Monday, January 31, 2011

The Charming Quirks of Others by Alexander McCall Smith

Just finished the 7th book in the Isabel Dalhousie series over the weekend - they're novels with a bit of intrigue of an intellectual nature, not a series filled with suspense or mystery.  Isabel Dalhousie is a Scottish moral philosopher. She edits a philosophy journal, has a housekeeper who keeps her on her toes, and gets "involved" in people's troubles. Her niece Cat owns a delicatessen, and Isabel also helps out there from time to time.

It's not a rollicking, action-packed book - it's slow paced and leisurely as we stroll through Edinburgh and other parts of Scotland in search of the answers.  Isabel makes me think about what I would do in her place.  And I do enjoy these books  quite a lot. Maybe it's my idea of a cozy mystery...

For more of a "traditional" mystery, so to speak, try McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series... Mma Precious Ramotswe is not traditional, nor is it an Agatha Christie type of plot, but there's still solving a crime/the pursuit of truth in the mix. And much the way McCall Smith shows us Isabel's Scotland, we see a glimpse of Botswana in these books.  Indeed, the different countries (their geography, culture and customs) play pivotal roles in both series.

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