* The wonderful new Isabel Dalhousie novel
Following a distinguished career as a Professor of Medical Law, Alexander McCall Smith has turned to writing full-time. He is the author of over sixty books on a wide array of subjects, and his books have been translated into forty-five languages. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife.
While Smith's seventh novel featuring Scottish philosopher and woman of means Isabel Dalhousie (after The Lost Art of Gratitude) doesn't break new ground, the author's many fans will be more than satisfied to follow the small events of Isabel's life, in particular her struggle to come to terms with her own imperfections. Much to Isabel's dismay, Prue, a cellist with a terminal illness who's a professional colleague of her bassoonist fiance, Jamie, has been making ever greater demands on the good-natured Jamie. An angry Isabel eventually accuses Jamie of sleeping with Prue. Meanwhile, Isabel agrees to dig into the background of three candidates for headmaster at an Edinburgh boys' school after an anonymous letter claims that one of them has a skeleton in his closet. If chance more than a logical strategy leads Isabel to resolve this issue, her investigation leads her to valuable insights into human nature. As usual, crisp, often funny prose complements the author's limitless reserve of good will and understanding of people in general. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Isabel Dalhousie-moral philosopher, editor of The Review of Applied Ethics, and genteel problem-solver-returns for a seventh amiable saunter through her beloved Edinburgh (after The Lost Art of Gratitude). When an anonymous letter casts aspersions on three candidates vying to become headmaster at a tony boarding school, Isabel discreetly investigates. Meanwhile, Isabel ruminates on personal dilemmas: an old nemesis tries to insinuate himself back into the pages of The Review, and, more worryingly, she wonders if the affections of Jamie, her much younger fiance, may be straying. Verdict As the seemingly indefatigable McCall Smith expands his literary output ("The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" and "44 Scotland Street" series, La's Orchestra Saves the World, Corduroy Mansions, and so on), the plots become ever slighter, and this is no exception. However, his sly observations on the human condition remain warm and intelligent, and the evocative description of the Scottish cityscape is utterly beguiling. The result is pure comfort reading. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/10.]-Annabelle Mortensen, Skokie P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.