The Novel Habits of Happiness Summary and Reviews

The Novel Habits of Happiness

An Isabel Dalhousie Novel (#10)

by Alexander McCall Smith

The Novel Habits of Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith X
The Novel Habits of Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2015
    272 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

The insatiably curious Edinburgh philosopher and amateur sleuth Isabel Dalhousie returns, taking on a case unlike any she's had before - this one with paranormal implications - in the eagerly anticipated new installment of Alexander McCall Smith's beloved and best-selling series.

Through a mutual acquaintance, Isabel is introduced to a six-year-old boy who has been experiencing vivid recollections of a past life, which include a perfect description of an island off the coast of Scotland and a house on the island where he claims to have lived. When the boy's mother asks Isabel to investigate, Isabel naturally feels inclined to help, and so she, her husband, Jamie, and their son, Charlie, set off for the island. To their great surprise, they actually locate the house that the boy described, which leads to more complicated questions, as Isabel's desire to find rational explanations comes up against the uncanny mystery unfolding before her. It's an extraordinarily delicate situation that will require all of her skills, as both sleuth and philosopher, to solve.

Back home, as she begins to prepare the next issue of the Review of Applied Ethics, Isabel confronts a threat to her professional well-being in the form of two visiting academics - Lettuce and Dove - who she fears will be a destabilizing influence on her cozy perch in enlightened Edinburgh.

But no matter the trials she faces, Isabel is blissfully content in her personal life, which is centered on her young son and devoted husband. Readers will be filled with happiness as they once again spend time with their beloved heroine and the people she holds dear.

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The real substance of this charming series lies in Isabel's thoughtful observations and the interactions among a large cast of characters." - Publishers Weekly

"The woolliest of Isabel's ten appearances to date and the one that makes the most decided case for the mental digression as a structural principle." - Kirkus

"Dalhousie is a philosopher to her core, and most of this book focuses on her wide-ranging musings and conversations, which can be funny, shocking, and thought provoking in themselves." - Booklist

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Author Information

Alexander McCall Smith Author Biography

Alexander McCall Smith began the now highly successful 'No 1 Ladies Detective Agency' series in 1996, after being inspired by the sight of a 'traditionally built' Botswanan lady chasing down a chicken for a meal. The first book in the series - 'The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency' was published in the UK in 1998 but didn't arrive in the USA until 2001.

Known to his friends as Sandy, McCall Smith describes the Botswanans as 'genuinely courteous people' He knows Botswana well as he grew up there and also spent several years on the law faculty of the University of Botswana; his volume on the legal system of Botswana (The Criminal Law of Botswana) remains the definitive and in fact, only book on the subject.

In 2004 he published the first in a...

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