The Right Attitude to Rain

by Alexander McCall Smith

Hardcover, 2006

Call number




Pantheon (2006), 288 pages


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.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Lman
This instalment of Isabel Dalhousie’s life and loves is an utter delight – revealing depths to Isabel’s feelings and character even more than the previous books. Instead of learning about our main protagonist from her thoughts and contemplations, and through her associations with others, we are now offered a full, profound realisation of Isabel herself.

It is June in Edinburgh and, besides her editing of The Review of Applied Ethics, and the difficulties self-imposed with this, Isabel has her sunny days filled with procuring an apartment for Grace, her housekeeper; a month-long visit from her much-loved American cousin Mimi; and her burgeoning awareness, and acknowledgement, of her feelings for Jamie. And still with time to speculate, and meddle, in the affairs of an American couple staying for the summer in Edinburgh.

The Right Attitude to Rain thus offers a more fleshed-out story of former anecdotes, especially some only briefly alluded to in the past books. Isabel’s history, and her mother’s; her relationship with Grace, her responsibilities, her desires, her needs and her dreams are given more substance, along with a release from the anguish of her earlier hurt. And this release is possible as Isabel, along with everyone around her, recognises her developing intimacy with her younger man. The reactions and responses this elicits provide a great deal of laughs, much soul-searching from within, a large dose of jealousy from other women and at times, a degree of poignancy that bites deeply. For Isabel is in love; and her musings and her reflections, her attitudes and her actions – all these are forthwith coloured and, at times, controlled by this unexpected state of bliss.

Alexander McCall Smith, in my opinion, with the use of simple words and basic stories, offers an intimate, complex illustration of the possibilities of life which surrounds him everyday. With small anecdotes he delivers thought-provoking ideas, with the use of common examples he entertains complicated scenarios; and with gentle persuasion he allows intelligent, sympathetic, but perceptive, observations of humankind.

Did I mention utterly delightful? What about the twist at the end? That’s the only mystery in this book – where will he take Isabel with this? That I eagerly anticipate!
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LibraryThing member nmcbain
Alexander McCall Smith's novels are very gentle and full of lovely observations about human behaviour. This is the third book in the Sunday Philosophy Club series about Isabel Dalhousie, philosopher, amateur detective and Edinburgh resident. I'm always sorry when I finish these novels and this was no exception, with a surprise ending that left me wondering where the story will go next. Highly recommended.… (more)
LibraryThing member richardderus
Rating: 3 disappointed stars of five

The Book Report: Isabel Dalhousie, moral philosopher and newly reawakened lust-pot, entertains her American cousin and her husband in this third installment of the Sunday Philosophy Club series of novels. Much happens, all of it spoilery, but one big thing occurs here: Isabel finally asks her younger musician friend and lust object, Jamie, to bed. He, unsurprisingly, says yes.

Isabel does this because almost everyone in her world spends the whole book saying, "So! Boinked Jamie yet? He's obviously hot for you, what'cha waitin' for?" or words to that effect. The Big Event At Last!

My Review: And what happens when love thwarted becomes love consummated? Remember Moonlighting? Before Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis Did The Deed, it was sparkling, witty, and fun; after, such a snooze it shoulda been available only by prescription.

Same ol' same ol' here. This book isn't *bad* but...there is something just too expected, or something just not suspenseful's just not fully engaging, like the first two are. But things will get better next time. I know they will.

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LibraryThing member clogwog
Usually Alexander McCall Smith's novels are very gentle and full of lovely observations about human behaviour. However I thought this one was extremely slow and quite pointless. I thought Isabel Dalhousie has lost the plot. Where was the mystery?
LibraryThing member bibliophile26
His books are not extremely plot driven, but his writing style and character development make reading each book like having an delicious dessert.
LibraryThing member Clara53
Charming, as usual, a feel-good book, like all books of this author.
LibraryThing member cindysprocket
I enjoyed this episode of Isabel Dalhosie's life. I do not understand why it should be called a mystery. Maybe the mystery of life ?
LibraryThing member angharad_reads
I've found the two books I've read about Isabel Dalhousie to be somewhat aloof in style. It's hard to tell sometimes when she is kidding, emotional, or whether she is just musing or endorsing her thoughts. This one included a bit more emotion, so I'm starting to care more about her. It also included more from other characters' viewpoints, but disconcertingly styled so that I always had to doubletake to discern whether it was Isabel thinking about them, or the author sharing their thoughts. Third person narrative is not usually difficult that way.… (more)
LibraryThing member mbmackay
Another Isabel Dalhousie novel. I know they're formulaic, but I still enjoy these books. Makes EWdinburgh look like an attractive place to live - at least for the few weeks that count as summer! Read April 2010.
LibraryThing member graysongirl
Davina Porter delivers a beautiful presentation of this charming story in the Isabel Dalhousie series.
LibraryThing member MichaelDeavers
Isabel just Shines!

I have always enjoyed the Isabel Dalhousie's books and in my opinion The Right Attitude to Rain is a notch above the others. Even though Isabel was still analyzing family and friends, and coming to her own conclusions in the story was a departure from the other books. Isabel's niece, Cat, has a different personality or a different side, maybe that's what I'm trying to say. Oh well, no need to expound on the plot and other parts of the story because it would only spoil it for you.
In summary, Mr. Smith has created a super story in which you will definitely care for the characters.
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LibraryThing member saucyhp
I enjoy the Isabel novels but have mixed feelings about the love affair with Jamie. Is he still in love with Cat or is it just that Isabel thinks he is?
LibraryThing member ini_ya
Very good. Loved the end.
LibraryThing member ethelmertz
Good, but a bit rushed.
LibraryThing member WeeziesBooks
“The Right Attitude to Rain” is a cozy mystery written by McCall Smith. I listened to this book which kept my attention as the reader did a good job with the characters. Isabel Dalhousis is a philosopher who has a very conservative view of herself and of the moral aspects of life's. In this book she grapples with romantic relationships between individuals of different ages. She also grapples with the importance of the opinions of others related to the freedoms one might enjoy in one’s own life. She both interferes and has strong ideas about others choices in life, but all of her actions are well meaning and kindly. I found this to be a bit boring and a very predictable story line. The ending was a bit abrupt for the time spent developing the story. Not one of my favorite books.… (more)
LibraryThing member idiotgirl
Listened as an audiobook. I love this character, Isabel Dalhousie. Though I don't really believe in her. But I want to. We have friends in Scotland, and in Edinburgh, so I love the city. I enjoy Isabel's musings on moral issues, makes a person want to be more thoughtful. It's hard to imagine she's in her early 40s and attractive. Didn't tune into that until almost through the second or third book. And it's hard for me to ascent to the love affair with Jamie. But I'd love it to be true. I'll read the next one for sure.… (more)
LibraryThing member isabelx
The main character is so irritating! It's okay for her to be independently wealthy with an income from her dead mother's family business, but woe betide anyone else who dares to show the slightest interest in money. Artists, musicians, academics and Bohemian delicatessen owners are okay, but lawyers are beyond the pale, even though her own father was a lawyer.

But I'm still going to read the fourth book in the series when I get my hands on a copy.
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LibraryThing member BookConcierge
In this third installment of the series featuring the Edinburgh philosopher, Isabel Dalhousie’s cousin Mimi arrives with her husband, Joe, from Dallas for a visit. Mimi introduces Isabel to Tom Bruce, a wealthy Texas who has recently become engaged to Angie. But Angie seems much more interested in Isabel’s friend Jamie, who used to date Isabel’s niece, Cat. Meanwhile, Cat seems to be falling for a totally unsuitable young man.

What I really like about this series are Isabel’s philosophical musings, and this one is no exception. The central ethical dilemma seems to be when to keep one’s mouth shut vs when to tell all one knows. Is it interfering to let someone know what you’ve observed? Is it appropriate to voice one’s feelings for someone who is clearly attached to another?

I like the developing relationships in the series, which are slowly forming, as they do in real life, with occasional missteps, tiffs, and make-ups.

Hilary Neville does a fine job performing the audiobook. She has good pacing and I love the way she voices Isabel. However, I didn’t realize I had received an abridged audio until the second disc, and I then abandoned the audio to read the text.
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LibraryThing member flydodofly
This is the second McCall Smith I picked up in the library. I seem to love his titles, but I am, again, a little disappointed. As a matter of fact, I though I picked up the same book again and needed to check. It was not the same one, but still it is more or less - the same. I suppose this is good news for fans of his work, but I will be really careful from now on, not to get fooled by another clever title.… (more)
LibraryThing member MinaIsham
-- I put down a 14th century Italian novel to cleanse my palate with RIGHT ATTITUDE TO RAIN. It's in the Isabelle Dahousie series. (Smith also wrote No. Ladies Detective Agency novels.) Characters are familiar. Isabelle is a philosopher. She edits "Review of Applied Ethics." Cat is Isabelle's niece & owner of a delicatessan. Eddie is a young man empioyed by Cat. Grace is Isabelle's housekeeper. Jamie is Cat's ex-boyfriend & Isabelle's new boyfriend. In RIGHT ATTITUDE Isabelle houses second cousin Mimi with husband Joe from Dallas while they're in Edinburgh. Tom & Angie are also Texans in Scotland. Readers accompany Isabelle as she approaches issues from moral & ethical angles. I like her company. --… (more)
LibraryThing member MissJessie
What I learned from this book:
1. May-Dec. relationships can work in the reverse of the usual way.
2. May-Dec. relationships of the standard variety can be troublesome.
3. The Scot's view of Americans is not always flattering.
4. Birth control is always a good idea.

I enjoy AMS's writing very much and this series is entertaining. I do find Isabel to be quite wordy at times and AMS never says in 5 words what 15 will say equally as well. Additionally, her constant apologizing gets on my nerves after awhile; someone in her 40's should be able to deal with a rude niece firmly instead of groveling around.

I do like this series very much and would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice, easy read without any tension or mystery.
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LibraryThing member bergs47
Chick lit by a male? If you think it's not possible, read this book.
LibraryThing member Shuffy2
Love- Can it exist between an older man and a younger woman? Can it exist between a younger man and an older woman? Is money an influence?

Isabel’s cousin, Mimi arrives in Edinburgh from Dallas to visit and introduces her to her friend Tom Bruce. Tom’s young fiancé seems more interested in Isabel’s young friend Jamie than in Tom himself. Is it Tom’s money the only thing keeping her in the relationship? Isabel sets out to find out much to her friend Jamie’s advice--he thinks she should 'butt out’…..

The Right Attitude to Rain, the 3rd book in the Isabel Dalhousie series, is another quiet yet remarkable book. It is not a book of espionage or passionate romance but it does have some ‘philosophical issues’, a bit of sleuthing… and a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure. And it takes place in Edinburgh—one of my favorite places!
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LibraryThing member Vivl
Very enjoyable. This is the only Alexander McCall Smith series I've read and the start wasn't auspicious, mostly because when I picked up the first book I expected a traditional mystery story and didn't get one. I wasn't planning on reading further, especially as I also found Isabel Dalhousie's moralising to be rather tiresome, but by some quirk of fate ended up having a go at the second book, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate and falling for the series.

This is more of the same, but with some very welcome changes in attitude, which I won't go into as I feel as though they would be too spoiler-ish. As usual, some mysterious-ish stuff is going on, but it isn't really the focus and isn't really "solved". This no longer worries me at all, as I enjoy the slow-paced wander through Edinburgh and philosophy.
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LibraryThing member bsiemens
How did I miss the mystery part of this novel? More to the point, how was it that I was enjoying the writing style and connecting with Isabel Dalhousie but disliking too much of the book? A few reviewers have classified this book as Romance or Chick Lit; I know little about either genre but maybe that's what I was missing in this novel. I'm ready to wait a long time until I ever pick up another Alexander McCall Smith. Parting is such sweet sweet.… (more)




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