Monday, June 13, 2011

The Charming Quirks of Others by Alexander McCall Smith ****

The Charming Quirks of Others is by Alexander McCall Smith, author of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency novels. However, this book is about, Isabel Dahlhousie, editor and owner of the Journal of Applied Ethics and general busy-body. In this installment she investigates three men applying to be headmaster of a private boys school who have been generally accused of wrong doing in an anonymous letter.

Isabel spends her time either jumping to wild and speculative conclusions about these men - one cut a rope allowing a fellow climber to fall to his death and another wrote the suspect letter to improve his own chances. These intuitions are interspersed with ethical musings, such as:
Was it possible that he was ... transsexual. . . . although she, of course, might not be prepared to convert a heterosexual relationship ... into a lesbian relationship with [her] former [lover].
Though more ideas than action, similar to much hard science fiction, the story is a fine mystery with logical, but surprising, reveals at the end.

Pleasant light reading for more educated and academic readers.

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