Alexander McCall Smith - The Quiet Side of Passion - Little, Brown Book Group

The Quiet Side of Passion

By Alexander McCall Smith

  • Paperback
  • £13.99

The latest novel in Alexander McCall Smith's much-loved Isabel Dalhousie series, which have sold over 1.7m copies

The nursery gate is a good place for parents to meet one another. As the mother of two small children, Isabel finds herself enlarging her circle of friends to include other parents. She meets Patricia, an Irishwoman, a musician and the single mother of a small boy called Basil Phelps. Isabel hears from her husband, Jamie, that this child is allegedly the unacknowledged son of a well-known Edinburgh organist, Basil Phelps.

Patricia takes to Isabel, but Isabel is suspicious - there is something about Patricia that she does not quite like, but, with her usual attention to moral obligation, she does her best to be civil and supportive. That is until she sees Patricia with a mysterious, freckled man. Isabel gets it into her head that this is Patricia's lover, and that he must be the real father of young Basil. When further discoveries are made, everything is turned on its head.

Despite Jamie's discouragement, Isabel decides that she is going to get to the bottom things. Yet, when the truth is finally revealed, it seems that Isabel has misjudged Patricia; in fact, she has misjudged just about everybody.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781408709436
  • Publication date: 07 Jun 2018
  • Page count: 288
  • Imprint: Little, Brown
Isabel Dalhousie's charm is undeniable — Sunday Times
Delightful — Sunday Telegraph
McCall Smith's greatest gift as a writer - and God knows this is just one of many - is that he can write likeable characters — New Statesman
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A Time of Love and Tartan

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Catch up with the delightful goings-on in the fictitious 44 Scotland Street from Alexander McCall Smith . . .'A joyous, charming portrait of city life and human foibles, which moves beyond its setting to deal with deep moral issues and love, desire and friendship' Sunday ExpressIf only Pat Macgregor had an inkling of the embarrassment romantic, professional, even aesthetic that flowed from accepting narcissistic ex-boyfriend Bruce Anderson's invitation for coffee, she would never have said yes. And if only Matthew, her boss at the art gallery, hadn't wandered into his local bookshop and picked up a particular book at a particular time, he would never have knocked over his former English teacher or attracted the attentions of the police.Whether caused by small things such as a cup of coffee and a book, or major events such as Stuart's application for promotion and his wife Irene's decision to go off and study for a PhD in Aberdeen, change is coming to serial fiction's favourite street. But for three seven-year-old boys Bertie Pollock, Ranald Braveheart Macpherson, and Big Lou's foster son Finlay - it also means a getting a glimpse of perfect happiness.Alexander McCall Smith's delightfully witty, wise and sometimes surreal comedy spirals out to include tennis-playing Rwandan Forest People, researches into levitating Celtic saints, bogus headhunters in Papua New Guinea and primary school performances of Beckett. But its heart remains where it has always been true to life, love and laughter in Edinburgh's New Town.

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'While My Italian Bulldozer certainly advocates a kind, considerate, some might even say old-fashioned approach to resolving affairs of the heart, it also succeeds in subtly, almost imperceptibly ripping up the traditional rules of the romantic comedy and creating something refreshingly original' ScotsmanWhen writer Paul Stewart heads to the idyllic Italian town of Montalcino to finish his already late book, it seems like the perfect escape from stressful city life. Upon landing, however, things quickly take a turn for the worse when he discovers his hired car is nowhere to be found. With no record of any reservation and no other cars available it looks like Paul is stuck at the airport. That is, until an enterprising stranger offers him an unexpected alternative. While there may be no cars available there is something else on offer: a bulldozer.With little choice in the matter, Paul accepts and so begins a series of laugh out loud adventures through the Italian countryside, following in the wake of Paul and his Italian Bulldozer. A story of unexpected circumstance and lesson in making the best of what you have, My Italian Bulldozer is a warm holiday read guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

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For seven-year-old Bertie Pollock, life in Edinburgh's most celebrated fictional street has just got immeasurably better. The enforced absence of his endlessly pushy mother Irene - currently consciousness-raising in a Bedouin harem (don't ask) - has manifold and immediate blessings: no psychotherapy, no Italian lessons and no yoga classes. Bliss.For Scotland Street's grown-ups, life throws up some new dilemmas. Matthew makes a discovery that could make him even richer but also leaves him worried. Pat makes one that could make her poorer and her father miserable - unless that uber-narcissist, Bruce, can help her out. And the Duke of Johannesburg, we discover, isn't exactly who he says he is.From what happens behind Edinburgh Airport's luggage carousel to Machiavellian manoeuvrings at the Association of Scottish Nudists, Alexander McCall Smith guides us through the brighter, lighter and frankly unexpected side of Edinburgh life. As ever with his 44 Scotland Street series, his readers will make their own discovery: that its blend of wit and wisdom mark it out as a comedic tour de force.

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Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine

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Edinburgh basks in glorious, but brief, summer sunshine, and Isabel Dalhousie - philosopher, philanthropist and mother - searches for the perfect birthday present for her husband Jamie. While carefully seeking out a gift, Isabel finds herself at a viewing for an auction, and happens upon an old friend in distress - a friend who decides to unburden herself of her secrets, and to reveal a clue within a painting hanging on the walls of the auction house.Soon Isabel discovers that this secret binds her not only to her friend, but also to another woman. Questions about morality and loyalty disturb Isabel's peaceful existence with her young son and precious family, but she must face up to them in order to ensure that no one is led astray. Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine is a charming and gentle novella featuring one of Alexander McCall Smith's most loved characters: Isabel Dalhousie.

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The Novel Habits of Happiness

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Isabel Dalhousie is one of Edinburgh's most generous (but discreet) philanthropists - but should she be more charitable? She wonders, sometimes, if she is too judgmental about her niece's amorous exploits, too sharp about her housekeeper's spiritual beliefs, too ready to bristle in battle against her enemies. As the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, she doesn't, of course, allow herself actual enemies, but she does feel enmity - especially towards two academics who have just arrived in the city. Isabel feels they're a highly destabilizing influence; little tremors in the volcanic rock upon which an Enlightened Edinburgh perches. Equally troubling is the situation of the little boy who is convinced he had a previous life. When Isabel is called upon to help, she finds herself questioning her views on reincarnation. And the nature of grief. And - crucially - the positioning of lighthouses. The only questions Isabel doesn't have to address concern her personal life. With her young son and devoted husband her home life is blissfully content. Which is the best possible launching pad for the next issue of the Review - the Happiness issue. As Isabel is beginning to appreciate, happiness, for most people, is not quite what it seems . . .

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At the Reunion Buffet

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Isabel Dalhousie - philosopher, mother and friend - is taking on the mammoth task of hosting her school reunion. In the hours before twenty-five former classmates descend on her home, and the caterers arrive to set up a buffet, Isabel has time to reflect. She is mindful of the fact that reunions can bring up all sorts of uncomfortable feelings. Later that night, with the party in full swing, Isabel realises that the pull of the past remains as strong as ever. Some people are interested in fuelling disagreements, while others are hoping to make amends. As hostess of the party, Isabel feels compelled to help them on the path to mercy and forgiveness. But what if the reasons for forgiveness are murky and suspect? And what if long-held secrets threaten to derail Isabel's efforts?In this warm, intelligently observed novella, Alexander McCall Smith's wonderful heroine, Isabel, learns valuable lessons about inviting the past into your life.

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Clover has loved James for as long as she can remember, since before she knew what what love was. But fate seems determined to keep them apart. As children, Clover and James played beside a turquoise sea under cloudless skies, their Caribbean island home a place of pleasure and privilege, of lush lawns and tennis parties. In such a paradise nothing should obstruct the kind of happiness Clover dreams of, except that, as she discovers, true love is often harder than paradise allows for. And when Clover's mother falls out of love with her husband, a web of complications is woven that may take Clover a lifetime to unravel. If she ever can . . . Tender and true, The Forever Girl traces love's unpredictable path to maturity with style, wit and feeling.

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As a mother, wife, employer and editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, Isabel Dalhousie is aware that to be human is to be responsible. So when a neighbour brings her a new and potentially dangerous puzzle to solve, once again Isabel feels she has no option but to shoulder the burden.A masterpiece painting has been stolen from Duncan Munrowe, old-fashioned philanthropist, father to two discontented children, and a very wealthy man. As Isabel enters into negotiations with the shadowy figures who are in search of a ransom, a case where heroes and villains should be clearly defined turns murky: the list of those who desire the painting - or the money - lengthens, and hasty judgement must be avoided at all cost. Morals, it turns out, are like Scottish clouds: complex, changeable and tricky to get a firm grip on; they require a sharp observational eye, a philosophical mindset, and the habit of kindness. Fortunately for those around her, Isabel Dalhousie is in possession of all three.

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Friends, Lovers, Chocolate

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