Friday, October 15, 2010

The Charming Quirks of Others

Schemes. One advantage of reading a new novel from a series is that the characters are well-known and their behavior can be anticipated and enjoyed readily. The seventh Isabel Dalhousie novel from prolific Alexander McCall Smith is titled, The Charming Quirks of Others. This time out, moral philosopher Dalhousie uncovers new insights into human behavior as she sees the schemes that some will pursue to achieve their desired ends. Isabel’s fiancĂ©e, Jamie, is being pursued by a cellist, Prue, who tells him she has terminal cancer, and in a make-a-wish sense would like to enjoy carnal pleasure from him. While that tempest builds, Isabel accepts an assignment to vet three candidates vying for the position of headmaster at a school, following an anonymous letter about the skeleton in the closet of one of the candidates. Another schemer is behind that, and Smith uses Isabel’s richly developed character to uncover the scheme and gain insight. First-time readers and fans will find an engaging story with interesting and very human characters.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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