The books by Alexander McCall Smith are steeped in profession and place, as exemplified by the successful series set in Botswana: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: A Book for Today: Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith. While the author's fascination with Botswana adds to the charm of that series, his familiarity with his home country and profession, Scotland and philosophy respectively, leave the series of Isabel Dalhousie, a Scottish philosopher, flat. The author's many descriptions of Scotland and observations on philosophers seem mechanical and strained - descriptions by a native either modestly bragging or trying to imagine what might interest a visitor.
The Lost Art of Gratitude is a travelogue by a local guide full of pride and inside observations, and without the life and excitement of a genuine visitor seeing everything for the first time. This, together with a plot centered on philosophical introspection, left me disappointed, especially since I so enjoyed the Botswana series.
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