The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds is the ninth novel in Alexander McCall Smith's Sunday Philosophy Club series.
The strength of this series is the charm of the author’s writing and his ability to create compelling characters. Isabel Dalhousie is one of my favorite characters as she is a breath of literary fresh air, a good citizen in her community and is thoughtful to those around her. You want someone like Isabel to be in your social circle, especially if you find yourself in a sticky situation. As this is the ninth novel, in comparison to Isabel’s life in the first book, fans will be glad with her personal growth and achievements.
Isabel is a philosopher who has the habit of getting entangled in the people’s lives during a time of crisis. She’s not a soldier, who will fight the enemy. She’s not a police officer, who will solve the crime. She’s a philosopher, who will analyze all the details and debate the motives of all the people involved in the situation. Readers of crime novels will want a finite solution at the end of this story as we are accustomed to having storylines wrapped up nicely but that’s not the role of a philosopher and this author stays true to his characters.
In the end, Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favorite authors and if he printed an edition to the yellow pages, I would read it from cover to cover.
Nothing captures the charm of Edinburgh like the bestselling Isabel Dalhousie series of novels featuring the insatiably curious philosopher and woman detective. Whether investigating a case or a problem of philosophy, the indefatigable Isabel Dalhousie, one of fiction’s most richly developed amateur detectives, is always ready to pursue the answers to all of life’s questions, large and small.
In this latest installment of Alexander McCall Smith’s endearing Isabel Dalhousie series, the Edinburgh philosopher and amateur sleuth answers an unexpected appeal from a wealthy Scottish collector who has been robbed of a valuable painting.
One afternoon over coffee at Cat’s delicatessen, a friend of Isabel’s shares a call for help from Duncan Munrowe. Crafty thieves have stolen a prized painting from his collection, a work by the celebrated French artist Nicolas Poussin that was earmarked for donation to the Scottish National Gallery. Munrowe has been approached by the thieves and hopes that Isabel will assist him in recovering the painting. Never one to refuse an appeal, she agrees, and discovers that the thieves may be closer to the owner than he ever would have expected.
Against the backdrop of this intriguing case, Isabel copes with life’s issues, large and small. She and Jamie have begun to suspect that their three-year-old son, Charlie, might be a budding mathematical genius. What should be done about it? Then there is the question of whether Isabel should help a young couple who want to move in together—against the wishes of the girl’s parents. The boyfriend is hoping Isabel might intercede.
As she wrestles with these problems, Isabel finds herself tested as a parent, a philosopher and a friend. But, as always, she manages to use the right combination of good sense, quick wits and a kind heart to come to the right solution, proving once again why Isabel Dalhousie has become one of Alexander McCall Smith’s most beloved characters.