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ISABEL DALHOUSIE - Book 1
 
Nothing captures the charm of Edinburgh like the bestselling Isabel Dalhousie series of novels featuring the insatiably curious philosopher and woman detective.  Whether investigating a case or a problem of philosophy, the indefatigable Isabel Dalhousie, one of fiction’s most richly developed amateur detectives, is always ready to pursue the answers to all of life’s questions, large and small.


In this first installment, Isabel is attending a concert in the Usher Hall when she witnesses a man fall from the upper balcony. Isabel can’t help wondering whether it was the result of mischance or mischief. Against the best advice of her no-nonsense housekeeper Grace, her bassoon playing friend Jamie, and even her romantically challenged niece Cat, she is morally bound to solve this case. Complete with wonderful Edinburgh atmosphere and characters straight out of a Robert Burns poem, The Sunday Philosophy Club is a delightful treat from one of our most beloved authors.

 




From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published: Random House Publishing Group on Sep 28, 2004
ISBN: 9780375423437
List price: $9.99
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2.5 starsIsabel is a philosopher and editor of a journal, the Review of Applied Ethics. At the opera (?) one night, she sees a man fall from a balcony above her. The man dies, but Isabel is now interested in finding out what happened, exactly. It's too bad this really wasn't a mystery and the focus wasn't on figuring out what happened. There was a little bit of that, but mostly there was a lot of boring philosophy. Unfortunately, I accidentally picked up the second book in the series before realizing there was a first book. The title of the second one is appealing, but if it's anything like this one in content, I'm not sure if I want to try. I guess the good news is that it was fast to read.read more
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Liked this book, but I always wish Alexander McCall Smith would add more mystery to his mysteries. Listened to the audio version which was good.read more
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I had a hard time getting into "The Sunday Philosophy Club". It started with a bang, so to speak, and then droned on and on while it introduced the reader to Isabel Dalhousie and her repertoire, even before we knew why, or if, we wanted to know about them.You cannot even be sure it was a mystery until the book was more than half done. And then it looks like it might lead up to a fairly contemporary tale of financial shenanigans. It is evident that a "thriller" style of writing is not Alexander McCall Smith's forte. His style is best suited for the "slice of life" style as done in his "No. 1 Ladies Detective" series or "44 Scotland Street".I found the "philosophy" interesting but tedious. I suspect that if it could have been written more as dialog, rather than stream of consciousness, it could have been more effective.I will say that by the end of the book, Smith had done a good job of drawing out his main and, I assume, continuing characters and treating us to another side of life in Edinburgh. I will likely try the next book in the series when I find it.read more
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Reviews

2.5 starsIsabel is a philosopher and editor of a journal, the Review of Applied Ethics. At the opera (?) one night, she sees a man fall from a balcony above her. The man dies, but Isabel is now interested in finding out what happened, exactly. It's too bad this really wasn't a mystery and the focus wasn't on figuring out what happened. There was a little bit of that, but mostly there was a lot of boring philosophy. Unfortunately, I accidentally picked up the second book in the series before realizing there was a first book. The title of the second one is appealing, but if it's anything like this one in content, I'm not sure if I want to try. I guess the good news is that it was fast to read.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Liked this book, but I always wish Alexander McCall Smith would add more mystery to his mysteries. Listened to the audio version which was good.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I had a hard time getting into "The Sunday Philosophy Club". It started with a bang, so to speak, and then droned on and on while it introduced the reader to Isabel Dalhousie and her repertoire, even before we knew why, or if, we wanted to know about them.You cannot even be sure it was a mystery until the book was more than half done. And then it looks like it might lead up to a fairly contemporary tale of financial shenanigans. It is evident that a "thriller" style of writing is not Alexander McCall Smith's forte. His style is best suited for the "slice of life" style as done in his "No. 1 Ladies Detective" series or "44 Scotland Street".I found the "philosophy" interesting but tedious. I suspect that if it could have been written more as dialog, rather than stream of consciousness, it could have been more effective.I will say that by the end of the book, Smith had done a good job of drawing out his main and, I assume, continuing characters and treating us to another side of life in Edinburgh. I will likely try the next book in the series when I find it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The Sunday Philosophy Club could, more aptly, be titled The Philosophical Musings of Isabel Dalhousie; like all Alexander McCall Smith books I have read, the main character drives the story with her sentiments and beliefs in life.Isabel Dalhousie, the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, spends her time in Edinburgh constantly reflecting on the minutia of her life through her own ethical and honourable compass. When at a concert one night, she witnesses a young man fall to his death, which sets off a moral obligation on her part to investigate such a dreadful event. Independently wealthy, with a university education in philosophy, a failed marriage and now living alone, Isabel has numerous friends: foremost being her niece Cat, her housekeeper Grace, and Jamie, a former boyfriend of Cat’s, who Isabel is particularly fond of; all of whom enhance and complicate Isabel’s attitudes to the predicaments in which she inevitably places herself. For, regardless of her philosophical propensity, Isabel is as human and vulnerable, and subject to the same idiosyncrasies, as anyone else. Thus she meddles in affairs not strictly her business, forms strong opinions, but is an astute and intelligent woman who is quick to realise her own inadequacies and faults, whilst shrewdly assessing others - including crushed-strawberry corduroy trousers! I have always considered Alexander McCall Smith’s books contain more of a sociological bent than belonging to a crime genre. This book, to my mind, is a leisurely ramble through the society of today, using Isabel to allow sharp, perceptive reflections and contemplations of, perhaps, the author’s notions of life nowadays. If, like me, you lament the loss of politeness and the lack of moral fibre seeping into our lives, you will, undoubtedly also enjoy and relate to this book. If you find this loss incomprehensible, along with an incongruousness for the inability of a Sunday Philosophy Club to ever meet; then this book is not for you.Another lovely gentle read; to soothe and solace – a balm for the soul.
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I did not like this book at all! None of the characters were likable, especially the main character Isabel Dalhousie. She was lacking in many areas. She might have book smarts, but she had no common sense at all. By the end of the book, I was furious. The "mystery" part of this novel was not a mystery at all. The author leaves a bunch of red herrings to confuse and excite you. I will never pick up another book from this series again.
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The first in the Sunday Philosophy Club series featuring Isabel Dalhousie. I found this a fascinating and enjoyable read.
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