Review

The Right Attitude to Rain: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel

by Alexander McCall Smith



"To take an interest in the affairs of others is entirely natural;
so natural, in fact, that even a cat, lying cat-napping on top of a
wall will watch with half an eye the people walking by below. But
between such curiosity, which is permissible, and nosiness, which
is not, there lies a dividing line that some people simply miss ---
even if it is a line that is painted red and marked by the very
clearest of warning signs." So muses Isabel Dalhousie in the
opening lines of the latest addition to the delightful Scots
philosopher's series.

Isabel has been lovingly counseled by her niece, Cat, and close
friend Jamie, and more than once has stepped over that red marked
line with humorous and often near-disastrous results. Her
woolgathering often leads her down shadowy paths in search of
solutions to knotty ethical problems that may go unobserved by most
yet loom large to one who edits a magazine called Review of
Applied Ethics
.

Small mysteries often evolve from Isabel's observations, so it is
no surprise that the relationship between an older, wealthy Dallas
businessman and his young and beautiful fiancé --- on holiday
in Edinburgh --- should raise an alarum bell in Isabel's
inquisitive mind. What begins as casually as noticing the cut of
their clothes and car-parking habits as she sips coffee in a
café builds to outright suspicion as she becomes better
acquainted with the couple through mutual friends.

In THE RIGHT ATTITUDE TO RAIN, we are allowed a peep into Isabel's
personal life for the first time. A dear friend from her childhood
hometown in America comes for an extended visit, dredging up
memories --- and possibilities --- of a very different life. Her
generosity toward her taciturn housekeeper, Grace, adds a new
dimension to our view of Isabel, and a house party in the country
helps to resolve --- or does it complicate? --- a growing personal
relationship between Isabel and a younger man.

Never has Isabel Dalhousie been more introspective than when she is
casting her philosophical insights on the horns of her own
dilemmas. For the first time Alexander McCall Smith fleshes out
this eccentric and delightful woman. Thinner, younger and more
glamorous than her sister-in-fiction, Mma Precious Ramotswe of
Botswana's First Ladies Detective Agency, Isabel is a Victorian
lady at heart, plunged into the vast gray seas of 21st century
perplexities and morality.

Only slightly headier than an herbal tea by a cozy fire, Isabel's
quandaries delight and pique the inner philosopher in all of
us.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 23, 2011

The Right Attitude to Rain: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel
by Alexander McCall Smith

  • Publication Date: July 10, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Books
  • ISBN-10: 1400077117
  • ISBN-13: 9781400077113