The Charming Quirks of Others

The Charming Quirks of Others

Book - 2010
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A couple who are old friends of Isabel Dalhousie's ask for her help in a rather tricky situation: A successor is being sought for the headmaster position at their alma mater. The board has four final candidates but has received an anonymous letter alleging that one of them has a very serious skeleton in the closet. Could Isabel discreetly look into it?
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c2010
Edition: 1st United States ed
ISBN: 9780307379177
Characteristics: 256 p. ; 22 cm
Call Number: MCCALL SMITH, A


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Feb 10, 2019

7th title in the series ....this is a quiet feeling plot; quite introspective.
That Cat niece has quite the attitude, towards almost everything. I keep feeling her self-centeredness as a character flaw. But true to life as a characterization.
I suspect McCall Smith knows we will not automatically like Cat because of her prickly attitudes about so much of everything.....but she seems quite fair to Eddie, her employee. That's good.

Jul 30, 2018

Smith writes prolifically about detectives in Botswana, Portuguese irregular verbs, etc. This time, during a hot summer, the cool climes of Edinburg, both regional and intellectual, called to me. I was not disappointed. Although Isabel Dalhousie does very little detective work, we get a lot of Edinburg, its people, its places, ethics, food, culture, and, of course the author's rather whimsical and random observations of human nature thinly veiled as the thoughts of Ms. Dalhousie. Smith weaves his omniscient narration so skillfully into the thoughts implied (but never formally attributed) to our protagonist that we walk with her through her life as editor of a philosophical review, mother of a 2 year old, and almost fiancée to a younger man experiencing her realizations and self review of same. This is light enough for a beach read and yet deep enough to make you think a bit too.

mrsgail5756 Jan 06, 2014

The book was okay – but not one of my favorites.

Aug 11, 2012

When is the Queen going to knight Alexander McCall Smith?! he certainly deserves it - he writes such charming novels with such insight into the human condition and with such marvellous characters and situations. The gentility and the mirror held up to our times is reminiscent of Jane Austen.

melwyk May 01, 2012

Another addition to a favourite series -- as usual, there is a lot of pondering of the fine shadings of ethical response to the various situations Isabel encounters. She ties herself in knots about things, at times, that to others would appear fairly simple.

But that's part of her charm: she's a deliberate, thoughtful, woman who experiences some guilt about her easy life (inherited wealth, secure life situation). And of course, the incidental characters in this story are full of interest as well -- McCall Smith is able to communicate his fascination with everyone's stories, and make the slightest person seem intriguing. There are some moments that catch at your heart in this book, and make you wish for life to go a little more easily for certain characters.

Jul 19, 2011

How does McCall Smith capture what is so special about the ordinary in life? Isabel's philosophical wanderings connect moral dilemmas with the day-to-day decisions about individual behavior. So real.

HELEN M. ZSUTTY Apr 29, 2011

Another lovely book by Alexander McCall Smith. Although a very quick read, the author is able to bring out the "charming" qualities of the characters. I'm a huge fan of his books.

Feb 14, 2011

Another quietly unfolding look into the current issues of an independently wealthy Edinbourgh woman who has many roles, two of which are being a mother and an owner/editor of a philosophy journal.
Sometimes veers towards being a little overly disparaging about the motivations of others but manages to refrain from going too far down that road.
Always interesting to catch up on the latest installment of Isobel's world.

Jan 22, 2011

As usual, Alexander McCall Smith gets you to invest yourself into the ongoing characters in this Scottish mystery series. This time Isabel agrees to investigate three candidates for the head master's position at a boy's school because an anonymous writer has hinted that one of them is not what he pretends to be. A good premise, but some of Isabel's "hunches" in this book were so far out there that it left you wondering.


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