From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Until roughly 15 years ago, with the breakaway success of his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, McCall Smith was a professor of medical law and ethics at the University of Edinburgh. His training in and fascination with ethics, especially concerning lying and deception, are much in evidence here. This stand-alone novel could almost be used as an extended case study on the staggering effects any lie or deception may have, no matter how seemingly justifiable. On the surface, the novel is a contemporary love story, actually two, or maybe one and a half, since unrequited love is a big question mark throughout. The two points of view are those of a tennis mom and her teen daughter, who live in the tax haven of Grand Cayman Island. Both mother and daughter confront the kind of passion that McCall Smith presents as just happening, like the weather. But then what happens? The fascinating core of the book tackles this question, with McCall Smith tracing choices, zeroing in especially on the mother's choices and their unintended consequences. The fallout is heightened by being entirely believable. The novel moves from Grand Cayman to Scotland and then to Australia and Singapore without losing focus. What may seem like an ordinary love tangle is a very rich stew of contemporary mores and a great stage for both comedy and heartbreak.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2014 Booklist