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The Charming Quirks of Others

by Alexander McCall Smith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Isabel Dalhousie (7)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6993025,338 (3.64)45
A couple who are old friends of Isabel Dalhousie's ask for her help in a rather tricky situation: A successor is being sought for the headmaster position at their alma mater. The board has four final candidates but has received an anonymous letter alleging that one of them has a very serious skeleton in the closet. Could Isabel discreetly look into it?… (more)
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» See also 45 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
3.99 stars. A lovely use of my leisure time. I enjoy spending time in Isabel's head. And I am sure I would enjoy visiting Scotland. But as described here, lordy, these Scots are a tongue-tied bunch. Makes me realize I am happy to be an oversharing American. Once I laughed out loud which is not an experience I expect to have while reading these books. Unfortunately I can't remember what prompted the laughter. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
This novel is, as most of McCall-Smith's books are, about morality, love, kindness, modesty, communication, intent, respect and gratitude. The Charming Quirks of Others once again features Isabel being asked to 'help' someone with what I have named 'social investigations'. Isabel is intelligent, kind, contemplative and a very curious, open-minded philosopher and agrees to help, if not enthusiastically, with a feeling of responsibility. Personally I think she sees these cases as a necessary avocation, providing her stimulus, as well as a distraction from the often tedious work as owner and editor of The Review of Applied Ethics. She takes both responsibilties seriously.

Her social investigations lead to her meet with people to ask questions. She is successful at this because she is an intuitve listener, and knows the right questions to ask. But, and this is McCall-Smith's key point, she is human, and like all of us, makes assumptions and mistakes but... recognizing the truth, she, incredibly aware of what she must do or not do, quickly corrects and makes amends for any errors. We, the readers, can learn much from each of her investigations and each of McCall-Smith's books. About human strengths in making difficult choices, caring about others which build us up. And human weaknesses like infidelity, greed, lying and bullying which harm us all.

Isabel Dalhousie is the means with which McCall Smith illustrates how the subject of philosophy, which most of us consider ancient and of little importance, has actual and meaningfull applications in the real world. Using bits of history, nature, art and poetry, and music add balance to each book to make us see just some of the depth of the world's beauty.

Please do read these uniquely special books.
  Bookish59 | Mar 28, 2021 |
Another good time spent with my friends Isabele, Jamie and Charlie in Edinburgh. As usual Isabele gets involved unraveling a mystery. ( )
  GeoffSC | Jul 25, 2020 |
Charmingly written, a comfort book which leads one gently to reflect on several topics, one of which is forgiveness. "There are so many grudges we can hold against the pst and for the love and approval that we did not get from it. But if we forgive, then the past can lost its power to hurt." (p.134). But less you think that Pollyanna had a hand in writing this, Mr. Smith also writes "then it is because somewhere within ourselves we have an outrageous part: a dark twin in whose mind thoughts of infidelity, carnal excess, selfishness dwell with ease and naturalness."
( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
Perhaps this book suffered from being read close after the latest in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, which I enjoyed soooo much more. This seemed to be a weak addition to the Dalhousie series; certainly none of the characters was made more attractive in it. The beautiful Jamie sounded like a weepy wimp and Isabel was making a lot of overly quick & incorrect judgements. 2-1/2 stars ( )
  Siubhan | Feb 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Smith, Alexander McCallprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Skopan, MartineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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This book is for Robin Straus, in gratitude.
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‘Saturday evening,’ remarked Isabel Dalhousie. ‘A time for the burning of ears.’
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A couple who are old friends of Isabel Dalhousie's ask for her help in a rather tricky situation: A successor is being sought for the headmaster position at their alma mater. The board has four final candidates but has received an anonymous letter alleging that one of them has a very serious skeleton in the closet. Could Isabel discreetly look into it?

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