This is Alexander McCall Smith's sixth book in the 44 Scotland Street series and the second book I've read in less than a week. There's little to be said about this series that I haven't already said. The familiar characters and, for those of us who know and love Edinburgh, it's descriptions and use of the area make it a very 'comfortable' read.
I have said on a number of occasions that I sometimes find AMS's continual references to W H Auden (a poet whom I don't enjoy) and vaguely ostentatious displays of his prodigious knowledge slightly irritating. In addition I appreciate that using words like quotidian and palimpsest may increase the knowledge of many of his readers who might not otherwise come across such words very often (count me amongst that number) but to use them continually......... That's a very minor point though because the series is rather like eating chocolate: once you have started then you will finish.
As always there is a plethora of quotes but some that come to mind in this book are:
The beautiful are forgiven; no matter how egregious their shortcomings , they are forgive.
Most of us, if pressed, are made uneasy by change. We recognise its importance in our lives and there are occasions when we persuade ourselves that it's for the best - which, of course, it often is - but at heart we are concerned that, if change comes, it will bring with it regret
'But we all waste opportunities,' said Domenica. 'Every single one of us. Every young person does it. It's because we think we have so much time, and then, when we realise that our time is finite, it's too late.'
'Indeed' said the professor. 'But we are all fortunate in one way or another. The task for most of us is to identify in what way that is, would you not agree?'