I downloaded an e-book from the local lending library a couple of days ago and read it yesterday evening. Now I want to tell you about it because I thought it was a really neat novella and well worth reading.
The title: Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine
Book #13 in the Isabel Dalhousie series
© 2016 by Alexander McCall Smith
Publisher: Penguin Random House
This is a unique story about ethics.
Isabel Dalhousie, a young wife in Edinburgh, owner and editor of the Review of Applied Ethics meets a friend at an art previewing prior next week’s auction. As they visit and look around at the upcoming sale items, Roz draws Isabel’s attention to one picture. She shares a bit of vital information about its value — and extracts from Isabel the promise that she’ll not tell a soul. Since the auctioneer obviously doesn’t realize the painting’s true worth, Roz plans to get it for a song, resell it, and make a small fortune.
The story’s maybe a bit wordy in places as Isabel muses over the ethics of this and other sticky situations she encounters during the week. She tries to sort out what she should do, if anything, with the help — or dissuasion — of her husband. He calls her his “sweet, thoughtful valentine” and wishes she would stay out of other people’s problems.
The art drama intensifies when she meets another friend by chance one day. Ruth’s in a financial bind, having to sell her home, also her mother’s belongs, to pay for her mother’s stay in a nursing home where she’s getting really good care. Ruth has sent a few of her mother’s paintings to an upcoming art sale. They likely won’t bring much, but…
The awful truth dawns — and Isabel is really in the treacle.
The writer has done a great job of squeezing poor Isabel between a rock and a hard place, between one friend and another, between promise and conscience. Will she practice the ethics she preaches or mind her own business? I found the solution intriguing and unexpected.
This author has also written the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series, the 44 Scotland Street Series and the Portuguese Irregular Verbs Series and others.