60 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful
Patricia S. reviewed The Sunday Philosophy Club (Isabel Dalhousie, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 6
I ADORE the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by this author. This series, however, is slow and pendantic and self-rightous. it is as if he is trying to be "intellectual". This has none of the joy or lightheartedness of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency books.
I'll post it anyway. Someone might want to read it. Don't know why....
I'm a little more than halfway through this book as I started writing this review. The pages so far have been like stone...very hard to turn. I started reading this series because I loved the writer's style in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective series which I found to be rich and eloquent. This, however, I find flat and verbose. - like poorly a cooked pot roast in thin gravy - very hard to chew and swallow. Isabel Dalhouse is no Mme Precious Ramotswe; in fact, every character so far is dull and uninteresting; the setting is uninteresting; there is nothing to like or dislike about the people or the place. Whereas Mme Ramotswe’s -ruminations were honey filled pears of wisdom, Isabel's musings - the fluff filler of the book - were wordy and academic which translate as boring and pretentious. The thoughts seem detached from the character as if it is the writer's own musings (which of course it is) and not the character's ( which is what the writer should make us believe).
Well, I did finish the book, just because I forced myself to do so, and it did not get any easier or enjoyable.
I did not enjoy this one from McCall Smith quite as much as the "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" novels; there is a certain amount of philosophical meanderings, which somehow detract from the detective aspect. However, it is a very readable mystery story, set in Scotland.
It took me few false starts to read the NO 1 Ladies Detective agency. For that reason, I decided to approach this book the same way, that it may take me time to GET the book and the speech patterns. This is a good book if you can accept it for what it is and for what it is not. It is not the NO 1 Ladies Detective Agency. It should not be expected to be that book or that character just because it is the same author. It is a great story that asks some Philosophical question throughout since the Main character is a Philosophy editor. As Americans, we may find some of the content unfamiliar. He isnt writting Fluff. He uses big SAT words. I found it thought provoking, useful, and entertaining. I am looking forward to reading the next book.
What can I say..either you are a McCall Smith fan or you aren't. I am.Isabel Dalhousie is the Edinburgh version of MMa Ramotswe in Botswana.She has maybe just a touch of Stephanie Plum thrown in There are now 2 more books in this series, which I do not have..."Friends,Lovers, Chocolate" and "The Right Attitude to Rain."
With all of the No.1 Detective Agency fans I thought this book would be long gone!
This is the first in the Isabel Dalhousie series, by the author of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, Alexander McCall Smith. The novel is set in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has a lot of cultural references. If you like The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency stories, you will probably like this, too.
Behind Edinburgh's regimented Georgian facades, its moral compasses are spinning with greed, dishonesty, lust and murderous intent. Isabel Dalhousie knows this. Isabel, in fact, rather relishes it. An accomplished philosopher and editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, she knows all about the difference between good and bad. Which is probably why, by instinct, she is an amateur sleuth. And instinct tells her the man who tumbled to his death in front of her eyes after a concert in the Usher Hall didn't fall - he was pushed.
The Sunday Philosophy Club marks new territory, but familiar moral ground, from the author of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. With Isabel, Alexander McCall Smith introduces a new and waspish female sleuth to tackle murder, mayhem - and the mysteries of life.
I tend to like books that give you a view of other countries up close and personal, so I liked the setting of Edinburgh, Scotland. Isabel Dalhousie loves her city. She is trained as a philosopher and due to inherited wealth does not have to work. She is active in the international philosophy community, and the book brings up many questions. Frankly, I never knew what a philosopher did, and I found it interesting.
Isabel Dalhousie, an editor for a philosophical journal called the Review of Applied Ethics, witnesses a terrible accident when a man falls to his death at a concert she is attending. Unable to get the accident out of her mind, Isabel finds herself searching for answers and in the process discovers more than she bargained for.
This novel, by the author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, is a mystery of sorts. Isabel makes for an interesting protagonist as she halfheartedly attempts to solve a murder while pondering ethical dilemmas on everything from littering to proper manners. Her thought processes make the book seem rambly and disjointed. I thought the book was hard to follow and often found my own mind wandering as I read.
However, there were some interesting characters in the book (though not particularly well-developed). Isabel's niece, Cat, continuously finds herself falling in love with the wrong man. Her intuitive housekeeper, Grace, makes snap judgements of people immediately after meeting them and is usually correct. Isabel's friend, Jamie, plays the bassoon and only reluctantly helps her search out what happened to cause the man at the concert to plummet to his death. Despite the characters, I think the book lacked focus and wasn't very interesting. If you decide to read a book by Alexander McCall Smith, it would be better to start with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. It's much better.
I am a big fan of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, so thought I'd enjoy this series as well. It's heavily laced with discussions of philosophy and the characters are not nearly as endearing or interesting. I won't be reading any more of this series.
I had high hopes for this book, I love a mystery, but I found it starting off much more slowly than I thought it would. Although the mysterious death occurs in the very first paragraph, it takes quite a bit of time for the investigation to start, and I hate to admit that Im a little impatient for that!
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The first in an Isabel Dalhousie mystery series. Well read. Alexander McCall Smith's writing is for those of us who enjoy character as it is revealed through the minutia of daily life. There is humor and a mystery - but no real action and adventure. A cozy.
Isabel Dalhousie is a philospher by training, and an amateur sleuth by choice. When a young man falls from a balcony to his death, Isabel's curiousity is aroused. She does not believe the fall was an accident, and she is determined to root out the truth. With a little help from some friends, Isabel plunges deep into the shady business community of Edinburgh to find some answers. I love Alexander McCall Smith's "The No. 1 Ladies Detective" series so I anticipated this series to be of the same caliber. It wasn't. It didn't have a central character I could identify with (The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" central character, "Precious Ramotswe, Botswana detective that is traditionally built" is someone I have much in common and would love to live next door to and have tea with even though she is a far cry from my own Eastern European roots, Midwest born and raised, lived in remote areas of developing countries, and finally settling in the Old South to raise my family).
Stylish but basically unsatisfying cozy about a Scotswoman of a certain age whose inherent curiosity and concern for philosophical morality leads her to investigate the death of a young man who fell from a high balcony at a concert she was attending.
I tried and tried to like this book as I know 3 others who really liked it. I was so bored that I was on the second disk and realized that I had to go back to halfway through the first because I didn't know what was going on. Well, nothing was. She made a risotto. That's it. I listened to 2 disks of talk talk talk then quit.
Isabell Dalhousie is a middle-aged single woman of independent means living in Edinburgh, Scotland. She's highly educated, and is currently the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics. At the beginning of the story, Isabel is attending the opera with a friend, when she just happens to see a man fall from the gods (the gods are the uppermost tier of seats at a Scottish auditorium). Although the authorities determine that the fall is an accident, Isabel isn't quite sure of that, and she determines to try to find out what might have really happened.
The first half of the book was a frustratingly slow read for me, as there was very little movement forward on the mystery. Instead, it was full of what some might call character building - learning about Isabel's niece Cat, Cat's current boyfriend (whom Isabel doesn't like), Cat's old boyfriend Jaime (who is still one of Isabel's best friends), and Isabel's frequent - really frequent - musings on philosophy, art and literature. If you are going to read this book, it helps to keep a dictionary or encyclopedia handy, so you can look up the many philosophers, artists and authors.
The story, action and mystery did pick up in the second half of the book, thankfully. And I did appreciate the twist in the ending.
The Sunday Plhilosophy Club is probably the coziest mystery that I've ever read. Lots of thinking - little action, little suspense. The mystery is weak, and I would say this book is more about the characters. However, I would only give the character development in this book a C. Mma Ramotswe of the #1 Detective Agency Books is a character that I find it much easier to warm up to than Isabel Dalhousie. So personally I'll be sticking with Mma Ramotswe's books
I thought since I enjoyed this author's books about Africa and the Ladies Detective Agency, that i would like his other books. Not so with this one. the author's style is totally different. He loses himself in the musings of his main character who majored in philosophy. Maybe if you like philosophy you would like this book. i mostly skipped through the musings to get to the plot, which was mildly interesting.
Since everyone has different tastes, perhaps you will like this book I did not.
This book is a delightful and fun to read book. Alexander McCall Smith captures the warmth of Edinburg and its people. Isabel Dalhousie is a talented philosopher who manages to solves mysteries as they come her way. A wonderful mystery book to read!
The first book in a new series by Ladies Detective Agency author. I really liked the main Character, Isabel Dalhousie. She is another unique character, a Scottish single, independently wealthy, who has a great circle of friends and lives an intellectual life but is really likable. If you like Ladies Detective agency try this for another fun, yet well written read.
This is the first book I've read by Alexander Smith, so have nothing to compare it to. But I wondered all the way through if and when The Sunday Philosophy Club was going to meet. Did I miss something? Since this book is the first of a series, I thought there would be some background information, but kept thinking other members of the "club" would appear sooner or later. Overall, the book was enjoyable and I would be willing to get to know Isabel better. Maybe the next book will answer some of my questions.
I read this book a long time ago. Recently I decided to listen to the book. I found at the beginning the readers voice to be annoying. I got used to her, and decided that I much preferred to hear this book, than to read it myself. Much of the subject matter can be deep, based on philosophy and ethics. Hearing it made it less dry.
When I got to the end when, one finds out who the murder is, I remembered why I didnt continue with the series, when I read it. But alas, I did get book 2 on audio, because I do think I will enjoy hearing what happens next.
Alexander McCall Smith has a wonderfully subtle sense of humor that shines in every one of this stories. This particular book starts the beginning of the adventures of Isabel Dalhousie, an inquisitive British lady who likes to stick her nose in places where she is advised by her friends not to put it.
The narrator for this book was wonderfully authentic with her strong Scottish accent, but as a result was sometimes difficult to understand. The book is quite boring; I won't bother with others in this series. We learn nothing about the members of the Sunday Philosophy Club and they hold no meetings in this novel so why the title? The ending was abrupt and odd. Stick with Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series - much more entertaining.
Isabel Dalhousie is a new sleuth to me. She witnessed an "accident at a theater when a man fell over the balcony and died. She belongs to a Philosphy club and is frequently philosophical in her dialogue.
This is now the 3rd book by this author I've read and I just don't like his writing, if you have liked his other books then you'll probably like this one. I found myself flipping through so many of the pages trying to get to an interesting part. Drags on in many parts, too many wordy wanderings off of the storyline (hence the flipping), after two Dalhousie books I could really care less about her.
I fell for the hype of this author and after reading the three books I really don't understand what is so great about these books, I've always been fair and read pretty much anything but never another one of his books.
3rd time not the charm in his case...........
The first in the series by McCall Smith featuring Isabel Dalhousie, of Edinburgh (depicted lovingly by one of its most famous citizens), the editor of a journal on ethics, which leads to many thoughtful digressions on her inconvenient habit of getting involved in other people's business, especially when murder is concerned. Like Smith's other beloved female sleuth, Precious Ramotswe, Isabel is an intelligent, caring, and given to gently humorous musings. Assisting in carrying the plot along are her niece, Cat, and Cat's former boyfriend Jamie, who has become Isabel's closest friend. And of course sensible housekeeper Grace offers her own advice as well. In this case, Isabel witnesses the death of a young man who falls from the balcony of a concert hall, and feels morally responsible to investigate the circumstances.
Murder and moral obligation mingle in this whimsical new series from the author of the smash hit The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. McCall Smith's new heroine is Scottish-American philosopher Isabel Dalhousie, a single woman of independent means who edits the esteemed Review of Applied Ethics and presides over the titular club. When Isabel witnesses fund manager Mark Fraser fall from a balcony after a performance at an Edinburgh concert hall, she feels obliged to investigate the gentleman's demise. "I was the last person that young man saw," Dalhousie tells her beloved niece, Cat. "The last person. And don't you think that the last person you see on this earth owes you something?" Given her affinity for applied ethics, questions of conscience are a daily concern for Isabel, and the more she thinks about Fraser's fall, the less accidental it seems. Among those who might have pushed him: his shifty roommate, his colleague's scheming spouse and a disgruntled broker with a craving for cash. Fans of Botswanan heroine Precious Ramotswe are sure to embrace Scotsman McCall Smith's plucky new protagonist, who leads a cast of delightfully quirky characters that includes Toby, a dapper bachelor with a dubious understanding of fidelity, and Grace, Dalhousie's morally upright housekeeper, who sizes up society's reprobates in two syllables or less. Scotland's climate may be misty and cool, but McCall Smith's charming prose warms every page of this winning series debut. --Amazon.com