Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds-Alexander McCall Smith

The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds

Alexander McCall Smith

Pantheon, Oct 23 2012, $24.95

ISBN: 9780307907332

In Edinburgh, Isabel Dalhousie lives a busy life. She edits the Review of Applied Ethics, deals with friends and family and “sorts out people's difficulties."

Affluent Duncan Munrowe asks for her help. Thieves stole his valuable Nicolas Poussin painting and offer to return it if he pays their ransom demands. He wants her to negotiate the safe return of his prized work that he plans to donate to the Scottish National Gallery. Isabel agrees to regain the renowned French artist’s masterpiece. On the personal front, Isabel the philosopher knows first-hand relationships are confusing due to The Charming (and not so charming) Quirks of Others.

The latest Isabel Dalhousie contemporary (see The Forgotten Affairs of Youth) is an engaging amusing tale that deeply looks at the ethics of people. The enjoyable painting subplot is the prime entry. However Isabel’s math prodigy toddler Charlie, her caring lover Jamie, her dedicated but anger management not housekeeper Grace, her toxic niece Cat (at the restaurant), and Cat’s employee Eddie affirm that human interactivity is a contact sport with no rules.

Harriet Klausner

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