Whether investigating a case or a problem of philosophy, the indefatigable Isabel Dalhousie, one of fiction’s most richly developed amateur detectives, is always ready to pursue the answers to all of life’s questions, large and small. The Forgotten Affairs of Youth finds our irrepressible heroine trying to untangle complex questions about both the past and the present—all while using her highly developed moral code.
“She believes that when we come into contact with other people that we enter into some sort of moral relationship with them,” explains author Alexander McCall Smith. “This leads into difficulties, because when she meets somebody…she feels that there are obligations there, that if somebody needs her help, she has to help that person.” It’s an interesting question for a reading group to discuss—are we obligated to assist everyone we meet? Are there limits to the help we can and should provide?
Watch the video below to find out more about Isabel Dalhousie’s approach to these issues: