41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Charming, but slow,
This review is from: The Charming Quirks Of Others (Isabel Dalhousie Novels) (Hardcover)This is the seventh installment in the series about Isabel Dalhousie, philosopher and occasional amateur sleuth and I feel like the series is starting to slowly run out of steam. It's a charming novel but it suffers badly from an absence of momentum. The plot is even slighter than usual. A large portion of the book is about Isabel's relationship with Jamie and they seem to have many philosophical conversations, which are pleasant enough but don't really go anywhere. Otherwise the main storyline is about Isabel being asked to look into the backgrounds of three applicants for a school principal position, one of whom happens to be Cat's new boyfriend. An anonymous letter has been sent to the Board of Governors alleging that one of the candidates has a dark secret.
I can't shake the feeling that Isabel and Jamie just aren't right for each other - despite the fact that their wedding is apparently imminent. Before Jamie, Isabel was a strong woman, but now she spends so much time worrying about whether she's worthy of him. At one point she hears that he has been seen at a movie, which she didn't know he'd gone to. She immediately leaps to the assumption that he is having an affair and tells him she hates him. This didn't feel like the Isabel I know and love. One of her friends says to her: "Occasionally we've asked ourselves if the real threat to your relationship with Jamie might be your finding out that apart from the physical attraction, Jamie did not bring enough to the relationship to keep you interested". Isabel gets all huffy and indignant at this, but I tended to agree.
McCall Smith's Edinburgh is a small town where everyone is connected and even taxi drivers are philosophers. People have no major failings, just "charming quirks". It's the kind of book that leaves you feeling a little lighter in spirit, musing about topics such as the relative merits of Mozart vs the dinosaurs. However if you are new to the series, this is not the place to begin.
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Initial post: 15 Apr 2012 16:40:49 BDT
I tend to agree about Jamie - as an unrequited crush he added depth to Isabel's character. Now she actually has him, he's becoming a bore.
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