Sunday, September 2, 2018

The Quiet Side of Passion (Isabel Dalhousie #12), by Alexander McCall Smith (author), Davina Porter (narrator)

Recorded Books, July 2018

Charlie is now attending nursery school, and Isabel and Jamie take turns delivering him and picking him up. Thus it happens that Isabel is there at the gate one day, to meet Charlie's new friend, Basil Phelps, Jr., and his mother, Patricia, a musician whom Jamie occasionally works with.

Patricia seems unusually eager to make friends.

That night, Jamie shares the unexpected information that Basil Phelps, Jr., is rumored to be the unacknowledged son of a prominent organist, Basil Phelps. Jamie has worked with each of them, and they are both well known in the Edinburgh music community.

The next few weeks are a flurry of confusing events. Professor Lettuce has an unexpected proposal for her. She's increasingly feeling the burden of being the owner, editor, and only staff of the Journal  of Applied Ethics and mother of two young children, even though Jamie more than pulls his weight a householder. Grace happily shifts her efforts to child care, especially of young Magnus, but as a result, is not doing nearly as much cleaning.

Jamie encourages her to get an au pair to help out with the house, and also to consider hiring a part-time assistant for the Journal.

When she stumbles across evidence that Basil Jr. may really not be the son of Basil Sr., who is paying child support, Jamie also encourages her to not get involved. Yes, maybe Phelps the organist is being taken advantage of, but Isabel can't put the whole world right.

Of course she is not much restrained by the second piece of advice, although she does heed the first advice, about getting help.

Predictably all of this gets very, very complicated.

Isabel, Jamie, and all their friends, including Isabel's often difficult niece, Cat, owner of a deli, continue to be our old friends, while continuing to grow and develop. Most importantly, Isabel continues to seek to do the right thing by everyone within her social circle, and to give much careful thought to what that is. This remains true even if I do think that she overlooked the obvious regarding hiring an au pair: adding to the household staff is a thing that would work much better if she discussed it with Grace first, and had Grace's knowledge, input, and agreement on who was being hired to do what.

Also, of course, Grace can balance out Isabel's tendency to want to believe the best of everyone, and not ask enough questions before something happens.

It's another good addition to the series, and will be enjoyed by anyone who usually enjoys these books.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.