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Publisher's Summary

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.
Morals, it turns out, are like Scottish clouds: complex, changeable and tricky to get a firm grip on; they require a sharp observational eye, a philosophical mindset, and the habit of kindness. Fortunately for those around her, Isabel Dalhousie is in possession of all three.
©2012 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2012 Hachette Digital
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Self-help junkie on 12-24-12


A lovely gentle book - as with all of McCall Smith's writing - that reminds you of the importance of considering the meaning of life. Isabel Dalhousie is an excellent character, and McCall Smith uses her as a mouthpiece for much of his own musings on life. From the acceptance of difference in others to the appreciation of small blessings, he covers it all beautifully. And although there is no sex as such - his suggestion of intimacy between Isabel and Jamie is wonderful. Lesley Mackie's narration is excellent too. Enjoy!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Colin McIntosh on 05-28-17

Love Isobel Dalhousie but hate the narrator

I've listened to every one of these and the last two changed narrator and it really throws you out of sync. Lesley Mackie isn't a good audio reader. Very difficult to follow and I really hope Hillary Neville is brought back for the next one that's been up

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