The right attitude to rain by Alexander McCall Smith

The right attitude to rainBlurb:

When friends from Dallas arrive in Edinburgh and introduce Isabel to Tom Bruce – a bigwig at home in Texas – several confounding situations unfurl at once. Tom’s young fiancée’s roving eye leads Isabel to believe that money may be the root of her love for Tom. But what, Isabel wonders, is the root of the interest Tom begins to show for Isabel herself? And she can’t forget about her niece, Cat, who’s busy falling for a man whom Isabel suspects of being an incorrigible mama’s boy. Of course Grace and Isabel’s friend Jamie counsel Isabel to stay out of all of it, but there are irresistible philosophical issues at stake – when to tell the truth and when to keep one’s mouth shut, to be precise – and philosophical issues are meat and drink to Isabel Dalhousie, editor of the Review of Applied Ethics. In any case, she’s certain of the ethical basis for a little sleuthing now and again – especially when the problems involve matters of the heart.


In a nutshell:

I read it in: English

I liked it:     Yes      

For people who like: Edinburgh, calm plots that don’t get the heart rate up, philosophical ponderings


My thoughts: 

God, Isabel Dalhousie really should chill out a bit. That woman thinks every little detail through as if it was a decision of life and death. She wants to come to morally impeccable decisions and yet again she often fails.

Example: She wants to buy a flat from a woman who is eager to sell it to her because she likes the thought that Isabel and Jamie are living there together.  She got a wrong impression about the two and Isabel thinks it is unfair to accept the very generous offer based on a misconception. She wants to buy the flat for Grace and she and Jamie are not a couple at all. So she goes and tells the seller’s lawyer that she does not intend to live there with her young man. But then she claims that even though they are living apart she IS in a relationship with Jamie. A blatant lie, made because she doesn’t want sympathy from the married lawyer who might feel sorry for the poor spinster Isabel. Of course, she immediately regrets having said it, but where has all her pondering taken her? She just made it worse.

Isabel constantly feels pressured into getting involved in other people’s affairs because she has this odd theory about moral proximity. When she sits next to a person at a garden party she feels she then has a moral obligation to help that person with whatever problem they might have. If she makes eye contact with someone it puts her into a position of moral obligation towards that person (as seen in “The Sunday Philosophy Club” already). Give me a break!

Her friendship with Jamie has evolved into more now, and as you can imagine, that causes quite a bit of distress as well. Heaven forbid that Isabel just plunges into a relationship/affair with a man 14 years younger without agonizing over it for weeks.

Spoiler SelectShow

Cat’s reaction to the fait accompli of the relationship was surprising to say the least and throws a very bad light on her in my opinion. I liked her up to that point but her open hostility was rather unpleasant to watch.

All in all, Isabel Dalhousie makes her own life so complicated it’s not funny anymore. But entertaining nonetheless.


Location: Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Map UKPrinces Street Royal Mile

Photos by stuart_sib & stevieb5 at sxc.hu


Product info and buy link :

Title The right attitude to rain
Author Alexander McCall Smith
Publisher Anchor
ISBN 9781400077113
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Buy link Buy The right attitude to rain
More info Alexander McCall Smith’s website

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