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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning New York Times best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith, creator of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series of novels, delivers the fourth tale from his charming Isabel Dalhousie series, featuring the highly ethical and plucky protagonist. She's now a mother, but has an uncertain relationship with her son's father. She must also deal with academic politics and, of course, a mystery: did a Scottish painter drown, commit suicide or fall victim to a murder plot?
Woman of mystery: listen to more in the Isabel Dalhousie series.
©2007 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2007 Recorded Books LLC

Critic Reviews

"Witty, ruminative, and wise." ( The Times-Picayune) "Completely absorbing...will captivate and enthrall." ( Detroit Free Press)
"Enchanting...Delicious mental comfort food...The 'intimate' city of Edinburgh is an appealing character is its own right." ( Los Angeles Times)

What listeners say about The Careful Use of Compliments

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Another McCall Smith hit

I am hooked on Alexander McCall Smith books and enjoy Isabel's saga alot. Although books are regularly added to the series, the next addition never seems soon enough. I am left "waiting" to find out what happens next. Always the sign of a good series I think. If you enjoy a light easy listen why not join the group of folks waiting to see what Isabel will uncover next.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

I love Alexander McCall Smith

I just love his books. I love his characters and how he can make books where nothing much really happens so engaging and interesting. In this selection of the Sunday Philosophy Club, Isabel Dallhausie (sp?) runs into some minor intregue involving some paintings from a Scottish painter. There is more about Her relationship with Jamie and her ever present conflict with her Niece Cat (who is pretty petulant in this story and made me want to smack her.) Davina Porter, the narrator is a pleasure to listen to as always.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

A tip...

I am an A.M.S. fan. I loved his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. The key to reading his books is really following his characters from the first book--his character development is truly exceptional and while the books aren't fast- paced, they are interesting. However, when you read his books out of sequence, they are not as engaging and in fact are a bit slow. I ordered this book not realizing that it was the 4th book in this series. I think that I would have enjoyed it more, if I had already listened to the first 3 books--this is based on my knowledge of this author. The Narrator did a great job but I don't recommend listening to this book if you haven't listened to the 1st three books.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A true pleasure to read and ponder.

While I disagree with some of the author’s views of duty, especially his take on forgiveness, there is still so much to love about his writing. The deft use of language, the scope and breadth of his knowledge on various subjects, and the sweetness imbuing his narrative.
What I particularly like about the Dalhousie books, as opposed to the lovable 44 Scotland St. series, is his deeper dive into Isobel’s emotions.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Soporific

Is it supposed to be couched in faux-edgy while offering predictable and emotion-engendering social interaction?
It’s disappointing because I got bored while reading it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The Careful Use of Compliments

I love the Isabel Dalhousie series. I can't wait for the next one.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Getting Worse

We listen to all Alexander McCall Smith books. This series is becoming unlistenable. Too much philosophy and no plot.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Bad reader, bad audio

This is the worst reader I have heard in a long time. I am an Alexander McCall Smith addict but will lose interest if this reader stays. 'Can't understand her clipped diction and the audio quality is bad. Would like my money back if I could get it.

2 people found this helpful