Thursday, January 07, 2010

Isabel Dalhousie is a 40-year -old Scottish unwed mother of a 3-month old baby boy. She is also a millionaire and a philosopher. Her boyfriend (father of the child) is an attractive, young professional musician. They live and work in Edinburgh. This fun, contemporary book is The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall Smith.
Isabel's thoughts propel the story as the author blends lovely and intriguing ideas with "odd remembered lines that keep popping out like corks". Although religion and faith were never really mentioned, I found it quite interesting that the character uses several biblical quotes in terms of her philosophy.
Isabel is the editor of The Review of Applied Ethics and as such she wields a great deal of self-righteous judgement in my opinion. She jumps to conclusions quite quickly on issues of morality and feels that it is her duty to right wrongs or at least confront those who have done wrong. The fact that she uses her considerable wealth to get revenge on those (of meager means) who have mistreated her does not, however, seem to cause her much moral anguish.
Although the story left me feeling that something was missing, I did enjoy reading this book. Since finishing it, I've learned that it is book 4 of a series featuring Isabel Dalhousie. Perhaps I'll try starting on the first in the series and find some of the missing pieces to round out Isabel's story.

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