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Publisher's Summary

For philosophically-minded Isabel Dalhousie, editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, getting through life with a clear conscience requires careful thought. And whilst juggling the arrival of baby Charlie, a passionate relationship with his father Jamie, 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.
©2007 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2007 Recorded Books LLC
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Critic Reviews

"Isabel Dalhousie's charm is undeniable" (Sunday Times)
"McCall Smith has the gift of evoking an entire social atmosphere in very few and simple words" (Sunday Telegraph)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Alison on 01-07-17

The Careful Use of Compliments

This time the curious Isabel Dalhousie interferes in an authenticity conundrum over an Andrew McKinness painting. Ironic parallels are drawn with her philosophical thoughts and her "real" life. There is space left for developing the themes of Brother Fox and the Tattoed Man in further novels. Jamie is the "perfect" father to baby Charlie. Is he too perfect? Cat as usual disappoints by her poor choice in men, Christopher Dove. How will AMS develop the new character of the apprentice stonemason?/nightclub bouncer? He has a clever knack of making me long for his next book.

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3 out of 5 stars
By Renka on 09-18-15

The narrator needs to do a bit of research

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?


What other book might you compare The Careful Use of Compliments to, and why?

There are many books set in various parts of Scotland and narrated by people who are actually Scots and therefore familiar with the variety of Scots accents. This book is spoilt by the narrator.

What didn’t you like about Davina Porter’s performance?

Davina Porter is usually a reasonable narrator and I have enjoyed other books she has narrated but in this case her pronunciation of Scottish place names are so far off beam as to be almost laughable and no-one on the Isle of Jura, particularly the family (who actually exist) she is imitating, have ever spoken with the awful accent she uses. She has also grafted a Glasgow accent onto the characters from Edinburgh.

Could you see The Careful Use of Compliments being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?


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