Friday, November 18, 2011

The Forgotten Affairs of Youth-Alexander McCall Smith

The Forgotten Affairs of Youth

Alexander McCall Smith

Pantheon, Dec 6 2011, $24.95

ISBN: 9780307379184

Australian philosopher Jane Cooper takes a sabbatical to visit Edinburgh. Being adopted at birth, Jane seeks to locate her biological dad who apparently was a student in Edinburgh when she was conceived. Jane knows the odds of her succeeding with her quest are extremely low. Still she feels a gut need bordering on obsessiveness to make a legitimate attempt.

She asks Scottish philosopher and occasional amateur sleuth (see The Charming Quirks of Others) Isabel Dalhousie for help. Although she is overwhelmed with issues from her adorable active toddler Charlie, her caring fiancĂ© Jamie, her toxic niece Cat and her dedicated housekeeper Grace; Isabel agrees to try to locate Jane’s father.

This marvelous mellow mystery is a brilliant entertaining philosophical treatise on what a family really is and whether personal history can better help people feel more contented/cope with the present and future. Character driven, readers will relish Isabel’s latest cozy as her inquiry into Jane’s roots and her relationships with her family enlighten the audience as to what matters in life.

Harriet Klausner

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