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From the creator of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency comes a medley of perverse couplings, casual dates and romantic encounters: hilarious tales that will also sadden, inspire and surprise. McCall Smith, a master of the unexpected and a seamless storyteller, revels in offering us the quirky complications inherent in entanglements which human beings engineer for themselves - entanglements that can be shocking, edifying, complex and sometimes, completely disastrous.
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About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith is the author of over fifty books, including the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series of novels and several collections of short stories, including The Girl Who Married a Lion and Heavenly Date and Other Flirtations. In 2003 he was the winner of the UK's principal award for humorous writing, the Saga Award, and in the same year he won the Glenfiddich Award for Writing. Alexander McCall Smith lives in Scotland.

Reviews

Stories from a No. 1 author. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Smith, author of the bestselling The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and some 50 other books, nimbly examines the mysteries of dating in this captivating collection. The stories, which take place in various locales-Africa, Australia, Italy-and in periods from the 1950s and '60s to today, explore the timeless, intricate dance of love and courtship, and make wise, often compassionate observations. In the lovely title story, a young woman summering in Tuscany has an assignation with an angel ("It may be unusual in other places, but here, there seemed nothing extraordinary about it") and finds herself pregnant with a miraculous child. In the arch "Intimate Accounts," the protagonist, a jaded psychiatrist, noting that "terrible things can happen on dates-traumatic things-which can trouble people to the very depths of their psyches," helps a narcissistic patient discover that his best date might be with himself. Two members of a "dating [service] for fatties" share a comic dinner in "Fat Date"; two wealthy Swiss singles make friends with the younger generation and learn the joys of sharing in "Wonderful Date," while in "Maternal Influence," a young man mollycoddled and emasculated by his mother, "the Mayoress," finally takes a stand when he meets a girl he likes. Smith's nine stories, with their light humor and touching moments, should inspire smiles and sighs in tenderhearted readers everywhere. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

* The author's prose has the merits of simplicity, euphony and precision ... This is art that conceals art. I haven't read anything with such unalloyed pleasure for a long time. Sunday Telegraph * Reminiscent of Roald Dahl in their dark ironies, these tales of the emotional unexpected are perceptive, deftly written and droll. -- Michael Faber * The people who inhabit these stories are funny, shocking, middle-class and sinister, the author's wacky imagination being the only constant we can always take for granted. -- Alan Taylor The Scotsman

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