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BOOK REVIEW:
THE CAREFUL USE OF COMPLIMENTS
BY ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH

We hope you enjoy this book review by Harriet Klausner.

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Edinburgh philosopher Isabel Dalhousie has recently given birth to a son Charlie, who is now three months old. Like most great philosophers, Isabel has doubts about her relationship with the child’s dad, Jamie; though she admits to herself he is quite good with their offspring. Jamie has no doubts as he wants to marry her but doubt is Isabel’s middle name or should be. Meanwhile Jamie's former-girlfriend, café owner Cat, still desires him, but fears Charlie has ended any hope of taking him back from her Aunt Isabel.

Isabel finds not only her relationship with Jamie challenged, but her pride and joy (besides Charlie that is) as the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics disputed due to unsavory academic politics. To get her mind away from how many of one hundred people have good intentions, she investigates the recent death of a relatively unknown but critically acclaimed painter who drowned in an accident and find out if t was a suicide or a homicide.

Interestingly the mystery is a clever set up to further enable the audience to understand the Pollyanna of philosophy Isabel Dalhousie. Even her relationships with doting Jamie and jealous Cat is upbeat although diapers is not quite her beat. Isabel remains optimistic about Charlie’s future once the lad wipes his own butt. Fans of Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency tales will enjoy the Dalhouse stories although they are quite different.

REVIEWED BY HARRIET KLAUSNER

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, HARRIET KLAUSNER

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