Maybe McCall Smith writes like a woman or is writing for women: his characters notice intricate details and reveal their feelings about scented tissues and whether they should wash the kitchen floor this morning or later in the day. Or maybe his books are just totally soporific. A forged Scottish painting is probably connected to the mysterious death of a painter of the original, but more than sixty percent of the book has already passed fretting over the chief sleuth’s (Isabel Dalhousie) choice of baby formula for her newborn before there’s even a suggestion of foul play. I never even reached the part where Dalhousie heads for the Scottish beach where the painter allegedly drowned. It would have been more exciting to watch the paint on the forgery dry. December 2007.