In the Words of Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel is back – and with a charming new look!

Posted in: News

Summer draws to a close, and Autumn is nearly upon us - it must be time to catch up on the latest events in the life of our favourite philosopher and private investigator, Isabel Dalhousie. And she’s got a whole new look for the new season . . .

In The Charming Quirks of Others  – which is out now in paperback – Isabel finds herself contemplating an act of heroic and alarming self-sacrifice.

And in just under two weeks, the new Isabel Dalhousie novel entitled The Forgotten Affairs of Youth is released, in which Isabel finds herself beset by temptation, and attempting to steer a course between love and laissez-faire. Both titles feature the brand-new cover look, which will be rolled out across all the titles in the series. Let us know what you think!

And for a fascinating glimpse of the real Edinburgh behind the Dalhousie series (and of course the Scotland Street series too) have a look at this short film of Alexander McCall Smith taking Sarah Crown from The Guardian on walking tour of his home city.

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21 comments on this article to-date:

  1. Karin Guinchard says:

    Hello and thank you for your books about the onewomanclub of Sunday Philosophers. I like the look on the first page as it has been. I think what I see of the new ones that they refer more to love, women and men, not reflecting so well the content.
    Greetings and thanks! Karin Guinchard, Sweden.

  2. nell myers says:

    Why!! does it take so long for Isabel to appear in paperback? I don’t mind the price, but for old people paperbacks are MUCH easier to carry round.

  3. Shona Adam says:

    I agree with Karin Guinchard that the new book cover illustrations for the latest 2 Isabel Dalhousie novels give the impression that the content will be largely romance which I don’t think is the case. They are so much more than just that. Although Adam McCauley is obviously a talented illustrator, I feel that the way Iain McIntosh’s covers encapsulated the quirky texture and essence of each of the books that Alexander McCall Smith set in Britain is amazing and far more in tune with the stories.

  4. Anne Bailly says:

    I love all the books of all series and can’t wait to discover The Forgotten Affairs of Youth.
    However I liked better the “old” covers which I found more charming. The new ones don’t appeal much to me. They look a bit old fashioned and as if the stories were not contemporaries, which must be on purpose I guess as Isabelle is both modern and old fashioned, but I feel that it does not really reflect the atmosphere. And also although they are colourful they seem a bit dull and unfinished. Yes, I definitely prefer the style of the previous ones.

  5. Andrew Kane says:

    I concur with Nell Myers – it would be good if the paper back edition could be released sooner. Probably a money angle but I’d be prepared to pay a bit more for the paperback if it was released simultaneously.

    The new front cover has a touch of the Jack Vettriano’s about it – no bad thing given his Edinburgh connections. I like it!

  6. Kats98 says:

    Bring back the old cover art – my bookcase looks odd now!!

  7. Merryn Sinclair says:

    I can’t wait to get the latest book, I love them all.I must say I prefer the old cover art, it’s more quirky and whimsical rather than looking like a romance.

  8. Julia says:

    I also much prefer the old covers, but realize that if I had only been introduced to the new ones I would like them as well. I am a traditionalist & when I get a picture in my mind I prefer the ” look” to remain the same, because I associate the characters with the image I was first introduced to. I wish the books were releases in the US at the same times as in the UK. I have to wait so long to read the next installment of the lives of the characters that is already “out there”. By the time the books arrive here there is following one I wish to read as well. Very frustrating because I love the characters in every series. AMS’s books are the best!

  9. Sally Rogers says:

    Simply the very best writing that I have yet experienced. I enjoyed the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, but find the 44 Scotland Street books to be exceptional. I find Alexander’s musings on the philisophical side of so many of life’s situations not only fascinating, but also really informative.
    Isabel Dalhousie books are also a great read and highly enjoyable.
    I’m just wondering if my preference is somewhat influenced by the fact that I spent so long in teaching, and love reading about Bertie etc.
    Thank you for providing so much food for thought.

  10. Pamela Peak says:

    why can’t we get your books more rapidly here in the U.S.?

  11. I expect I am one of many fans who noted that on page ll of The Forgotten Affairs of Youth Isabel is accused of “prevarication”. Surely Mr. McCall did not intend to say Isabel lies, but perhaps has a tendency to “procrastinate”!

  12. John Kiley says:

    I repeat Mary McCallum’s comment re prevaricate vs procrastinate. Alexander McCall Smith is one of my top writers of prose (ever – and I’m an almost 65 year old bookaholic) and isn’t allowed to make such mistakes. May he live forever and never stop writing.

  13. Shona Adam says:

    I realise that my comments of October 13, 2011 are very misleading… I completely omitted to say that I actually really liked Adam McCauley’s previous covers for the Isabel Dalhousie books, they were dynamic, interesting and represented the content. It is just the ‘new look’ romantic covers I think are inappropriate. Apologies for expressing my opinion to badly! I still think that Iain McIntosh’s covers for some of the other series of books are wonderful too.

  14. Mo says:

    Oh dear, what a shame the covers have been changed. I’m not sure Isabel Dalhousie would approve of being given a marketing makeover. The books are a delight but the new covers are so at odds with the world conveyed between the pages.

  15. Jennifer W says:

    The new designs on the covers for the Isabel Dalhousie novels closely resemble the style of the jackets of the “Maisie Dobbs” novels by Jacqueline Winspear which are set in the 20′s and 30′s. I feel the quirky former designs suit the modern and very diverse stories far better. I also concur with other commenter’s wishes that the novels appear over here in Canada at the same time as they are published in the U.K. Looking forward to the
    next”Isabel”: they are books with ideas to ponder and always bring a smile and a nod of agreement!

  16. shelly says:

    I dont care about the covers at all, its the treasure inside that counts. I love Isabel- she makes me want to be a better person.

  17. aanchal says:

    I love the books – of course I have to wait for them here in India. I am just finishing the charming quirks and I am sue by this time her honeymoon place is decided – but i still want to suggest a tiny place in the Himachal called Dalhousie! :)

  18. Sunny Powers says:

    In “The Forgotten Affairs of Youth”, as I pointed out earlier, the word “prevarication” on page 11 should have been “procrastination”. which Isabel would be more prone to do.

    Also, on page 149, (I wonder if this is “English” English as opposed to “American” English)you have used “an historian” instead of “a historian”. In “our” English (as Americans) we put the “an” before a vowel SOUND, such an it is “an honor”–pronounced as “ah-nor” but not before the voiced consonant pronounced as “hiss”, “ha” or “hew” as history, habit, human, healthy, etc. It was disconcerting to read “an history” and “an historian.” Can you enlighten me on this? Thanks!

  19. admin says:

    Hi Sunny,

    Thanks for your comment. In the United Kingdom both ‘a historian’ and ‘an historian’ are considered correct usage, as some accents tend not to stress the ‘h’ sound so it becomes a bit more like your ‘honour’ example. We do say ‘history’ with a hard ‘h’,so would say ‘a history lesson’. This difference may be down historical usage and pronunciation – the heritage of language does account for quite a few idiosyncrasies like this one!

    In the US, I believe it is more correct to say ‘a historian’ as the accent difference usually create a hard ‘h’ sound.

    Hope this helps.

  20. sandra reynolds says:

    I´m in love with Scotland again. Ican´t wait to go back to Edinburgh with my notes from the Scotland Books. Something else I really enjoy is the way I can identify with so many of the characters, with whom all I have in common is a way of thinking, (if not acting). Isabel, in particular. And now Bertie. As for the covers, I like them well enough. As long as it says AMS its good enough for me. As Shelley says it´s the contents that matter.
    Pleased to see ´an historian´. Shall we also see ´an hysteric´?

  21. Kathleen says:

    Has anyone read the new and only online book featuring Isabel Dalhousie, “The Perils of Morning Coffee”? It is of course delightful, but way too short.

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