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The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds by Alexander…
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The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Alexander McCall Smith

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2211352,606 (3.86)16
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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English (12)  French (1)  All languages (13)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Isabel Dalhousie is approached to offer support for the owner of a stolen Poussin which is being held for ransom.

As ever the events in the lives of the regular characters and Isabel's musings are far more interesting than the actual mystery of the stolen painting. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jun 11, 2014 |
Isabel is drawn into an art theft that may be within the family, while inadvertently alienating Grace on the subject of teaching Charlie maths.
  ritaer | Apr 12, 2014 |
This installation of the Isabel Dalhousie series featured all the primary characters, but in reduced scenes. The series is basically the wandering within the mind of Isabel. We learn of Isabel's reaction to various events. The reader can feel Isabel's wonder of her beautiful life with Jamie and Charlie, and their housekeeper, Grace. The other character, such as Cat and Eddie, just hovered about the perimeter of the story, this time. I like Isabel's method of deduction and her belief in the identity of the painting thief. Sometimes, I am just not in the mood for Isabel, but I found the story better than prior novels. ( )
  delphimo | May 20, 2013 |
I received this book as a First Reads giveaway.

This was my first foray into the Isabel Dalhousie series, and in fact the first book I've read by Alexander McCall Smith.

One would imagine from the synopsis alone that this book is about a woman (Isabel, a philospher) helping a man recover his stolen multi-million dollar painting. I love mystery, and I especially love art heists, so it sounded right up my alley - I was thrilled when I won it through GoodReads!

This book is not actually about an art theft, or much of a mystery at all. That whole thing is basically a sideline, a B plot, at best - which I was actually quite disappointed about.

The main bulk of the book comprises of Isabel's philosophical thoughts, and the conundrum of allowing her babysitter to continue on teaching math to her 3 year old son. The writing itself is wonderful, I love Smith's flowing prose, although sometimes it can be heavy-handed (in fact, there were a few paragraphs where I couldn't help rolling my eyes at Isabel's rambling thoughts and skipped to the end). But going into this book thinking that it as a mystery and then having it be almost anything but (the actual "mystery" is written quite poorly, and doesn't even come to much of a resolution), was disappointing. If I had gone into this book knowing that it wasn't primarily about the theft of Duncan Munrowe's painting, I probably wouldn't harbour the disappointment I do.

Isabel herself I'm not particularly fond of, although she's an extremely strong and well written character. She's very stuffy, quite prim, and suffer fits of loosing herself in thought, sometimes so that she actually ignores the person she's talking to because she's so in her own head. This is a strong character, everything she does and thinks is 100% believable. I have no qualms about the writing of her itself - I just I'm not sure I'd like her much in person, and I think that's what turned me off. It's actually a testament to McCall Smith's exceptionally strong writing style and character development.

Having said that, it was interesting book, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it. I might go back and read Isabel Dalhousie's first book because I feel like perhaps jumping into the middle of her life did not do her justice.

Perhaps other books of this series does focus more on mystery than this one - it's something I'm interested in enough to try out.

All in all 2.5 or 3 out of five stars. It's just too bad I went into this thinking it was actually a mystery/art heist book due to the misleading synopsis. ( )
  xitomatl | Apr 6, 2013 |
Actually, it was the appeal of being a lady philosopher, with a hefty portion of common sense what carried me through this book. With not a worry in the world to call her own, the main character Isabel busies herself with other people's moral and other dilemmas - a true luxury life, which I suppose some people, indeed, get to live. Good for them. The writing was readable, but not gripping, kind of non-committal. I have never read a book from McCall Smith before, so did not know what to expect, but must say that I was not very impressed and probably will not pick up another. ( )
  flydodofly | Feb 17, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:32 -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)

» see all 4 descriptions

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