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The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander…

The Sunday Philosophy Club (original 2004; edition 2005)

by Alexander McCall Smith

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3,0331021,874 (3.26)130
Title:The Sunday Philosophy Club
Authors:Alexander McCall Smith
Info:Vintage Canada (2005), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith (2004)

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English (97)  Italian (2)  Portuguese (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (101)
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
Isabel Dalhousie is this author's latest "detective." But really, in this series debut, she is just a curious spinster in Edinburgh who gets involved in the questionable death of a young man. Uneven plotting. Unsatisfactory ending. I'll give the series one more try before I pass final judgment. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 10, 2016 |
Alexander McCall Smith is fantastic. I have enjoyed everything I've read of his so far... I think another in this series is due. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Feb 2, 2016 |
Isabel Dalhousie is about to go home after a concert when she witnesses something terrible. It preys on her mind, and she begins making investigations in a low-key way. She's a philosopher - although the 'Sunday Philosophy Club' of the title is only mentioned in passing throughout the novel - and intrigued by people, and motivations, and a whiff of scandal.

I found the book a bit long-winded in places, prone to digression; but nonetheless enjoyable. There are some mildly amusing moments, and also a few pages that kept me in suspense. I rather warmed to Isabel and her no-nonsense housekeeper Grace, and despite the plethora of minor characters, didn't have too much trouble remembering who was who. I may look for more books in this series in future. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
First one of the series. A bit slow off the mark and a bit pretentious in my opinion. Took quite awhile to get into it. Still not sure if I liked it or not. I did like Dalhousie's old fashioned sensibilities in the current age... ( )
  lhaines56 | Dec 29, 2015 |
I have been looking for this book for quite a bit, so when I found it for a next to nothing at the library book sale, I was thrilled.

Here is my history with this author...don't worry it isn't a very long history. I read No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency a few years ago and was disappointed, but not entirely. I had expected a more of a mystery. Here are some snippets from what I wrote about it.

-----I am glad that I finally set about reading this book, though it wasn't at all what I expected. For all its popularity, I had expected something a bit more gripping and powerful, while it is really more a slight entertainment that falls more-or-less in the mystery category.

The book's cover boasts a quotation from the The Plain Dealer which reads, "One of the best, most charming, honest, hilarious and life affirming books in years." This seems to be vaunting praise for a book that I found really nothing more than a light entertainment. The truest of those pronouncements would be "charming." It is indeed a charming book. As for "hilarious," the humor of this book never approached hilarity.

What one should not expect from this book is a brain teasing puzzle of a mystery. The little mysteries to be solved here are for the most part rather quiet and predictable affairs.
All in all, I enjoyed the book for its fine portrait of Precious and its wonderful depiction of Botswana life. I will probably read the others in the series, but will go into them with more of an expectation of Miss Read or Thirkell quality and feel rather than Sayer." -------

Full entry here: http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/3241174/J_5038044

Well, much of what I said about it can be said of The Sunday Philosophy Club, though I don't think the sense of place was as well drawn as in the African book. As with that book, I would say that for the most part SPC had a certain charm. However, there was too much dithering about philosophy. Now mind you, I taught philosophy for years, so I can dither about philosophy with the best...but not while telling a mystery story. Light touches of the philosophy would have suited me better. Instead there were far too many times were I mentally rolled my eyes and said, "oh get on with it." As for the mystery aspect, well, there isn't much of one and its solution is..won't say, too much of a spoiler.

Want a mystery, read Elizabeth George or Dorothy L. Sayers. Want a light comedy of Scottish manners, this might be the book for me. I may possibly be willing to read another in the series.

( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
Her penchant for conducting moral arguments with herself is well-developed, but it can be less than riveting for the reader. Why does Isabel find herself drawn into the affairs of others? Is it because there is some moral imperative leading her to do so? Is it because man has an obligation to his fellow man? (Or is it because ladies who like to investigate crimes can be ladies who sell many, many books?)

...this book is a clear demonstration of Mr. McCall Smith's own philosophy: that there is wisdom in inviting readers into a world of kindness, gentility and creature comforts. Offer the literary equivalent of herbal tea and a cozy fire. They'll come back for more.
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Isabel Dalhousie saw the young man fall from the edge of the upper circle, from the gods.
Pickled onions had nothing to do with moral imagination, but were important in their own quiet, vinegary way, supposed Isabel.
When the beautiful died, it was the same as when the less well blessed died; that was obvious. But why did it seem more tragic that Rupert Brooke, or Byron for that matter, should die, than other young men? Perhaps it was because we love the beautiful more, or because Death's momentary victory is all the greater. Nobody, he says, smiling, is too beautiful not to be taken by me.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0349118698, Paperback)

Amateur sleuth Isabel Dalhousie is a philosopher who also uses her training to solve unusual mysteries. Isabel is Editor of the Review of Applied Ethics - which addresses such questions as 'Truth telling in sexual relationships' - and she also hosts The Sunday Philosophy Club at her house in Edinburgh. Behind the city's Georgian facades its moral compasses are spinning with greed, dishonesty and murderous intent. Instinct tells Isabel that the young man who tumbled to his death in front of her eyes at a concert in the Usher Hall didn't fall. He was pushed. With Isabel Dalhousie Alexander McCall Smith introduces a new and pneumatic female sleuth to tackle murder, mayhem - and the mysteries of life. As her hero WH Auden maintained, classic detective fiction stems from a desire for an uncorrupted Eden which the detective, as an agent of God, can return to us. But then Isabel, being a philosopher, has a thing or two to say about God as well.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:17 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Amateur sleuth Isabel Dalhousie is a philosopher who also uses her training to solve unusual mysteries. Instinct tells Isabel that the young man who tumbled to his death in front of her eyes at a concert in the Usher Hall didn't fall - he was pushed.

(summary from another edition)

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