The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall Smith

In comparison to the thoughtful but very active Precious Ramotswe, Isabel Dalhousie is self-absorbed, spoiled, and a rotten detective.  Isabel lives in Edinburgh and is a Doctor of Philosophy- as editor of the Review of Applied Ethics she is always grappling with the proper way to do things.  This paralyzes her.  She is genuinely interested in other people and their feelings, motivations and reactions, but she is unable to act in a way that will help them.  She uses logic and reason as a barrier between herself and the world.

This volume starts with her nursing her three month old baby, estranged from her niece, and refusing the marriage proposal of her young lover.  I was so disgusted with her that I stopped reading.  I will hazard  that this is because her privileged, distancing, intellectual ambivalence reminded me of someone (me).

Perhaps someone else can write in defense of her?  Someone who has finished the book, maybe?  Lisa?


Author: Emily

Writer/ Librarian

2 thoughts on “The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall Smith”

  1. I like it very much. But Bertie’s mother is the Devil, in all seriousness, and I need for him to escape from her.

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