The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9)


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That bit—the genius bit—has to be there somewhere in the brain. Badness, he thought, was usually a question of faulty wiring; Isabel was not so sure. The one who wrote Lolita? He could do elaborate calculations in his head, within seconds. Musicians were often competent or even more than competent mathematicians—the wiring, perhaps, was similar. At school his best subject, after music, had been mathematics, and yet he had always had to approach it slowly, even ploddingly.

Do they have to think it through, or does the answer come to them automatically, just like that? He had, in fact, seen the figure 3. When he recovered his mathematical ability had gone. Just like that. Burned out the wiring, as you might say. Each knew that the other was thinking of their young son, Charlie, now an energetic three-and-three-quarter-year-old; energetic, but currently asleep in his bedroom on that summer morning that was already growing hot.

An uncharacteristic heat wave had descended on Edinburgh and the east of Scotland. It brought with it not only a summer languor, but the scent of the country into the town—cut hay, baked hillsides, heather that was soon to flower purple, the sea at Cramond. Isabel broke the silence. You know those bricks of his—the yellow ones? They had on them bright pictures of ducks engaged in various pursuits—driving a train, drinking tea, flying in small biplanes—and Charlie adored them, even to the extent of secreting one of them under his pillow at night.

One could love anything as a child, she thought; a teddy bear, a security blanket, a yellow brick. And he counted with me, all the way up to twenty—which is impressive enough, if you ask me. But you know what he said? Had Charlie ever done anything similar for her? She did not think so.

He had asked some perceptive questions, though, and one or two of them had startled her. Know not a dog? Brother Fox presumably instinctively understood that dogs were not part of his world, but did that mean that he had some concept of foxdom? Probably not. And you know what he said? It sounds impressive, but is it all that unusual? They said children of four should be able to add and count up to five. They said nothing about division, or multiplication. Just counting.

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I told them that he can do a C major scale and they said something about his hands still being quite small and it must be difficult for that reason. From upstairs there came the sound of a high-pitched voice—something between a chuckle and a shout. Charlie was awake. Isabel nodded. About what we do—if anything.

About his being good at numbers? You think we should ignore it rather than encourage it? Would he be any happier if we encouraged him to be a mathematical prodigy? All mothers were pushy to an extent: one did not have to look far in the natural world to see mothers being pushy for their offspring—any self-respecting lioness would make sure her cubs got their fair share—but there were limits. He encountered pushy parents in his work, and one in particular came to mind.

Jamie did not want the stage of the Usher Hall for Charlie, although if it came to that, he and Isabel would of course be in the front row. And Charlie would come onstage and need a box to stand on to climb on to the piano stool; or perhaps have his teddy bear carefully seated on the stool next to him while the conductor raised his baton to bring the accompanying orchestra to order.

The frown became a smile. Another cry came from Charlie, more urgent now, followed by a rattling of the bars at the top of his bed. He liked billiards. He kept a canary—and a horse. He enjoyed practical jokes. To play billiards, to keep a canary and a horse, and to enjoy practical jokes—were very ordinary things like that the recipe for an enjoyable life?

You live in that fantastic house. Why does this statement make Isabel so uncomfortable?

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Is envy ultimately behind the theft of the painting? Eddie has fallen in love with a young woman callnamed Diane. Why do her parents disapprove of Eddie?

Readers of the earlier books in the series may feel relieved that Eddie is finally confiding in Isabel about a traumatic event in his past, and his fear of being ill as a result of it. Isabel offers to go with him to a clinic so that he can be tested. What is most impressive or moving about the way Isabel extends the comfort of her friendship in this scene 91?

How does this attitude come into play in small, non-criminal ways in everyday life? Isabel has noticed that Duncan seems uncomfortable with homosexuality; she has also learned that Duncan has a difficult relationship with his son, Patrick, who is gay. Does the construction of the plot lead you to believe that Patrick is responsible? What do you think of her argument —? If Heather Darndt is right about her historical facts, why does Isabel believe she is wrong in her conclusions, and also in her professional role in the situation —?

The situation becomes potentially dangerous when Isabel and Duncan go to meet the men in the van — Did Isabel put herself in danger by going along on such a mission with a near -stranger? Is it surprising that she goes along, and that Jamie allows her to go? How does Alex come across in her meeting with Isabel in Chapter 11? Is it surprising that she suggests her brother may be the thief ? This item has been added to your basket View basket Checkout. Your local Waterstones may have stock of this item.

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The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9) The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9)
The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9) The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9)
The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9) The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9)
The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9) The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9)
The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9) The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9)
The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9) The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9)
The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9) The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, Book 9)

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