Review

The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel

by Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel Dalhousie fans already know that the redoubtable
philosopher of Edinburgh will leave no stone unturned once she
encounters an ethical conundrum that piques her limitless nosiness
--- a nosiness that more than once has found her confronting her
own self-doubts but nevertheless doesn’t stop her from
unraveling life’s Gordian knots to seek a path to justice,
usually of a moral nature.

In THE COMFORTS OF A MUDDY SATURDAY, Isabel meets the distraught
wife of a doctor who has lost his license to practice and, nearly
suicidal, is living in self-imposed exile. He has been accused of
altering crucial records in a medical study that may have caused a
drug to go on the market that has since proven dangerous to people
with certain health conditions. Is he guilty, or the victim of a
vindictive colleague? Is the pharmaceutical company trying to cover
up their own mistakes?  The doctor’s wife wants only to
get to the truth of the matter and comes to Isabel to make discreet
enquiries to help set her mind at ease.

Meanwhile, Isabel’s relationship with Jamie, the youthful
father of her young son, Charlie, is the subject of great concern
as Jamie explores new musical career horizons with a famous
composer. Sometimes, Isabel comes to discover, she thinks too much.
Her philosophical approach to life leads her to place personal
decisions under a microscope to be examined from in every
conceivable light. She scrutinizes each nuance until reality and
her vivid imagination tend to blur. Pity poor Jamie, who blissfully
goes along in life teaching his students, playing in the symphony,
and loving Isabel and Charlie, while living with an insecure older
woman who may well be a reincarnation of Sherlock Holmes. This
results in some comical situations, frequently leading Isabel
astray and leaving Jamie and the housekeeper Grace in a state of
bewilderment.

Isabel’s introspections also lead the reader to
one’s deeper thoughts on right, wrong and all shades of gray
without ever once mounting a soapbox. Alexander McCall Smith
addresses life’s mysteries in his comfortable stories of
contemporary life in Scotland with the same deft sense of humor he
brought to the heroine of his hugely successful No. 1
Ladies’ Detective Agency
series.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on December 28, 2010

The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday: An Isabel Dalhousie Novel
by Alexander McCall Smith

  • Publication Date: July 28, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor
  • ISBN-10: 0307387070
  • ISBN-13: 9780307387073