The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith: a book discussion

September 17, 2016 at 5:13 pm (Book clubs, Book review, books, Mystery fiction)

  An especially interesting aspect of the recent Usual Suspects discussion of The Sunday Philosophy Club centered on Isabel Dalhousie’s character. To sum up the various opinions on offer: She seems like someone in her sixties, not in her early forties, as she’s purported to be. (Actually I get this observation. In my post on […]

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Perfectly smashing! – Alexander McCall Smith at the Howard County Library

April 13, 2011 at 12:22 pm (books, Library, Local interest (Baltimore-Washington))

The chairs were arranged so that Alexander McCall Smith would enter the room via a central aisle.  This he did, shaking hands with audience members as he made his way to the podium. I was pleased to note that he was attired in a kilt, but I could not get a photo due to the […]

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The Charming Quirks of Others: Alexander McCall Smith and the art of fiction

January 5, 2011 at 10:01 pm (Book review, books, Mystery fiction, Scotland)

As I fell under the spell yet again, I asked my self, What is it  that makes the fiction of Alexander McCall Smith such a glowing and beautiful thing? In The Charming Quirks of Others, Isabel Dalhousie is asked to assist in the process of vetting three candidates for the post of headmaster at a […]

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“It was a landscape of mists and distances, beneath a sky that was somehow washed, attenuated, softened.” – The Lost Art of Gratitude, by Alexander McCall Smith

May 29, 2010 at 1:38 am (Book review, books, Mystery fiction, Scotland)

Ron and I have a favorite table at Tersiguel’s Country French Restaurant. It’s a small table for two in an alcove on the first floor. The window right next to it is stained glass; it depicts a fox with russet fur, a sinuous body and the trademark bushy tail. This creature always puts me in […]

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Girning and Gripe Water: The Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall Smith

September 8, 2007 at 11:52 am (Mystery fiction)

What a perfect book for one such as myself, about to embark for Scotland! (No – I’m not “taking ship;” I’m flying, alas.) There it was, just sitting on the shelf at the library – -where I was employed until Friday August 31. (Sob! No – we won’t go there…) I didn’t even realize that […]

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The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith

September 1, 2007 at 1:05 pm (Mystery fiction)

I have just finished listening to this eighth installment in the saga of the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and all I can say is, I hope this series never ends! There are few others in which I feel so personally involved in the lives of the characters. It is such a joy to watch Mma […]

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‘The Name Atticus Pünd was familiar to him….’ – Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

November 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm (Book review, books, Mystery fiction)

  This is like a Golden Age detective novel on steroids – not that all of those were necessarily short. There’s always Gaudy Night. And that crowning (and lengthy) achievement in crime fiction by Dorothy L Sayers does not contain a murder. Magpie Murders is a book within a book. Or perhaps it is better […]

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Last Entry for Best Books of 2016: Two Titles

January 22, 2017 at 2:55 pm (Art, Best of 2016, Book review, books)

I’ve been very late getting this done, I know. This is mainly due to my work on what was the most challenging book discussion preparation I’ve ever undertaken. The book was Paul Theroux’s Deep South. The discussion took place on this Thursday past, and I’m glad to report that it went quite well, mainly due […]

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Best mysteries 2016 part three: historical and hard to classify

January 19, 2017 at 9:33 pm (Best of 2016, Book review, books, Mystery fiction)

   How is it  that I read only one historical mystery this year? I’m a great fan of historical fiction, so I can’t quite figure this out. Anyway, the book in question is The Lady Chapel by Candace Robb, Marge’s choice for our November Suspects discussion. This novel is the second in Robb’s Owen Archer […]

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Best reading in 2016: Fiction, part one

December 24, 2016 at 2:13 am (Best of 2016, books)

As has been the case for This Reader for the past few years, the pickings in fiction were slim. I picked up several highly touted new titles, only to put them down, with a sigh of frustration. Nonetheless, there were several that made the grade.   The Swans of Fifth Avenue was a pleasant surprise. […]

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