Regular price: $24.49

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

In this latest and most felicitous addition to the Isabel Dalhousie series, our inquisitive heroine comes to see that there are very few of us who are not flawed... herself included.

Isabel has been asked for her help in a rather tricky situation: A successor is being sought for the headmaster at a local boys’ school. The board has three final candidates but has received an anonymous letter alleging that one of them has a very serious skeleton in the closet. Could Isabel discreetly look into it? And so she does. What she discovers about all the candidates is surprising, but what she discovers about herself and about Jamie, the father of her young son, turns out to be equally revealing.

Isabel’s investigation will have her exploring issues of ambition, as well as of charity, forgiveness, and humility, as she moves nearer and nearer to some of the most hidden precincts of the heart.

Here is Isabel Dalhousie at her beguiling best: intelligent, insightful, and with a unique understanding of the quirks of human nature.

Woman of mystery: listen to more in the Isabel Dalhousie series.
©2010 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

“McCall Smith has created a world where humor is gentle, suffering is acknowledged but not foregrounded, and efforts to do good are usually rewarded. It’s a wonderful place to visit, even if we don’t get to live there.” (Washington Post)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars


  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars


  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
  • 4 Stars
  • 3 Stars
  • 2 Stars
  • 1 Stars
Sort by:
  • Overall

Love it

I don't really know which of the Alexander McCall Smith series I love most, but I love Isabel Dalhousie, Jamie, and Mr Fox. By now they are old friends, and we enjoy Isabel's thoughts and curiosity and moral quandaries. I also like feeling like we see into another culture. Perhaps those people could exist anywhere, but they fit perfectly where they are. I am so happy that Alexander McCall Smith is able write so prolifically. I enjoy each book as it comes out and have to wait just a little time until the next one arrives. This book is delightful.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 02-10-11

Charming Quirks

Davina Porter does a great job narrating this series. When I listen to this series I feel as if I have dropped in for tea with my good friend Isabel. I love the wondering of her mind into various philosophical topics. Can not wait for the next book.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kerrie
  • Aylett, VA, United States
  • 03-20-11

A gentle read

Another gentle story with old friends. Love the philosophical and situational ethics asides as much as the actual story line. I also LOVE Davina Porter. As usual, she does an excellent job bringing Scotland alive for me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Peter
  • Salt Lake City, UT, United States
  • 11-27-16

Typical A. M. Smith (that's good!)

I much enjoy Smith's writing, particularly his ability to convey the sense of a place. In this book there seems to be a great deal more reflecting on ethics and the thoughts of the protagonist, Isabel; so much so that the internal thought-wanderings got distracting in places. Still, a good "read. "

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

MaCall Smith is genius

Would you consider the audio edition of The Charming Quirks of Others to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version yet.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Charming Quirks of Others?

When Isabel entertains doubts about Jamie's fidelity and jumps to horrible conclusions.

What about Davina Porter’s performance did you like?

Her easy switch between characters and accents.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Isabel's inner life is so absorbing and nuanced. So human.

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Kenner, LA, United States
  • 02-12-11


I have tried. I have really tried, but I find Mr. Smith's books to be boring.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful