I have given up trying to keep pace with this author's output. At one stage in my reading career I was chasing up the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, the 44 Scotland Street Series and ditto the Corduroy Mansion books. It all got a bit much and so I retired from the field. I have to be honest and say that I was beginning to find the books a bit 'samey' and rather meandering.
But I have stuck with the Isabel Dalhousie books and I have hardback copies of all of them on my shelves and I so enjoy them and buy each one as soon as it is published. I don't want the Kindle editions, I want the hardback.
Isabel Dalhousie lives in Edinburgh with her husband Jamie, fourteen years younger than her which gives her pause now and then, with their son Charlie and, in this latest novel, she has had a second son Magnus. Charlie is not too enamoured of his new little brother and insists he should be 'put down the drain'. They live in a splendid house with a general factotum or housekeeper, Grace, who Isabel inherited from her father when he left her the house and here they all live in domestic harmony and it is all rather life affirming and balm to the soul to read.
Isabel is a philosopher and part of the joy, for me at any rate, of these stories is the wandering off into various tangents and discussions arising from the subject in hand. Now here I have no problem with the meandering which I found slightly tedious in McCall Smith's other books and the leisurely pace of the narrative is most pleasing. The story line is almost incidental in this series though obviously there is a plot, as such. Isabel has a reputation for 'helping' people, problems are brought to her to solve and in a quiet way and taking a long slow path to the solution, she manages to resolve them, though not always in the way she expects.
In A Distant View of Everything, an old school friend, Bea Shandon contacts her.She is worried. Bea loves matchmaking and pairing people off and she feels that a recent successful meeting between a woman friend and a well known plastic surgeon may have been a mistake. She has heard that the man in question has a bad reputation with women and tends to attach himself to those with wealth and then, having extracted money from them, leaves them. One has even tried to commit suicide.
So Isabel sets out to investigate and finds all is not as it seems.....
If you are a lover of the Dalhousie novels than I need say no more. If you are new to them, be warned they are not full of blood and guts and exciting crime, they are gentler and kinder than that but always to the point and real. For me the pleasure in reading them is the prose, the elegant fluid writing, not a superfluous dot or comma or exclamation mark anywhere. beautifully clean writing. On my first introduction to Isabel I skipped paragraphs as I got a bit impatient with the sliding off topic, but no longer. Now I find a quiet sit down with the latest in this series is good for me. It makes me sit quietly and relax and when I close the book up I feel calm and rested.
This week on my return from Australia when I am feeling unsettled and a bit emotional at missing my Oz based daughter, it was just what I needed.