The Careful Use of Compliments
An Isabel Dalhousie Novel
By Alexander Mccall Smith
(Random House Large Print, Hardcover, Large Print, 9780739327463, 448pp.)
Publication Date: August 7, 2007
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Isabel Dalhousie is back, in the latest installment of this enchanting, already beloved, best-selling series.
In addition to being the nosiest and most sympathetic philosopher you are likely to meet, Isabel is now a mother. Charlies, her newborn son, presents her with a myriad wonders of a new life, and doting father Jamie presents her with an intriguing proposal: marriage. In the midst of all this, she receives a disturbing letter announcing that she has been ousted as editor of the Review of Applied Ethics by the ambitious Professor Dove.
None of these things, however, in any way diminishes Isabel's curiosity. And when she attends an art auction, she finds an irresistible puzzle: two paintings attributed to a now-deceased artist appear on the market at the same time, and both of them exhibit some unusual characteristics. Are these paintings forgeries? This proves to be sufficient fodder for Isabel's inquisitiveness. So she begins an investigation... and soon finds herself diverging from her philosophical musings about fatherhood onto a path that leads her into the mysteries of the art world and the soul of an artist.
Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the huge international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics.
- The novel opens with Isabel and Jamie discussing a philosophical question: out of one hundred people, how many mean well? Isabel is more optimistic about human nature than Jamie is. Is there a character in this story who does not mean well? Whose view of the relative goodness of human nature is more correct—Jamie's or Isabel's?
"Enchanting... Delicious mental comfort food... The 'intimate' city of Edinburgh is an appealing character is its own right."
--Los Angeles Times
"Completely absorbing... will captivate and enthrall."
--Detroit Free Press
"McCall Smith, a fine writer, paints his hometown of Edinburgh as indelibly as he captures the sunniness of Africa. We can almost feel the mists as we tread the cobblestones."
--The Dallas Morning News
"Witty, ruminative, and wise."