In the following extract, Stuart and Irene are the parents of a precocious little boy of about six, called Bertie. Irene is ambitious for her child, but Bertie would prefer that she wasn’t. Stuart is a bit of a wimp when it comes to be a father, unfortunately, and finds it difficult to break out.
When Stuart returned home that evening, Irene was in the sitting room with Bertie, playing a complicated card game of Bertie’s own invention, Running Dentist. The rules, which Bertie had explained at extreme length, and with great patience, seemed excessively complex to Irene and appeared to favour Bertie in an indefinable way, but the game was quick, and surprisingly enjoyable.
‘Ah,’ said Stuart, as he put down his briefcase. ‘Running Dentist! I take it that you’re winning, Bertie.’
‘Mummy is doing her best,’ said Bertie. ‘She’s really trying.’
Stuart glanced at Irene. He knew that she was a bad loser, and that it was hard for her when Bertie won a game, as he so often did.
‘It’s a very difficult game to win,’ observed Irene, ‘unless you happen to be the person who invented the rules.’
From Chapter 13 of Love Over Scotland, the third in the series, 44 Scotland St, by Alexander McCall Smith. I think McCall Smith probably enjoys writing about these three characters more than any others in the series.