The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds

The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds

An Isabel Dalhousie Novel

eBook - 2012
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Investigating the theft of a valuable painting that was supposed to be donated to the Scottish National Gallery, Isabel harbors a growing suspicion that the thieves may be close to the painting's wealthy owner.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, 2012.
ISBN: 9780307907349
Characteristics: 1 online resource : map.


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sapl3 Apr 09, 2020


Isabel Dalhousie is a philosopher and an amateur sleuth. She doesn’t seek out the cases that come to her. Being the kind, thoughtful person that she is, she never hesitates to help when help is asked of her. Such is the case that she tackles in this, the ninth book in her series. A friend asks her to help Duncan Munrowe recover an expensive painting that has been stolen from his home. The thieves have been in touch with Munrowe and he banks on Isabel’s reputation to reunite him with his painting.

Meanwhile, Isabel and her husband, Jamie, are dealing with the possibility that their son, Charlie, at three and three-quarters years old, is a mathematical child prodigy. How shall they deal with this? Should they consult someone? Should they gently encourage Charlie along this path? This is all new territory for these parents.

Then there’s Eddie who approaches Isabel and asks her to intercede on his behalf. He and his girlfriend want to move in together but her parents are against it.

It all comes down to family dynamics in each of these cases and with common sense, intuitive thinking, and compassion, Isabel is able to make the right decisions. Against the background of Edinburgh, McCall Smith has given us a delightful, warm, and thoughtful story.

Mar 11, 2019

9th title in the Isabel Dahlhousie series.
Oh, the Lovely clouds. Seems Scotland might be famous for the mighty drama of its sudden changing of its skies above, Scotland's spaces.
This plot is less dramatic than other plots in the series. But that's OK.
McCall Smith truly works to present people's characters, character (or lack of it);
the people in the story deal with varying forms of conflict, silent, spoken, or otherwise.
This would be because life is real in its actions and consequences of conflict. Does an understanding of moral philosopy, / ethics, .. Isabel's, ...make a difference to resolutions?
Enjoyable reading. Challenging, poetic, thoughtful writing.

Jun 21, 2014

a light mystery with a philospher sleuth in the soft style of McCall Smith. Always pleasing to read him!

Apr 07, 2013

Surprisingly slow, discursive, and finally, quite self-indulgent. What was essentially an interesting story seems to have been written as a means for Mcall to unburden himself of all his apercus about the human condition, to an extent that tried this reader's patience. While he does this in several of his other series, and certainly his observations and comments are kindly and perceptive, if much too avuncular, I felt this needed much more editing and self criticism. Very disappointing.

If you are interested in the minutia of life in Edinburg from why cars won't start in the damp to whether 3 y/o Charlie should learn to divide and multiply before he starts school, then this is the book for you. The plot eventually rears its sleepy head only to peter out at the end. I promise I will never pick up another book by this author. I'd rather watch paint dry.

Dec 12, 2012

I'm not certain which book the reviewer read, but no foxes were shot in this one!

Nov 30, 2012

One of A. M. Smith's better written Dalhousie books UNTIL the end, where the story seems to just peter out.

HELEN M. ZSUTTY Oct 05, 2012

#9 Isabel Dalhousie series
Another very enjoyable episode in the Isabel Dalhousie series set in Edinburgh, Scotland. The mystery surrounds the disappearance of a very valuable painting. There are the usual side stories involving her husband, Jamie; their 3 year old son, Charlie; her rather "sometimes difficult" housekeeper, Grace; her neice, Cat who runs a delicatessen; and my favorite, Eddie who helps Cat run the delicatessen but has social and emotional issues. I love the last line of this book! Plus this time the outcome of the mystery seems to be left to the reader. My memory is fairly poor and I've read so many of his novels that I'm not sure if this has happened in the other books in the series but it didn't bother me as that is how real life is: sometimes there isn't an obvious answer.

Some readers complain that the pace of his writing is too slow but I love the way his words seem to "flow" across the page. IMO, his characters are so human and have flaws like all of us. One of the reasons that I love Isabel is that she truly does try to see the good in most people.

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