Book 9 - The Isabel Dalhousie Series

The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds

An Isabel Dalhousie Novel (9)

    • 4.1 • 58 Ratings
    • $9.99
    • $9.99

Publisher Description


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.

This ebook edition includes a Reading Group Guide

Mysteries & Thrillers
October 23
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

Nuria Alim ,

Wondering about the author’s motive

I have read the “First Ladies” books, and found them delightful, and then I got hooked into this, the Isabel Dalhousie series. These are also—or can be—delightful, but the author seems to use them as a vehicle for the explication of his own philosophical musings (he has said, in an interview, that it is this character with whom he identifies most), and seems unable to write even a paragraph that has some action and plot without the main character—Isabel--going off into a lengthy contemplation of some topic that the unfolding story reminds her of. Her reflections take up far more time than the actual plot, and they are not particularly profound, although references to great philosophers and epistimologists abound; in fact, they are barely enough to cause the reader to think “oh, just what I’ve always thought myself,” while waiting to get back to the actual story. And they go on and on and ON, frequently crowding out the actual plot. I genuinely enjoy these books, but I end up leaving them for sometimes months at a time, simply because I become bored, even while appreciating the character and her life. I generally return to them, but this one has rather defeated me, and this morning I picked up a book by another favorite author who is capable of painting masterly and involving pictures of her settings while telling wonderful stories acted out by compelling characers, and I suddenly noted the difference between the two. I recently read the interview with McCall Smith that I mention above, and learned that he writes with amazing rapidity and evidently churns out books by the dozen in very little time, for which top price is charged. The thing is, he is NOT Dostoevsky, and I feel rather irritated that I have spent as much money as I have on his books, but that is what happens when one gets hooked on e-readers. My point: he’s just not that good, and I sometimes think that his lengthy musings on the inner lives of his characters serves as a foil for his somewhat ordinary writing ability. As for me, I learn more from a good story that evokes my own inner landscapes.

Calwickstrom ,

Not Precious

Not nearly as good as number one detective agency series

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