On a beautiful spring day, Julia Harburn sat on a seat in Kensington Gardens enjoying the sunshine. She was wearing a white frock and a large straw hat with a sapphire-blue ribbon which exactly matched her eyes - a strange coincidence, as it turned out, for the blue sapphire was to have a far-reaching influence upon her life. So far, her life had been somewhat dull and circumscribed; but quite suddenly her horizons were enlarged. She began to make new friends.
"A meandering journey"
Charlotte Fairlie is a successful, elegant career woman. Still in her 20s, she has landed a job as headmistress of her old school. She is admired and liked by both staff and pupils - but she begins to feel there is something missing in her well-organised life. Then one summer she goes to stay with a young pupil on the remote Scottish Isle of Targ. In the romantic atmosphere of the Highlands, anything can happen - and even the cool, efficient Charlotte surprises herself.
"A good "read""
With his characteristic warmth, inventiveness and brilliant wit, Alexander McCall Smith gives us more of the gloriously entertaining comings and goings at 44 Scotland Street, the Edinburgh townhouse. Six-year-old prodigy Bertie perseveres in his heroic struggle for truth and balanced good sense against his insufferable mother and her crony, the psychotherapist Dr Fairbairn, going as far as to make a short-lived bid for freedom on a trip to Paris with the Edinburgh youth orchestra.
When Dinah was 19, Gilbert was a sort of fairy prince. She had loved him madly but gradually she had begun to realise that he was not quite so wonderful. Despite keeping her eyes firmly shut, her heart had known there was something wrong. When Gilbert is killed in a flying accident, she is left with four children to raise. Life is hard, fighting back loneliness and eking out a meagre pension. But when her brother, Dan, newly demobbed from the Navy, arrives to whisk them away to the seaside, Dinah can at last find peace.
When one Edinburgh citizen after another is murdered in the same bloody manner, the newspapers buzz with talk of a serial killer. Smart and capable, but battling disillusionment and loneliness, DS Alice Rice races against time and an implacable killer to solve this series of grisly murders among the professional elite in the city's well-to-do New Town.
"Exciting new author"
Wayward daughters. Missing Husbands. Philandering partners. Curious conmen. If you've got a problem, and no one else can help you, then pay a visit to Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's only - and finest - female private detective. Her methods may not be conventional, and her manner not exactly Miss Marple, but she's got warmth, wit and canny intuition on her side, not to mention Mr J.L.B. Maketoni, the charming proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors.
"The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency"
Pretty, impecunious Mary Preston, newly arrived as a guest of her aunt Agnes at the magnificent wooded estate of Rushwater, falls head over heels for handsome playboy David Leslie. Meanwhile Agnes and her mother, the eccentric matriarch Lady Emily, have hopes of a different, more suitable match for Mary. At the lavish Rushwater dance party, her future happiness hangs in the balance....
"Sense And Sensibility Meets Frazier!..."
D. E. Stevenson's fine sense of characterisation and romance makes this novel a delight to read. It is a golden tale of ordinary, lovable people in a small town of Beilford. Sue, the Baker's daughter, makes an uncharacteristically impulsive decision to accept a post as housekeeper to Mr and Mrs Darnay, dashing her family's hopes of her marrying a local suitor. And when Mrs Darnay suddenly departs, Sue's position in the house is left open to idle gossip.
"Scotland as told by D. E. Stevenson"
Amateur sleuth Isabel Dalhousie is a philosopher who uses her training to solve unusual mysteries. She edits the Review of Applied Ethics and hosts The Sunday Philosophy Club at her house in Edinburgh. Behind the city's Georgian facades its moral compasses are spinning with greed, dishonesty and murderous intent. Instinct tells Isabel that the young man who tumbled to his death in front of her eyes at a concert didn't fall. He was pushed.
"Not too light, not too heavy,easy listening."
Recently married to Charles, Sarah is furnishing a cottage in Scotland and starting on a life in sharp contrast to their wartime experiences. Their full entrance into village life is helped by Sarah's delightful grandparents, who have given them the land on which they have built their cottage.
"Engaging old fashioned story"
When out walking on Arthur's Seat, high above the city of Edinburgh, Rose McQuinn discovers the body of a woman in the ruins of St Anthony's Chapel. But she is astonished that on returning to the scene, there is no evidence of either the victim or the local constable who had taken down Rose's story. Even Rose's would-be lover, Detective Sergeant Jack Macmerry, is doubtful. Edinburgh City Police have no record of a dead woman or of PC Smith.
"A lady PI, Scotland, winter...great mix for a mystery!"
Mrs Tim goes to the Highlands of Scotland and is involved in a plot to rescue a naval officer from the toils of a siren; but, alas, the best laid plans "gang aft agley". The characters are skilfully drawn, from the fierce Mrs London, with her heart of gold, to the garrulous Mrs Falconer, whose muddled stories of her girlhood make excruciatingly funny reading.
"Mrs Tim Goes to Scotland"
The story revolves around the comings and goings at No. 44 Scotland Street, a fictitious building in a real street in Edinburgh. Immediately recognisable are the Edinburgh chartered surveyor, stalwart of the Conservative Association, who dreams of membership of Scotland's most exclusive golf club. We have the pushy Stockbridge mother, and her prodigiously talented five-year-old son, who is making good progress with the saxophone and with his Italian.
When the body of a retired sheriff is discovered in his grand house in the New Town of Edinburgh, Detective Sergeant Alice Rice finds herself hunting his killer. The search leads her to an unfamiliar world where wind-farm developers - with millions of pounds at stake - and protesters face each other with daggers drawn.
"Watching paint dry"
In Espresso Tales, Alexander McCall Smith returns home to Edinburgh and the glorious cast of his own tales of the city, the residents of 44 Scotland Street, with a new set of challenges for each one of them. Bruce, the intolerably vain and perpetually deluded ex-surveyor, is about to embark on a new career as a wine merchant, while his long-suffering flatmate Pat MacGregor, set up by matchmaking Domenica Macdonald, finds herself invited to a nudist picnic in Moray Place in the pursuit of true love.
Rose McQuinn makes a long anticipated journey to her childhood home on Orkney, but does not find the peace and relaxation she anticipates. An archaeological team stumbles across a body, causing great excitement: could it be the preserved corpse of a 13th-century princess? When the body is identified as the corpse of a local woman, brutally murdered and then thrown into the bog, the calm pleasure of Rose's holiday is shattered.
Meet the one and only Precious Ramotswe - the engaging and sassy owner of Botswana's only detective agency. Mma Ramotswe is facing a new challenge: resolving a mother's pain for her son who is long lost on the African plains. Mma's own impending marriage to the most gentlemanly of men, Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, the promotion of her secretary to the dizzy heights of assistant detective, and the arrival of new members to the Matekoni family.
Mma Ramotswe, daughter of the late Obed Ramotswe, is now the announced fiancée of Mr J. L. B. Matekoni. It is a fine match; she is the founder and owner of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and he is the proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. But Precious Ramotswe is not as happy as she should be under the circumstances. The Detective Agency is struggling with its finances and Mr J. L. B. Matekoni is unusually low and neglecting his garage.
"Vividly read with a lot of mispronunciations"
Precious Ramotswe, that cheerful Botswanan private investigator of "traditional build", is well-known to millions across the world through the best-selling No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. She is finally married to Mr J. L. B. Matekoni, and the Agency is very busy, but she cannot ignore a plea which is made to her by a woman with a tale of particular misfortune.
Mma Ramotswe is still engaged to Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni and wonders when a day for the wedding will be named. But she is anxious to avoid putting too much pressure on her fiancé, for indeed he has other things on his mind - notably a frightening request from the pushy matron of the Orphan Farm. Mma Ramotswe herself has weighty matters to address. She has been approached by a wealthy lady and asked to check up on several suitors. Are these men just interested in her money?