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The Sunday Philosophy Club (original 2004; edition 2005)

by Alexander McCall Smith

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2,808None2,071 (3.27)123
Member:alluvia
Title:The Sunday Philosophy Club
Authors:Alexander McCall Smith
Info:Vintage Canada (2005), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith (2004)

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  1. 20
    Death of a Snob by M. C. Beaton (carlym)
    carlym: Both are cozy mysteries set in Scotland.
  2. 00
    One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson (2810michael)
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English (88)  Italian (2)  Portuguese (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (92)
Showing 1-5 of 88 (next | show all)
Isabel Dalhousie, editor of the review of Applied Ethics, witnesses the fall of a young man from the upper balcony of a music hall in Edinburgh, Scotland. Suspicious that it wasn't an accident, she proceeds to investigate. When a friend of the victim suggests he feared something at work, she seems to have found a case of insider trading that points to several possible murderers.

The plot goes through several twists and turns plus excerpts we read excerpts from articles on moral and ethical issues that she is editing for the journal. For anyone living in Edinburgh, this would be fun to follow her movements through the city. Not up to Smith's "No.1 Ladies Detective Agency" series but still fun to read. ( )
  lamour | Apr 7, 2014 |
I've enjoyed every book that I've read authored by Alexander McCall Smith. This novel introduces Isabel Dalhousie, editor of the "Review of Applied Ethics". She's not a professional detective but appears to get involved in situations that she happens into. ( )
  kp9949 | Feb 19, 2014 |
I'm not sure that I will continue with this series. It was a sweet easy read, but I didn't get as involved as I have with McCall Smith's other books. Maybe just timing. It is typical of his writing. ( )
1 vote njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
This is the detective fast-read for [some:] intellectuals. The main character is a wealthy single woman in her late forties (?), who is a philosopher, uhm, by profession? By profession, and inclination, and humor, let's say. Not much takes place as she and a few unwilling friends fumble around to "solve" a murder that they are not sure was a murder in the first place. The appeal of the book is the constant philosophizing in the main characters head and evaluation of actions and people from the point of view of moral and ethical responsibility. Some discourses lead to serious self-reflection while others are very funny and entertaining. There are frequent references to Kant, and many other philosophers and writers, which made me miss the endless and often amusing conversations the humanities grad students would engage in "over a beer" in grad school! But if you don't like such musings, don't start many sentences every day with "It's funny how..." like me, this may not be the detective fast-read for you. It is certainly not very action packed.
I would be interested in hearing other people's opinions about the final decision that the main character makes at the end of the book, especially from a "moral philosophy" viewpoint. ( )
  bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
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.
  AhalyaLiteraryAngels | Nov 27, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 88 (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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This is for James and Marcia Childress
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Isabel Dalhousie saw the young man fall from the edge of the upper circle, from the gods.
Quotations
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:43 -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)

» see all 6 descriptions

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