Customer Reviews for

The Careful Use of Compliments (Isabel Dalhousie Series #4)

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1
  • Posted August 25, 2010

    Excellent installment in the series. Hey, where'd that baby come from?

    I love this series - as I love all of McCall Smith's books - and am working my way through it. I really enjoyed this installment too, with one huge exception which bothered me from the very beginning. It may not bother someone who is not reading the rest of the series, but the significant jump and 'lost time' between the end of the last book, when Isabel had just discovered her pregnancy, to the beginning of this one, where she is happily pushing a pram with a 3 month old son, irked me a great deal. So much of the series revolves around her relationship with Jamie and how they relate to each other, and a pregnancy and child would change that in such a major, major way; and yet all that was just left out of the picture. I felt incomplete. Like a whole book had been entirely left out and I was struggling to pick up the pieces. Will Jamie be a good father? Well WHO KNOWS? Was he buying pickles and ice cream 6 months ago? Did he rub her back during contractions? I don't know, because you left that part out!!! Bah, it's silly I know, but it drove me batty.
    ANYWAY... the book is very like the others in style, which is an excellent thing! A nicely constructed mystery is presented, worked through in parts, and an ending with perhaps a bit of surprise in it is tied up at the end. Very Christie-like. I adore the characters, I love the descriptions of Edinburgh and Jura and the details of relationships between people. Mr McCall Smith is very gifted in noting those little details of daily life we don't always recognize and then when we read them we think yes! I think that too! It's a great read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Mystery Without Mayhem

    A "mystery" of a somewhat unusual sort, this one demonstrates that you don't need murder and mayhem to keep the "detective" in the game. Isabel Dalhousie is a Scottish lady in her early forties with a tidy inheritance and no need to work for a living, but does anyway as editor of a philosophy review with a smallish circulation. She doesn't earn much but doesn't need to, while it enables her to pursue her true passion: moral philosophy. How to live a good life and what that entails. But Ms. Dalhousie, with a wide circle of friends, and family members, doesn't stand apart from the world she is endlessly contemplating.

    As the book opens we learn Isabel's a recent mother, albeit unwed, though neither she nor her circle think there's anything wrong with that. Her lover, a musician, is a good deal younger than she and the former paramour of her niece. Greatly attached to his new son by Isabel, he is quite prepared to make an "honest woman" of his child's mother and loves Isabel, though with a level of passion more suited to a thoughtful and sensitive artiste than an ardent youth. But Isabel is having none of it . . . for now anyway.

    On the other hand their relationship has brought its own complications since the boyfriend's former lover, Cat, Isabel's headstrong niece, resents her aunt's "acquisition" of her cast-off lover. Into this complex of entanglements comes a mystery of sorts when Isabel, the ever thoughtful and self-doubting philosophical thinker, decides to buy a newly discovered painting by a deceased Scottish artist. The painting appears genuine except for some small oddities though Isabel is outbid at auction by an unknown person who departs hastily before she can identify him.

    Resolved to make the best of her loss, Isabel moves on with her life and is soon embroiled in the political shenanigans of academia. Trying to sort out her own feelings and choices under the pressure of the professoriate, Isabel is abruptly surprised to learn certain new facts about the mysterious painting. Despite the urgings of her young lover to stay out of others' affairs, the philosophically incautious Isabel can't resist the bait of the mysterious painting and the coincidences that keep coming up concerning it, plunging into a fray consisting, in equal measure, of certain mysterious persons and a long dead painter whose future seemed bright when he suddenly disappeared off the Scottish coast in what might have been an accident, suicide . . . or something worse.

    The real mystery is less the resolution of the painter's strange disappearance than how Isabel will resolve her many social entanglements without causing more harm than good. Along the way, we're treated to a lovingly traced Scottish countryside and it's rugged western coast along with the modern Euro-obsession with one's place in society via an almost obsessive concern for one's carbon footprint. Miss Dalhousie is an intriguing detective but she's no Philip Marlow nor even a Miss Marple. On the other hand, we're long overdue for the philosopher qua detective and Smith has done it with skill and verve. The well-known 20th century Cambridge philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein was famously partial to mysteries when he wasn't contemplating more weighty matters. He'd have liked Dalhousie had he lived long enough to read about her.

    Stuart W. Mirsky, author of The King of Vinland's Saga

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2007

    Many thoughtful comments

    I highly reccommend this series, Isabel struggles as many do with the ethics of every day situations. Many thoughtful comments result, I find myself underlining them to return to them later. I am highly anticipating Mr McCall Smith's next effort!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a reviewer

    Edinburgh philosopher Isabel Dalhousie has recently given birth to a son Charlie, who is now three months old. Like most great philosophers, Isabel has doubts about her relationship with the child¿s dad, Jamie though she admits to herself he is quite good with their offspring. Jamie has no doubts as he wants to marry her but doubt is Isabel¿s middle name or should be. Meanwhile Jamie's former-girlfriend, café owner Cat, still desires him, but fears Charlie has ended any hope of taking him back from her Aunt Isabel. --- Isabel finds not only her relationship with Jamie challenged, but her pride and joy (besides Charlie that is) as the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics disputed due to unsavory academic politics. To get her mind away from how many of one hundred people have good intentions, she investigates the recent death of a relatively unknown but critically acclaimed painter who drowned in an accident and find out if t was a suicide or a homicide. --- Interestingly the mystery is a clever set up to further enable the audience to understand the Pollyanna of philosophy Isabel Dalhousie. Even her relationships with doting Jamie and jealous Cat is upbeat although diapers is not quite her beat. Isabel remains optimistic about Charlie¿s future once the lad wipes his own butt. Fans of Alexander McCall Smith¿s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency tales will enjoy the Dalhouse stories although they are quite different. --- Harriet Klausner

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1