Stirling's evocative Glasgow trilogy continues as the poor ex-crofters of book one, The Good Provider (1988), settle into tenement life and learn how to make a buck in the big city--on both sides of the law. Here, heroine Kirsty Nicholson must cope with the appearance on her doorstep of a passel of Nicholson kin, including her husband's shrewish mother, Madge, and industrious brother-in-law, Gordon. Of course with baby Bobby wailing in his crib, Constable Craig's uniform to see to, and endless cups of tea to dispense, Kirsty barely has the time to visit with the handsome assistant pastor at St. Anne's Church, David Lockhart. Between rounds, however, Craig manages to check in with a lovely lady on Benedict Street, Greta Taylor, who becomes his ""bunty""; and mother Madge teases a slightly shady businessman, Breezy Adair, into wedlock, taking Gordon with her into the nouveau fiche realm of Great Western Terrace. Meanwhile, lonely and unappreciated, Kirsty reveals to David that she and Craig never officially tied the knot, though that doesn't stop the guilt-ridden young minister from signing on for mission work in China. Fortunately, before he goes, Kirsty gets a legacy from her old friend, Nessie Frew--meaning that she'll be safe and secure when Constable Craig chucks it all and runs off with Greta Taylor. This installment lacks the high drama of the first, but nonetheless offers a densely detailed picture of Victorian tenement life--as well as a collection of comfy characters for historical-soap fans.