ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Bella lives on a tea estate in the hills of Ceylon. Her beautiful mother is lonely and adrift, her father, whilst loving, is distant and preoccupied with running the estate. It is 1938, and Bella's closest friends are her two dolls (named after ancient Chinese poets) much to the distate of her governess, Miss White. Eight year old Bella doesn't warm to her teacher and she starts to pick up odd signals from her mother - is Miss White involved with her father? As the days stretch out, and idleness makes mischief, something will have to happen - and of course, it does, upending all their lives. You know what you get with McCall Smith, and this new novel does not disappoint! Written in his trademark non-judgemental but perceptive style, allowing for all the foibles the human character is capable of, the story gently draws a portrait of a self-contained child's innocence and the blindness of the adults around her, and of a languid lifestyle that causes its own problems - and how redemption eventually brings its own blessings. Lindy
Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the highly successful No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which has sold over twenty-five million copies. Since then he has devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty-six languages and become bestsellers throughout the world. These include the 44 Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in the Scotsman, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, the Von Igelfeld series and the Corduroy Mansions novels.
'The ever fecund Alexander McCall Smith continues to surprise as well as please... This is one of the most enjoyable of his many enjoyable novels' -- Allan Massie * The Scotsman * 'this utterly engaging standalone novel shimmers with atmosphere and family tension ... a stirring, evocative psychological mystery set in 1938 as the British Empire limps through its final days' * Lovereading.co.uk * 'Strong characters and beautiful settings, from the mountainous tea plantation in Ceylon to the rolling hills of the Scottish countryside' * Asian Review of Books *