The Lost Art of Gratitude (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
Alexander McCall Smith, a lawyer and teacher, became an internationally popular author with the publication of The Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (1998), a mystery set in Botswana and featuring sleuth Mma Precious Ramotswe. His unusual heroine gained in readership with each of the nine subsequent novels in the series. In 2004, McCall Smith created another woman sleuth, Isabel Dalhousie, an ethical philosopher living in Edinburgh, Scotland. The previous titles featuring Dalhousie are The Sunday Philosophy Club (2004), Friends, Lovers, Chocolate (2005), The Right Attitude to Rain (2006), The Careful Use of Compliments (2007), and The Comforts of a Muddy Sunday (2008). McCall Smith is also a prolific author of children’s books.
Each Isabel Dalhousie novel assumes a reader’s knowledge of what has happened in the personal lives of the main characters in the prior books. At the same time, each new story is complete enough in itself, so a lack of background is not a problem. In The Lost Art of Gratitude, Isabel’s present familial, social, and professional lives are clear, while the writer makes occasional brief references to background details from the earlier works. The narrative moves along smoothly as a result. Dalhousie is in her forties, resides in Edinburgh, and is independently wealthy. She shares her spacious home with her partner Jamie and their eighteen-month old son Charley. She...
(The entire section is 1606 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!