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I can never decide which characters I like best in the McCall Smith universe. Is it Precious Ramostwe in Botswana and her #1 Ladies' Detective Agency? Or is it Isabel Dalhousie, detective of a different sort, investigator of the mind and all things philosophical? Or is it Bertie and his well-meaning but dysfunctional parents who are part of the cohort at 44 Scotland Street?
In any case, I love the way this man writes. Slower-paced, reflective and ruminating, but never so indulgent that the reader is driven nuts with impatience. His books are like listening to familiar music - you can savor the slow parts because you know what's coming. And he does it all with an economy of words.
I think this latest is one of McCall Smith's best. It has all the suspense of a true "search for identity" case, mixed with all the usual ambiguities, odd juxtapositions, and perils of the "examined life" that go along with Isabel Dalhousie's life and work as editor and publisher of a philosophical journal. McCall Smith seems to strike just that perfect combination of outward narrative and inner landscape that makes his characters so relatable.
I don't know quite where I'll turn for this sort of literary fun if or when Smith ever retires from cranking out these stories. I know that day is inevitable, but I hope it's not coming any time soon.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful
When I read this book I feel as if I at a Sunday afternoon tea with Isabel listening to her accounts of her musings and activities since last we had tea together. It is such a delightful feeling I forget it is a book I am listening to. Davina Porter is great with her slight Scot accent. I enjoy Isabel's philosophical musings and they always get me to thinking also. I had to laugh when Charlie yells out olives in the church during the wedding service. Can not wait for the next book in the meantime I will have philosophical musings of my own about the story line.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful