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The Charming Quirks of Others: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel    by Alexander McCall Smith order for
Charming Quirks of Others
by Alexander McCall Smith
Order:  USA  Can
Anchor, 2011 (2010)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Looking for flaws in others? Isabel Dalhousie feels most of us have flaws, including herself. In The Charming Quirks of Others, Isabel is requested to do background checks on three men who are on the short list to be hired by a prestigious boys' school in Edinburgh.

She's not really inclined to do such work, having a stack of articles to review for potential publication in her magazine, The Review of Applied Ethics. But, the dear woman can't say no, and so takes on the unwanted task of vetting three men while she works diligently at her own projects.

As the story unrolls, Isabel continues with her everyday life, which includes her son Charlie and her live-in boyfriend, Charlie's father. She often has qualms about her arrangement with Jaime because she is older than he is. Which fact seems to bother her more than it does him.

Isabel's niece Cat owns and runs a delicatessen. Isabel works there from time to time to help out. She and Cat have a tenuous relationship since Jaime started out as Cat's boyfriend!

The plot is delightful, but I find Isabel's musings even more fascinating. I'm not always sure just what the point is she might be making, but I enjoy the process by which she arrives at her conclusions. A lady to her very core, she finds it very difficult to turn down a request. Which does lead to musings that nudge the reader to stop and contemplate her ideas.

As always, it's another coup by Alexander McCall Smith. Any of the vast number of books he has written can be thoroughly enjoyed and The Charming Quirks of Others will join the ranks of pure entertainment.

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