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The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Alexander McCall Smith

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3152335,272 (3.73)20
Member:NewsieQ
Title:The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds
Authors:Alexander McCall Smith
Info:Little, Brown (2012), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Mystery, Cozy

Work details

The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds by Alexander McCall Smith (2012)

  1. 10
    The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency / Tears of the Giraffe / Morality for Beautiful Girls / The Kalahari Typing School for Men / The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander McCall Smith (4leschats)
    4leschats: This other series by AMS includes the gentle read, moral and philosophical aspects of the Isabel Dalhousie series
  2. 00
    Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith (4leschats)
    4leschats: Like the Dalhousie books, this series explores the relationships and intersections of a group of people.
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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
This is another successful demonstration of the author’s characteristic chatty style of story-telling that he uses in his Isabel Dalhousie series.

Isabel agrees to help Duncan, a friend of a friend, to get back a valuable painting stolen from him. At the beginning, her role is to support and comfort Duncan in dealing with the grief of the loss of the painting and his feelings of violation (the painting was stolen from his home). When the thieves make overtures to return the painting in exchange for a “reward” offered by the insurance company Isabel takes a more active role. She actually goes with him to a sort of “proof of life” meeting. This is after a bizarre meeting the two of them have with an odd lawyer who purports to represent someone who can return the paint (she’s quick to say she her clients are not the thieves). The role of this lawyer is not fully examined, although she is largely censured by Isabel. Isabel and Duncan discuss whether paying ransom would encourage further thefts (the same debate about governments paying ransom for hostages). There is no long debate and it is resolved that if he wants the painting Duncan will need to do what is necessary including paying a ransom. While it is not strictly speaking a cozy whodunit story, as it progresses the identity of the thief becomes an issue for Isabel to address, which she does in an unexpected way to a good result.

The art theft story-line is not the only one in the book: Isabel deals with series-recurring characters, Eddie and Grace, along the way. There’s even references to the dreaded Professor Lettuce.

This book will likely appeal to McCall Smith fans. Personally I like Isabel but I find a little bit of her can go a long way -- it’s good to limit the number of visits. Of course, there is the point that McCall Smith is writing the same book over and over. It may be time for some freshening of the formula. ( )
  BrianEWilliams | Mar 9, 2017 |
Isabel Dalhousie is, in my estimation, one of Alexander McCall Smith's most sympathetic characters. This philosopher and amateur detective approaches all of life's mysteries, whether they be the theft of a priceless painting or how to deal with irritating people, with integrity, compassion and grace. Devoid of mawkish sentimentality, her random observations, of even the most mundane, take on a lyrical quality that expresses joy and gratitude in being alive. ( )
  maryhollis | Feb 20, 2017 |
I think I might be done with this series for a while. I was reading it because my mom loved it, but this book was the first one published after her death. I think even she too might agree that the series is a bit repetitive. And Isabel really is quite the busybody! ( )
  Virginia-A | Dec 21, 2016 |
This series moves a little slowly for me. Very contemplative. ( )
  KylaS | Feb 18, 2016 |
This is the second book I've read in the philosophy series and I find it amazing how different this series is from the #1 Ladies Detective Agency. While both characters - Isabel Dalousie in this series and Precious Ramotswe in the Botswana series have similar characters, I find Isabel irritating in her constant musings over every little thing. She's too tiresome for me. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
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This book is for Edward and Maryla Green.
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'Mozart,' said Isabel Dalhousie.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307907333, Hardcover)

ISABEL DALHOUSIE - Book 9

Nothing captures the charm of Edinburgh like the bestselling Isabel Dalhousie series of novels featuring the insatiably curious philosopher and woman detective.  Whether investigating a case or a problem of philosophy, the indefatigable Isabel Dalhousie, one of fiction’s most richly developed amateur detectives, is always ready to pursue the answers to all of life’s questions, large and small.

In this latest installment of Alexander McCall Smith’s endearing Isabel Dalhousie series, the Edinburgh philosopher and amateur sleuth answers an unexpected appeal from a wealthy Scottish collector who has been robbed of a valuable painting.

One afternoon over coffee at Cat’s delicatessen, a friend of Isabel’s shares a call for help from Duncan Munrowe. Crafty thieves have stolen a prized painting from his collection, a work by the celebrated French artist Nicolas Poussin that was earmarked for donation to the Scottish National Gallery. Munrowe has been approached by the thieves and hopes that Isabel will assist him in recovering the painting. Never one to refuse an appeal, she agrees, and discovers that the thieves may be closer to the owner than he ever would have expected.

Against the backdrop of this intriguing case, Isabel copes with life’s issues, large and small. She and Jamie have begun to suspect that their three-year-old son, Charlie, might be a budding mathematical genius. What should be done about it? Then there is the question of whether Isabel should help a young couple who want to move in together—against the wishes of the girl’s parents. The boyfriend is hoping Isabel might intercede.

As she wrestles with these problems, Isabel finds herself tested as a parent, a philosopher and a friend. But, as always, she manages to use the right combination of good sense, quick wits and a kind heart to come to the right solution, proving once again why Isabel Dalhousie has become one of Alexander McCall Smith’s most beloved characters.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:31 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Investigating the theft of a valuable painting that was supposed to be donated to the Scottish National Gallery, Isabel harbors a growing suspicion that the thieves may be close to the painting's wealthy owner.

(summary from another edition)

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