Paul Stewart has returned to Scotland to continue his successful career. His agent and girlfriend, Gloria, has arranged for him to write The Philosophy of Food in Six Easy Chapters, a project he relishes but that will have to be delivered in six months. It is not going well, as Paul finds his domestic circumstances unsuited to concentrated hard work: Gloria has now moved in with him (not specifically invited) and has brought with her two extremely vocal and demanding Siamese cats. The cats give Paul no peace.
Beginning to worry that The Philosophy of Food will never be written Paul calls on the aid of his cousin, Chloe, who suggests a radical course of action. She has taken a six-month lease on a house in a French village not far from Poitiers and invites him to join her there and get the book finished in peace. He needs no second bidding and it is not long before he escapes to France.
Once there, however, Paul finds his fortunes tangled up with the fate of one eating establishment in the village: the infamous Second Worst Restaurant in France...
'With his trademark warm wit and wisdom, McCall Smith has written another joyous, light and warm-hearted novel'
* Journal of the Legal Society of Scotland *
'A journey into the heart of French cuisine served with a helping of philosophy and lashings of joie de vivre'
* Edinburgh Life *
'Written with [McCall Smith's] trademark dry humour, astute observations of people and life, I savoured every page. Gentle, easy to read, and gorgeously escapist, this was a lovely book to take my mind off the rainy weather and the pressures of everyday life'
* Sixty Plus Surfers *
'In true McCall Smith form, everything turns out for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Kindness conquers all and potentially irreparable divides are healed'
-- Cate Devine * Herald *
'a charming and comforting sequel rich with the tastes and sensations of small-town France'
* Readings AU *
'A scrumptious read'
* Sunday Post *
'Philosophical musings on important questions, coupled with deft wit, set McCall Smith apart. The descriptions of provincial French life and particularly French food are delicious'
* Scotsman *
'Gentle and pointed good humour abounds in this lovely read. Alexander McCall Smith excels in creating whimsical yet sharply observed novels with real heart... I smiled, I laughed, and enjoyed every moment'
* Lovereading *