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 before the bitterness in their marriage poisons her reputation. She turns to Millie, an old acquaintance and a university colleague of George's, for insight.
Once again, in this engaging, intelligently observed novella, Alexander McCall Smith's sharp-eyed heroine, Isabel, is reminded to avoid jumping to hasty conclusions about the lives of others and to value friendship wherever it's found.