Stirling's Nicholson chronicles--now three volumes long--go on, and apparently will go on, given the cliff the writer leaves her characters hanging from at the close of this latest installment. Of course, there was a cliffhanger at the end of the previous book, The Asking Price, too, for leading lady Kirsty had just made love with the missionary doctor, David Lockhart, before he sailed off from Glasgow to China, leaving Kirsty to handle her testy common-law husband, Constable Craig. Here, that little marital glitch gets kicked under the rug when Craig decides to mn away with his mistress, Greta Taylor, only to have the lady scotch the plan and relationship both. Kirsty, who learns about Craig's infidelity through the precinct grapevine, uses her knowledge as a way to gain independence. A legacy from her old friend Nessie Frew--compounded by a win at the racetrack--gives her the capital to open a shop, G.A. Nicholson's Domestic Emporium, where she employs former rival Greta, now a close friend. Craig, who's schemed to revenge himself on Greta by revealing the true parentage of her adopted daughter, relents, and finds himself surprisingly attracted to his wife again--with the feeling returned. Still, there's trouble brewing on the horizon as Craig's brother, Gordon, gets further entangled with the shady Adair family and as a polio epidemic erupts, which seems likely to claim the life of Kirsty's wee bairn, Bobby. A saga about as glittery as pickled herring--but it continues to serve up an authentic portrait of Glasgow street-life and the ups and downs of marriage.