Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Charming Quirks of Others

This book is indeed charming!  Fans of the Isabel Dalhousie series, set in Edinburgh, will not be disappointed with this latest offering.  Isabel, philosopher and editor of an ethics magazine, continues to ponder on life's moral questions and tries to assist people in predicament along the way.  Her latest request for help involves investigating the origin of a note, warning of an undesirable incident that occurred in someone's past.  Three men are in the frame to replace the outgoing headmaster of a private boys' school and Isabel has to look into their backgrounds to uncover a less than ethical candidate.

This is a very gentle read with delicious descriptions of Edinburgh, sprinkled with the odd real-life Edinburgh citizen and set in actual Edinburgh establishments.  I always have a hankering to visit again after reading these novels and this one had the added bonus of leaving me quite content and serene.  
Alexander McCall Smith and Augustus Basil (me thinks)

Click here to listen to a short interview with Alexander McCall Smith discussing his latest book, The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (No. 12 in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series).


Darlene said...

Alexander McCall Smith is an author I have yet to read but I desperately want to! A colleague told me about a conversation in one of his books about a beige sweater that was described as 'distressed oatmeal'. That did it for me! That sort of clever humour is irresistible.

Glad you enjoyed this book, Cristina!

Sarah Ashford said...

I am really looking forward to reading this one. I have read all the others in the series and this one sounds interesting, particularly as I am a teacher and have worked in private schools. I love Edinburgh too, I have only been the once, and I inisted on visiting the wonderful Italian delicatessen Valvona and Corolla, (referred to in the Scotland Street Series) which took my husband and I ages to find, but was well worth it! By the way, I have set up a blog for our reading group, you can see what we are all about at
Kind regards Sarah

lyn said...

Darlene, Matthew of the distressed oatmeal jumper wore crushed strawberry trousers with it! Thank goodness he's now married to Elspeth who's sorted out his wardrobe. I love this series & the Scotland St books. Can't wait for a new one.

Anonymous said...

I never really got on with these books, I have read the first one but a while ago. Perhaps I should revisit these.

Cristina (Rochester Reader) said...

Darlene and Lyn: the distressed oatmeal phrase is quite comical. AMS often comes up with such humourous descriptions. Didn't Bertie also have crushed strawberry corduroy trousers?

Sarah: Great blog series and some interesting reads :-) How lovely to visit V&C - I didn't get to see too many of the AMS landmarks when I visited as I had just finished reading the first Isabel novel. I did spot quite a few other landmarks and was especially pleased to come upon the Usher Hall which was in that first book!

Jos: I think they can take a bit of getting used to and they can be a bit wordy in places. I found that the pace picks up in later novels. Sometimes a bit of a break is needed when reading a series. I highly recommend the Scotland Street series if you haven't tried it yet - and you can read it in instalments as this is how it was originally published.

Sarah Ashford said...

Hi Christine I now have a copy of this from the library and I'm looking forward to reading it once I have finished The Junior Officer's reading club. I am very excited because I have bought a ticket to see AMS at the Hay Book Festival in June, again! Tomorrow is book club at my house so we may well turn to your blog for inspiration for our next book choice. My new iPad will come into it's own! I have updated our blog, including scores out of ten for books from the last 4 years. We would love to hear if you have read any and what you think. Good luck with your studies, speak soon :-)

Cristina (Rochester Reader) said...

Hi Sarah. I hope you enjoy the McCall Smith as much as I did. How exciting to be going to Hay! I went a couple of years ago and loved it. I hope you have plenty of sunshine and enjoy the wonderful bookshops in the town. Thank you for your good wishes! I shall pop over to your blog to take a look.