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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
64
The Charming Quirks Of Others: 7 (Isabel Dalhousie Novels)
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on 5 March 2013
After reading a 700 page book on Anti-Semitism, I needed to relax and read a book where I did not have to use my brain cells. So I read this book! Usually I like these books because I recognise myself in Isabel Dalhousie's thoughts. I can myself day-dream like her or reason with myself, and forget time and place. BUT in this book, her philosophical dialogues with herself, were uninteresting. The "mystery" in this novel was for her to find out if the three canditates for a headmaster post at a private boys' school, had some shady past. She did not really put any effort in to it, just drew some general conclusions about two of them, only to find out in the last chapter, that the board of directors had decided to not go with any of the three, but keep the current headmaster. It feels like MacCall Smith wrote this book because his publisher ordered him to do so. There is no heart in it at all.

As for the frustrating relationship with Jamie, her much younger lover and husband-to-be, it just got more vexing in this book. So not even that gave any reading pleasure. The two have independent lives, live parallell lives if you wish. Is that really love? Is it love when you don't dare to confront someone? Is it love when you feel that you have to keep secrets from each other? These two have no problems in the bedroom but they don't TALK to each other except about music, poems, Scotland and their son. When Jamie goes to the cinema with a woman from his orchestra, Isabel only find out about it from her niece's employée, Eddie. Why was handsome Jamie in the cinema with another woman? Because the woman said she is dying and she has never had a boyfriend so could Jamie please fulfil a dying woman's wish and have sex with her? Jamie said no, but not strong enough for my comfort! Isabel had to go and deal with the woman since he would not! What does this say about their relationship? McCall Smith might think he has created a nice character in Jamie. As a woman, I say that he has created a wet noodle that is just staying with Isabel because it's comfortable and whether he loves her or not is beside the point. He doesn't have it in him to ever end a relationship. Both their relationship and the book are as exciting as a dead tuna.
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on 2 May 2014
I really enjoy McCall Smith's books and the Isabel Dalhousie series is lovely. The books are beautifully written. The story unfolds slowly and, even when faced with difficult decisions and circumstances, Isabel always finds an honourable way to conclude. I love reading these books as they offer a simple and straightforward view of life and I really wish that there were more people like Isabel in the world.
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on 24 September 2011
I have been reading these books for some time. At first I found Isobel's "perfect" life annoying and self satisfied but I now understand her quirks and weaknesses and find these endearing to some degree - but she is still smug with her life. It has made me want to visit Edinburgh and look a the village life she describes if only from a distance. Makes London seem brash and unsophisticated. Worth giving it a go but go back to beginning to get a full picture of her life and characters in the book
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on 12 February 2018
I haven't read it - it's a birthday present for a relative
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on 29 July 2016
What more is there to say, when I'm struggling with another author it good to have something enjoyable to fall back on. So there's always another Alexander McCall Smith to fall back on. Back to the book club book I'm struggling with.
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on 24 January 2014
Another gripping and funny episode in the lives of Dear Isabele, Jamie, Cat, Eddie and assorted regulars, not forgetting Bro Fox. McCall Smith continues to delight his readers with his insights into life, love and all things Scottish. Enjoyable even for the beginner of McCall Smith readers.
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on 3 February 2014
This book continues in the same vein as the rest of the series. I get lost in the gentle, thoughtful story line. Isabel leads a quiet life in mannerly Edinburgh, but it hold my interest. I love following her thought processes as she ponders on her own life, and those lived around her.
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on 22 July 2015
Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favourite authors. These series of books are charming and gentle. They may not be for everyone but I certainly enjoy the Isabel Dalhousie novels.
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on 26 April 2015
Yet another excellent book from the series about Isabel Dalhousie by Alexander McCall Smith. Even if you hadn't read any of his books before you would enjoy this novel.
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on 2 March 2017
Good at a good price and on time thanks
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