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The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel (5) (Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries) [Kindle Edition]

Alexander McCall Smith
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $10.63
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description


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 the delectable fifth installment of the bestselling adventures of Isabel Dalhousie, our cherished inquisitive heroine returns to investigate a medical mystery.

A doctor's career has been ruined by allegations of medical fraud and Isabel cannot ignore what may be a miscarriage of justice. Besides, Isabel's insatiable interest is piqued and she finds herself asking questions. Would a respected doctor make such a grave mistake? If not, what explains the death of the patient? Clearly, an investigation is in order.

Meanwhile, there is her baby Charlie, who needs looking after; her niece Cat who needs someone to mind her deli; and a mysterious composer who has latched on to Jamie, making Isabel decidedly uncomfortable. Whatever the problem, whatever the case, we know we can count on Isabel's instincts to help her find the right solution.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Smith's winning fifth novel to feature Edinburgh philosophical sleuth Isabel Dalhousie (after The Careful Use of Compliments), Dalhousie, who's recently assumed ownership of the obscure journal she's edited for many years, the Review of Applied Ethics, applies her deductive gifts to the case of a disgraced doctor. When a patient dies after taking a new antibiotic that Marcus Moncrieff deemed safe in clinical trials, the doctor's original report turns out to contain falsified data. Did Moncrieff skew the data to please the drug manufacturers? Moncrieff's wife turns to Isabel for help in lifting her husband out of his despondency. While the truth isn't straightforward, the motives of the guilty party prove to be both plausible and rational. The strengths of the book, as with Smith's better known No. 1 Ladies' Detective series, lie in its protagonist's determination to treat others without judgment—and in the author's revealing glimpses into the human soul. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This fifth installment in McCall Smith’s engaging series finds fortysomething Edinburgh moral philosopher Isabel Dalhousie investigating a doctor accused of scientific fraud. Did Marcus Moncrieff manipulate the data for a drug developed by the same company that funded his research? Isabel soon discovers that numbers are but part of the equation. It turns out that Dr. Moncrieff’s nephew, who is also his assistant, might have had good reason to exact revenge on his uncle. (At issue is the inheritance of a large farm on Scotland’s Black Isle.) Meanwhile, Isabel’s much younger boyfriend, Jamie, continues to dote on Isabel and their infant son, Charlie. (Alas, Jamie’s extraordinary good looks have Isabel forever worrying that he will lose interest in her.) There are other moral dilemmas, too. Isabel suspects that Eddie, the vulnerable young man who works at Isabel’s niece’s deli, lied about the reason he needs to borrow money. And Grace, Isabel’s very assertive housekeeper, has been telling local residents that adorable Charlie is her own. McCall Smith, who also pens the best-selling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and 44 Scotland Street novels, has rendered a wise and very human heroine who grows more endearing with each entry. --Allison Block

Product Details

  • File Size: 725 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (September 23, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0013TPYZI
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,270 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best in the series, but still worth reading October 31, 2008
The Comfort of Saturdays is the fifth book in the "Sunday Philosophy Club" series, which feature Isabel Dalhousie, philosopher and occasional amateur sleuth. I should say at the outset that I adore this series. Isabel is a very likeable character with lovely little observations about life and its everyday moral dilemmas. But having said that, this is the book that I have liked least in the series to date. It felt like Isabel spent too much time thinking and not enough doing, to the detriment of the book's momentum.

The story picks up a year after "The Careful Use of Compliments". Isabel and Jamie's son Charlie is now 15 months old. One thing that felt wrong to me as a mother was Isabel's relationship with Charlie, which seemed very functional. She spends so many hours fretting about Jamie - does Jamie love her? is he happy? is she at risk of losing him? how can someone so beautiful want to be with her? - while she seems far less interested in her own son.

The book opens well. Isabel is asked to investigate the circumstances behind a doctor's disgrace over a medical scandal. At the same time, Jamie has developed a friendship with a mysterious composer by the name of Nick Smart. However it felt like McCall Smith lost interest in both of these storylines, which get pushed to the back and never get fully resolved. Instead we spend a lot of time with Isabel and her insecurities. For the first time we see sides of Isabel which are not very appealing: for example she harbors a grudge over a loan that she has made and is quick to pass judgment on Eddie's girlfriend based on the way she looks.

Despite all of this, McCall Smith is still a lovely writer. I always feel a little lighter in spirit after reading his books. The Edinburgh settings are captivating and Isabel has an original and refreshing take on life.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed In Isabel a bit October 15, 2008
I've always liked Isabel Dalhousie. In the beginning of the series, she is everything she is now except one: she wasn't insecure. Even getting together with Jamie, she took charge. It was great to read. I love strong women.

However, the last book and this one, she has degenerated into a really insecure person. And her infatuation with Jamie is a bit disturbing. Very little is written about his good heart, but every few pages we get a description of how good-looking he is, of how he is hers, and how proud she is of his good looks and flat belly, and on and on an on. It got really irritating.

And sadly, her son, seems to be incidental. There are no description of strong feelings for him. It's a tepid relationship at best. Jamie is the obsession. Again, disturbing.

That and the sad lack of plot. What the heck is with Nick? I'll still keep reading though. I love McCall Smith's novels.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book for a rainy day September 27, 2008
I love Smith's Isabel Dalhousie series. From the very first book, The Sunday Philosophy Club, reading them is like entering a special world. His settings and characterizations are nearly flawless, and the human touch, the joys and sorrows of life, are handled beautifully. After reading this latest book, filled with bits of poetry and music, intelligent ideas and musings of the human heart, I felt that if I ever had to chose a few dozen books as favorites, this one and the four that preceded it would be among them.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite October 1, 2008
Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favorite authors. This book, though, is a little heavy on the philosophical musings and a little light on plot. I have always liked the main character, Isabel, the editor of a publication titled "Review of Applied Ethics" because she is a cerebral person; because she raises and attempts to answer an assortment of ethical, historical, and philosophical questions; and because she is an independent sort. But there are so many "asides" here - so many quips and quotes and intellectual musings, that they become a distraction and disrupt the flow of the story.

As one of the reviewers said, McCall Smith's books are addictive. I haven't given up reading his books. Just not a big fan of this one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars McCall's Best Dalhousie Book Ever November 11, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This one will keep you up all night turning pages, even if you are not already hooked on Isabel Dalhousie and company.

McCall's extended portrait of life in Edinburgh is both thought-provoking and emotionally delicious as we follow Isabel's ups and downs and find ourselves strangely comforted by the humanity and vulnerability of her life.

Will her beloved Jamie be enticed by an American composer to leave Edinburgh to further his career as a concert bassoonist? Did the doctor do it? Why does Grace claim Isabel's baby boy Charlie is her own son? Will Cat ever figure out why she chooses the wrong men? Do people, even nice Edinburgh people, actually go about telling lies every day?

Curl up with a cup of strong black tea with cream and plenty of sugar as you get to know Isabel a little better.

You won't regret it.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book for any kind of day September 29, 2008
This is a fabulous book for any kind of day, as are all McCall Smith's novels - and readers in the USA might want to know that you can read his new online novel at [...] and read a new chapter every day. How many authors have the extraordinary breadth of a McCall Smith - Botswana lady detectives, Edinburgh lady philosophers, hilariously funny stories of German academics and people in an Edinburgh house, and now a wonderful online novel of people living in a socially mixed part of London. Ten cheers for McCall Smith, the Charles Dickens of our time. Christopher Catherwood (author of A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MIDDLE EAST)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I love anything written by Alexander McCall Smith
I love anything written by Alexander McCall Smith. This is my sit back and relax and lose myself in a good book author!
Published 28 days ago by Cheryl Casarez
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Enjoyable reading!
Published 1 month ago by Candace Pettersson
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting easy read
A bit quirky, light entertainment with some issues left unresolved. Somewhat true to life as it is normally perceived set in Scotland.
Published 1 month ago by bonnie Jean Bauer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
second favorite smith series, next to the no. one ladies' detective agency series.
Published 3 months ago by PJ Lin
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT EVERYONE'S CUPPA
Readers try The Sunday Philosophy Club series hoping for a thrilling mystery. Some come away disappointed. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lisa DuMond
5.0 out of 5 stars I love McCall-Smith, I find his books soothing and wise ...
I love McCall-Smith, I find his books soothing and wise and feminine yet balanced (this probably comes from their being written by a man!). Read more
Published 5 months ago by Carino
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love this author and I received speedy service from the seller.
Published 6 months ago by Shelly Magee
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Never figured what the point of the story was!!
Published 7 months ago by Joye
5.0 out of 5 stars Comforts of a muddy saturday
I love this series so much. It makes me want to go to Scotland. I so appreciate a writer that can write about being happy and make it utterly appealing without having to make... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Stephen A. Hassemer
5.0 out of 5 stars I thought it was very good and much comfortable feeling about the end...
I thought it was very good and much comfortable feeling about the end of it too. I enjoy Alexander McCall Smith's writings and he's Scottish too. His characters are so real. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Frances
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More About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith was born in what is now Zimbabwe and taught law at the University of Botswana. He is now Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. He has written more than fifty books, including a number of specialist titles, but is best known for The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which has achieved bestseller status on four continents. In 2004 he was awarded British Book Awards Author of the Year and Booksellers Association Author of the Year. He lives in Scotland, where in his spare time he is a bassoonist in the RTO (Really Terrible Orchestra).


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