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Books in the series: Isabel Dalhousie Novels

The Geometry of Holding Hands

The Geometry of Holding Hands

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/06/2020

Isabel Dalhousie applies her moral philosopher's mind to wrongdoings in Edinburgh, and will have to call upon her powers of deduction and her unflappable moral code to unravel another mystery in the new novel from the bestselling author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. In Edinburgh, rumours and gossip abound. But Isabel knows that such things can't be taken at face value. Still, the latest whispers hint at mysterious goings-on, and who but Isabel can be trusted to get to the bottom of them? At the same time, she must deal with the demands of her two small children, her husband and her rather tempestuous niece, Cat, whose latest romantic entanglement comes - to no one's surprise - with complications. Even with so much going on, Isabel, through the application of good sense, logic and ethics, will, as ever, triumph.

The Quiet Side of Passion

The Quiet Side of Passion

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/02/2019

It is summer in Edinburgh and Isabel Dalhousie is once again caught between 'gossip' and significant rumour. It is none of her business that Patricia, the mother of her son Charlie's little friend Basil, is estranged from Basil's father, or that the woman has a somewhat brazen attitude to childcare. And yet, it is curious. Isabel, however, has much else on her mind as editor of the 'Review of Applied Ethics'. Along with the work involved for its impending next issue, she really needs to get her house in order and tend to the demands of her niece, Cat. Thankfully, the arrival of Antonia, the exuberant Italian au pair, will take care of urgent chores. And the hiring of Claire, a diligent if unsettlingly beautiful new assistant at the 'Review', surely means that Isabel can breathe, at least a little. But her sharp observation and assured role as confidante soon have Isabel doubting all her recent decisions. What's more, her instinct to help others may have put her in real danger. In her desire to run both a smooth household and working life, has she simply created more chaos? Perhaps the quiet side of passion is, after all, the best side on which to be?

The Quiet Side of Passion

The Quiet Side of Passion

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/06/2018

The twelfth instalment in the Isabel Dalhousie series . . . It is summer in Edinburgh and Isabel Dalhousie is once again caught between 'gossip' and significant rumour. It is none of her business that Patricia, the mother of her son Charlie's little friend Basil, is estranged from Basil's father, or that the woman has a somewhat brazen attitude to childcare. And yet, it is curious. Isabel, however, has much else on her mind as editor of the Review of Applied Ethics. Along with the work involved for its impending next issue, she really needs to get her house in order and tend to the demands of her niece, Cat. Thankfully, the arrival of Antonia, the exuberant Italian au pair, will take care of urgent chores. And the hiring of Claire, a diligent if unsettlingly beautiful new assistant at the Review, surely means that Isabel can breathe, at least a little. But her sharp observation and assured role as confidante soon have Isabel doubting all her recent decisions. What's more, her instinct to help others may have put her in real danger. In her desire to run both a smooth household and working life, has she simply created more chaos? Perhaps the quiet side of passion is, after all, the best side on which to be?

The Quiet Side of Passion

The Quiet Side of Passion

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/06/2018

The nursery gate is a good place for parents to meet one another. As the mother of two small children, Isabel finds herself enlarging her circle of friends to include other parents. She meets Patricia, an Irishwoman, a musician and the single mother of a small boy called Basil Phelps. Isabel hears from her husband, Jamie, that this child is allegedly the unacknowledged son of a well-known Edinburgh organist, Basil Phelps. Patricia takes to Isabel, but Isabel is suspicious - there is something about Patricia that she does not quite like, but, with her usual attention to moral obligation, she does her best to be civil and supportive. That is until she sees Patricia with a mysterious, freckled man. Isabel gets it into her head that this is Patricia's lover, and that he must be the real father of young Basil. When further discoveries are made, everything is turned on its head. Despite Jamie's discouragement, Isabel decides that she is going to get to the bottom things. Yet, when the truth is finally revealed, it seems that Isabel has misjudged Patricia; in fact, she has misjudged just about everybody.

A Distant View of Everything

A Distant View of Everything

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/04/2018

Recently distracted by the arrival of her and Jamie's second son, Magnus, Isabel Dalhousie - philanthropic editor of the Review of Applied Ethics - is anxious. The next issue of the Review is far from ready, her eldest, Charlie, is jealous, and their housekeeper, Grace, has an officious approach to childcare. With some relief, Isabel returns to helping out at her niece Cat's delicatessen, where surely the most taxing duty is the preparation of sandwiches. It's not long before Isabel's helpful, philosophical nature draws her into customers' problems, specifically that of ambitious, self-proclaimed matchmaker, Bea Shandon. Bea has staged a potentially dangerous liaison involving enigmatic plastic surgeon, Tony MacUspaig, who may not be quite who he claims to be - and Isabel's help is required in getting to the truth of the matter. Good-hearted Isabel proceeds with her usual thorough attention to task, and on Bea's advice talks to her friend Rob, a trustworthy regular on Bea's dinner party circuit, and known to have deep suspicions about MacUspaig. It becomes clear, however, that Rob has an agenda of his own and Isabel is now contending with that, along with a mysterious medical condition of Jamie's and some frustrating dead ends when it comes to Bea's predicament. When the truth finally reveals itself, Isabel must conclude that along with MacUspaig, Bea, Jamie - and even Cat - she herself is not immune to misunderstandings, or the neurotic fantasies that arise from keeping secrets . . .

The Novel Habits of Happiness

The Novel Habits of Happiness

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/04/2016

Isabel Dalhousie is one of Edinburgh's most generous (but discreet) philanthropists - but should she be more charitable? She wonders, sometimes, if she is too judgmental about her niece's amorous exploits, too sharp about her housekeeper's spiritual beliefs, too ready to bristle in battle against her enemies. As the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, she doesn't, of course, allow herself actual enemies, but she does feel enmity - especially towards two academics who have just arrived in the city. Isabel feels they're a highly destabilizing influence; little tremors in the volcanic rock upon which an Enlightened Edinburgh perches. Equally troubling is the situation of the little boy who is convinced he had a previous life. When Isabel is called upon to help, she finds herself questioning her views on reincarnation. And the nature of grief. And - crucially - the positioning of lighthouses. The only questions Isabel doesn't have to address concern her personal life.

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The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds

The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2013

As a mother, wife, employer and editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, Isabel Dalhousie is aware that to be human is to be responsible. So when a neighbour brings her a new and potentially dangerous puzzle to solve, once again Isabel feels she has no option but to shoulder the burden. A masterpiece painting has been stolen from Duncan Munrowe, old-fashioned philanthropist, father to two discontented children, and a very wealthy man. As Isabel enters into negotiations with the shadowy figures who are in search of a ransom, a case where heroes and villains should be clearly defined turns murky: the list of those who desire the painting - or the money - lengthens, and hasty judgement must be avoided at all cost.

ebook of the month
The Careful Use Of Compliments

The Careful Use Of Compliments

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/01/2013

For philosophically minded Isabel Dalhousie, editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, getting through life with a clear conscience requires careful thought. And with the arrival of baby Charlie, not to mention a passionate relationship with his father Jamie, fourteen years her junior, Isabel enters deeper and rougher waters. Late motherhood is not the only challenge facing Isabel. Even as she negotiates a truce with her furious niece Cat, and struggles for authority over her son with her formidable housekeeper Grace, Isabel finds herself drawn into the story of a painter's mysterious death off the island of Jura. Perhaps most seriously of all, Isabel's professional existence and that of her beloved Review come under attack from the machiavellian and suspiciously handsome Professor Dove. A master storyteller whether debating ethics in Edinburgh or pursuing lady detectives in Africa, here Alexander McCall Smith is as witty and wise as his irresistibly spirited heroine.

The Comfort Of Saturdays

The Comfort Of Saturdays

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/08/2009

Isabel Dalhousie is a new mother and a connoisseur of philosophy; she'd rather not be a sleuth. But when a chance conversation at a dinner party draws her into the case of a doctor whose career has been ruined, she cannot ignore what may be a miscarriage of justice. Because for Isabel ethics are not theoretical at all, but an everyday matter of life and death. As she attempts to unravel the truth behind Dr Thompson's disgrace, Isabel's patient intelligence is also required to deal with challenges in her own life. There is her baby son Charlie; Cat's deli to look after, not to mention her vulnerable assistant Eddie; and a mysterious and unlikeable composer who has latched on to Jamie, making Isabel fear for the future of her new family. Isabel treads a difficult path between trust and gullibility, philanthropy and interference, while keeping in her sights the small but certain comforts of family, philosophy and a fine Saturday morning.

The Comfort Of Saturdays

The Comfort Of Saturdays

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2008

Isabel Dalhousie is a new mother and a connoisseur of philosophy; she'd rather not be a sleuth. But when a chance conversation at a dinner party draws her into the case of a doctor whose career has been ruined, she cannot ignore what may be a miscarriage of justice. Because for Isabel ethics are not theoretical at all, but an everyday matter of life and death. As she attempts to unravel the truth behind Dr Thompson's disgrace, Isabel's patient intelligence is also required to deal with challenges in her own life. There is her baby son Charlie; Cat's deli to look after, not to mention her vulnerable assistant Eddie; and a mysterious and unlikeable composer who has latched on to Jamie, making Isabel fear for the future of her new family. Isabel treads a difficult path between trust and gullibility, philanthropy and interference, while keeping in her sights the small but certain comforts of family, philosophy and a fine Saturday morning.

The Right Attitude To Rain

The Right Attitude To Rain

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/07/2007

The key to contentment in the Scottish climate is the right attitude to rain - just as in life the key to happiness lies in making the best of what you have. Bruised in love by her faithless Irish husband, Isabel Dalhousie is a connoisseur of intimate moral issues: she edits a philosophical journal and spends a great deal of her time considering how to improve the lives of those around her. There is her housekeeper Grace, whose future she must secure; her niece Cat, who is embarking on a new relationship with a dubious workaholic mummy's boy; and even an American couple newly arrived in Edinburgh on a tour. And then there is Jamie, Cat's ex-boyfriend, a handsome, gifted musician fourteen years Isabel's junior, with whom she is slowly and hopelessly falling in love. Intensely thoughtful and consistently entertaining, THE RIGHT ATTITUDE TO RAIN is shot through with compassion and unassuming intelligence.