pen of Alexander McCall Smith. From the Hardcover edition.
The latest book in Alexander McCall Smith's popular 44 Scotland Street series is a sheer delight. Summer has come to Scotland Street. The long days have prompted its denizens to engage in flights of fancy. Some, like the Duke of Johannesburg's plan to create a microlite seaplane, are literal flights, and some, like the vain Bruce Anderson's idea of settling down with one of his many admirers, are more metaphorical. With the domineering Irene off pursuing academic challenges, Stuart and Bertie are free to indulge in summer fun. Stuart reconnects with an old acquaintance over refreshing peppermint tea while Bertie takes his friend Ranald Braveheart Macpherson to the circus. But their trip to the big top becomes rather more than the pleasant diversion they were hoping for. Once again, Scotland Street teems with the daily triumphs and challenges of those who call it home, and provides a warm, wise, and witty chronicle of the affairs in this corner of the world.
A deliciously entertaining new series by the bestselling author of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency The many fans of Precious Ramotswe will find further cause for celebration in the protagonist of Alexander McCall Smith’s irresistibly funny trilogy, the eminent (if shamefully under-read) philologist Professor Dr. Mortiz-Maria von Igelfeld of the Institute at Regensburg. Unnaturally tall, hypersensitive to slights, and oblivious to his own frequent gaucheries, von Igelfeld is engaged in a never-ending quest to win the respect he knows is due him. Portuguese Irregular Verbs follows the Professor from a busman’s holiday researching old Irish obscenities to a flirtation with a desirable lady dentist. In The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs, von Igelfeld practices veterinary medicine without a license, transports relics for a schismatically challenged Coptic prelate and is mobbed by marriage-minded widows on board a Mediterranean cruise ship. In At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances, the final novel in the trilogy, we find our hero suffering the slings of academic intrigue as a visiting fellow at Cambridge, and the slings of outrageous fortune in an eventful Columbian adventure. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The tenth book in this beloved author's consistently bestselling series featuring his insatiably curious, ever-delightful Edinburgh philosopher and amateur sleuth who now takes on a case like none she's had before: one with paranormal implications. From a small town outside Edinburgh comes the news that a young boy has been recounting vivid recollections of a past life: a perfect description of an island off the coast of Scotland which he couldn't possibly know, and a house there, where he claims to have spent his former life. When the boy's mother asks Isabel to investigate his claims, she feels she must--of course!--help them learn the truth, and she and Jamie set off for the island. But finding the house the boy described only leads to more complicated questions. And when they learn the tragic story of the family who lived there, Isabel is suddenly faced with a situation of extraordinary delicacy that will require all of her skills both as sleuth and philosopher. (Meantime, back in Edinburgh: Will an elderly lothario take Grace, her stalwart housekeeper, companion and babysitter, away from Isabel? Would Isabel be able to manage without Grace?) From the Hardcover edition.
44 SCOTLAND STREET - Book 2 The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy—just ask his mother. Back are all our favorite denizens of a Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh. Bertie the immensely talented six year old is now enrolled in kindergarten, and much to his dismay, has been clad in pink overalls for his first day of class. Bruce has lost his job as a surveyor, and between admiring glances in the mirror, is contemplating becoming a wine merchant. Pat is embarking on a new life at Edinburgh University and perhaps on a new relationship, courtesy of Domenica, her witty and worldly-wise neighbor. McCall Smith has much in store for them as the brief spell of glorious summer sunshine gives way to fall a season cursed with more traditionally Scottish weather. Full of McCall Smith’s gentle humor and sympathy for his characters, Espresso Tales is also an affectionate portrait of a city and its people who, in the author’s own words, “make it one of the most vibrant and interesting places in the world.”
44 SCOTLAND STREET - BOOK 11 Our beloved cast of characters are back, as are the joys and trials of life at 44 Scotland Street in this latest installment of Alexander McCall Smith’s delightfully charming series. Bertie’s mother, Irene, returns from the Middle East to discover that, in her absence, her son has been exposed to the worst of evils—television shows, ice cream parlors, and even unsanctioned art at the National Portrait Gallery. Her wrath descends on Bertie’s long-suffering father, Stuart. But Stuart has found a reason to spend more time outside of the house and seems to have a new spring in his step. What does this mean for the residents of 44 Scotland Street? The winds of change have come to the others as well. Angus undergoes a spiritual transformation after falling victim to an unexpected defenestration. Bruce has fallen in a rather different sense for a young woman who is determined to share with him her enthusiasm for extreme sports. Matthew and Elspeth have a falling out with their triplets’ au pair, while Big Lou continues to fall in love with her new role as a mother. And as Irene resumes work on what she calls her Bertie Project, reinstating Bertie’s Italian lessons, yoga classes, and psychotherapy, Bertie begins to hatch a project of his own—one that promises freedom.
The bestselling author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series returns with an irresistible new novel about one man’s adventures in the Italian countryside. Paul Stuart, a renowned food writer, finds himself at loose ends after his longtime girlfriend leaves him for her personal trainer. To cheer him up, Paul’s editor, Gloria, encourages him to finish his latest cookbook on-site in Tuscany, hoping that a change of scenery (plus the occasional truffled pasta and glass of red wine) will offer a cure for both heartache and writer’s block. But upon Paul’s arrival, things don’t quite go as planned. A mishap with his rental-car reservation leaves him stranded, until a newfound friend leads him to an intriguing alternative: a bulldozer. With little choice in the matter, Paul accepts the offer, and as he journeys (well, slowly trundles) into the idyllic hillside town of Montalcino, he discovers that the bulldozer may be the least of the surprises that await him. What follows is a delightful romp through the lush sights and flavors of the Tuscan countryside, as Paul encounters a rich cast of characters, including a young American woman who awakens in him something unexpected. A feast for the senses and a poignant meditation on the complexity of human relationships, My Italian Bulldozer is a charming and intensely satisfying love story for anyone who has ever dreamed of a fresh start.
Precious Ramotswe dips her toe into the world of politics in the newest addition to the beloved and bestselling No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. When Mma Potokwane suggests to Mma Ramotswe that she run for a seat on the City Council, Mma Ramotswe is at first unsure. But when she learns about the proposed construction of the flashy Big Fun Hotel next to a graveyard, she allows herself to be persuaded. Her opponent is none other than Violet Sephotho, who is in the pocket of the hotel developers. Although Violet is intent on using every trick in the book to secure her election, Mma Ramotswe refuses to promise anything beyond what she can deliver--hence her slogan: "I can't promise anything--but I shall do my best." To everyone's surprise, she wins. As it turns out, politics does not agree with Mma Ramotswe. Though everyone is supportive, she eventually resigns. She thinks there will be a new election, but she discovers that the rules state that in such an event, the runner-up automatically takes the seat. Violet is triumphant, and sure that she will get the Big Fun Hotel planning application through without a hitch. But Mma Makutsi and Mma Potokwane are not about to make it easy for her. Through it all, Mma Ramotswe uses her good humour and generosity of spirit to help the community navigate divisive issues, and proves that honesty and compassion will always carry the day.