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The Private Life of Spies and The Exquisite Art of Getting Even by Alexander McCall Smith 5/09

Cover for the book The Private Life of Spies and the Exquisite Art of Getting Even. The art is an illustration. The background is a mix between navy blue and purple. The text Alexander McCall Smith is at the very top in light yellow.  Below that is a light blue angel holding a red ribbon that makes an S to the bottom of the page. Next comes the text The Private Life of Spies in bright gold. Below that is the text The Exquisite Art of Getting Even in Orange. At the very bottom is an illustration of a white fence with a yellow table and chairs in front of it.

In this dual collection of short stories, Alexander McCall Smith brings his trademark humor and warmth to inventive tales of spying and vengeance. In one story, a spy dropped deep into enemy territory manages to disguise himself--quite convincingly--as a nun. In another, an invitation to join the Vatican Secret Service sends a prospective operative down a rabbit hole of controversy and confusion. A third story finds an author, on the brink of public ruin, seeing the error of his ways after an act of kindness saves the day.
A keen observer of humanity imbued with a sparkling imagination, Alexander McCall Smith illustrates throughout that transparency is paramount and forgiveness is restorative. With surprising insight and a healthy helping of humor, these stories remind us that, in the end, the high road is often the better one for all involved.