Summer in Edinburgh is a season of delicate sunshine and showers, picnics with loved ones in blossoming gardens and genteel celebrations of art and music. But Isabel Dalhousie’s peaceful idyll is broken when a single meeting over coffee with fellow philosopher Dr George McLeod brings an irate phone call from his wife, Roz, who implacably accuses Isabel of conducting an affair with her husband.
Wounded by the injustice of Roz’s wild allegation and concerned both for her standing among the gossipy group of her scholarly peers and for Roz’s apparent state of hysteria, Isabel is minded to discover more about the McLeods and set the record straight. She turns to Millie, an old acquaintance and a university colleague of George’s, for insight. Once again Isabel is reminded to avoid jumping to hasty conclusions about the lives of others, and to value friendship wherever it’s found.
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 home, bringing with them new names, new looks, and old reputations. While some will 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 and forgiveness, 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 these treacherous waters.
Philosopher and amateur sleuth Isabel Dalhousie has an unstinting commitment to her principles. Sticking to her promises has always been one of them. Then Isabel runs into an old classmate facing marital and financial troubles, who reveals a secret that becomes more and more difficult for Isabel to keep.
Thankfully, Isabel’s devoted husband, Jamie, is there to help our heroine navigate her competing moral obligations. Beautifully perceptive and witty, this original short story by Alexander McCall Smith shows Isabel calling upon all of her intelligence, charm, and tact.