The Comfort of Saturdays

The Comfort of Saturdays also published as The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday is the fifth installment in the Isabel Dalhousie series.

The Daily Telegraph described these books as a celebration of kindness, and although that sounds slightly patronising, it is actually a very good description of this series. They're just plain sweet, very comforting to read - just the thing for a wet Saturday.

Number 5 in the series is rather more serious in tone than some of the earlier volumes. Isabel's relationship with Jamie deepens, and is not without its conflicts, but the central "mystery" in this novel concerns drug trials and the ethics behind the development of drugs. As McCall Smith has a background in medical ethics it's understandable that this should be taken seriously, and it provides a good heart to the novel. The central theme of the book is trust and lies - is it ever right to lie? Do lies affect anyone other than the liar? And the novel interestingly shows a range of lies / potential lies, and counterpoints them against the central drugs development story. Fascinating, more thought-provoking than it initially seems on first reading, and yes, a celebration of kindness.


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