The Sunday Philosophy Club

The Sunday Philosophy Club Filled With Thorny Characters And A Scottish Atmosphere As Thick As A Highland Mist, The Sunday Philosophy Club Is Irresistible, And Isabel Dalhousie Is The Most Delightful Literary Sleuth Since Precious RamotsweWith The Sunday Philosophy Club, Alexander McCall Smith, The Author Of The Best Selling And Beloved NoLadies Detective Agency Novels, Begins A Wonderful New Series Starring The Irrepressibly Curious Isabel DalhousieIsabel Is Fond Of Problems, And Sometimes She Becomes Interested In Problems That Are, Quite Frankly, None Of Her Business This May Be The Case When Isabel Sees A Young Man Plunge To His Death From The Upper Circle Of A Concert Hall In Edinburgh Despite The Advice Of Her Housekeeper, Grace, Who Has Been Raised In The Values Of Traditional Edinburgh, And Her Niece, Cat, Who, If You Ask Isabel, Is Dating The Wrong Man, Isabel Is Determined To Find The Truth If Indeed There Is One Behind The Man S Death The Resulting Moral Labyrinth Might Have Stymied Even Kant And Then There Is The Unsatisfactory Turn Of Events In Cat S Love Life That Must Be Attended ToFilled With Thorny Characters And A Scottish Atmosphere As Thick As A Highland Mist, The Sunday Philosophy Club Is Irresistible, And Isabel Dalhousie Is The Most Delightful Literary Sleuth Since Precious Ramotswe, on

✸ The Sunday Philosophy Club  Books ⚦ Author Alexander McCall Smith –
  • Paperback
  • 272 pages
  • The Sunday Philosophy Club
  • Alexander McCall Smith
  • English
  • 02 February 2017
  • 9781400077090

10 thoughts on “The Sunday Philosophy Club

  1. says:

    This is a quick and likeable read that is mildly engaging It is the first of the philosopher Isabel Dalhousie series set in Edinburgh She edits a philosophy journal on applied ethics and ponders on the ethics and morality on the minutae of life Upon seeing a man fall from a balcony at Usher Hall, she wonders if its just a case of being unlucky or murder She settles on murder and delves into the mystery which gives rise to numerous ethical issues She is aided by her wise and able housekeeper, Grace We have Cat, her niece and Jamie, who Isabel feels Cat should have married I have to say I much preferred the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency series Nevertheless an okay read Thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.

  2. says:

    I was just telling a friend that I rarely leave two star reviews, but this is one of them I probably wouldn t have read the entire book Davina Porter s usual terrific narration notwithstanding , except for the resolution of the mystery presented at the outset to avoid a spoiler, I ll leave it that Smith handles that aspect well in terms of a surprise.What isn t handled so well are the characters there wasn t a single one I care to hear about enough to read the second book in this series The protagonist Isabel seemed considerably older than 42 to me her editorship of an obscure journal seemed of a make work project than anything else basically, she s independently wealthy, which isn t a bad thing, but she seems to live vicariously through others, when not obsessing over details Her niece Cat struck me as rather a spoiled brat sorry, but there it is Grace, the housekeeper, is wise , which is compensation I suppose for being neither rich nor very good looking, as with every other character in the story The beautiful Jamie struck me as a wimp over, Isabel and Grace s focus on how hot he is struck me as a tad unseemly I wouldn t have liked seeing male characters doing so either Another reviewer stated that she felt Smith s women struck her as being written by a man, who thinks he knows how women think, but doesn t quite get it paraphrased I ve never been a woman myself, but I think that person may have been onto something.The story is cozily, quaintly character driven in a similar manner to the No 1 Ladies Detective series, but lacks the spark of those tales Perhaps the difference can be explained that Mma s Ramotswe and Makutsi the latter especially have made something of their lives, without having it handed to them, unlike Isabel and Cat So I wasn t sorry I read the book, but can t recommend it with any enthusiasm.

  3. says:

    To be honest, I d have to call this series a guilty pleasure The plotlines don t always ring true to life, although I ve never been a wealthy philosopher living in Scotland, with a major crush on my niece s ex boyfriend, a bassoon player who s at least a decade younger than me I m not as intellectual as Isabel, or as nosy, but I happen to love anyone who ponders the bigger moral questions in life, and who loves a crossword puzzle and a cup of freshly brewed coffee So there you have it Although I wasn t as convincingly hooked on this series as other books by the same author, I couldn t put it down The ending was a bit of a disappointment, but I was still eager for the next installment.

  4. says:

    Alexander McCall Smith is best known for his No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, of which I am a fan He has another series featuring Isabel Dalhousie, a cultured and wealthy Scottish lady and I use the term advisedly , which sounds far like my usual preference than a genial African woman So I began the first book in the Dalhousie series, The Sunday Philosophy Club, with great anticipation.Alas, my hopes foundered It started off well enough Isabel sees a man fall past her, from the top level of the concert hall to his death on the lowest level Stricken, she cannot leave it alone, and soon discovered that he had an excellent head for heights, a happy and forward looking disposition, and a reason to fear for his safety Isabel reluctantly decides she has a moral obligation to solve the mystery of his death.With such a promising start, it wasn t until about halfway through the book that I realized I was getting bored to death Isabel s penchant for philosophy results in an unfortunate tendency to ramble on about all manner of moral dilemmas or other philosophical ephemera Sometimes this actually propels her to action, but not enough action to justify following her constant existential posturing.And another thing there were far too many dead ends in the first half of the book The police inspector, sporting a navy windbreaker and a forbidding expression, promised to be an excellent competitor or co conspirator for the amateur Isabel, but his cameo was too brief Likewise, the smarmy journalist threatened to create a world of trouble for our hapless heroine, but he didn t Instead, we become acquainted with Isabel s niece Cat, Cat s boyfriend Toby, Cat s ex Jamie, and Grace the maid And Hen and Neil, who were the deceased s roommates None of them are particularly interesting, and nothing much happened before I finally gave up and read the end Which was quite a let down, in keeping with the first half of the book.So I give McCall Smith points for consistency, but that s it I cannot recommend The Sunday Philosophy Club Just writing about it makes me sleepy.

  5. says:

    I didn t think I would like this series as I compared Isabel to Precious from the author s other series The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency The contrasts were obvious Isabel Dalhousie is a very different heroine from Precious Where Precious was a gentle, simple soul Isabel is a complex creature Precious accepts life as it is and Isabel wonders why As time went on, I grew fond of Isabel She is just as fascinating a creature as Precious once you understand her.Once again the mysteries are not the focus They are a side plot The real story is that of Isabel, an educated middle aged woman living in Edinburg Scotland It gives us an intimate portrait of the city and of Isabel s life, her friends and her interests all the while the author delves into the philosophy side of Isabella mind She wonders about everything in life and goes to great lengths to unravel the mysteries of human behavior Some readers get bogged down at those points but I found they were basically the same questions I had been asking most of my life and it was interesting to read someone else s conclusions.One thing I liked was there was a BELIEVABLE story of a romance between an older woman and a much younger man There was no angst or dramait was the normal unfolding of a normal love story It was refreshing to read.Once again I m not going to review all the books in this series I do not recommend them to everyone These are cozies but cozies that make you think They may or may not leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling.

  6. says:

    I wasn t crazy about the narrator She s too airy to narrate a whodunit The protagonist, Isabel Dalhousie, is the editor of an ethics magazine and the asides about ethics and philosophy are as dry as they sound the ethical quandaries she finds herself in aren t engaging And she needs a flaw committing ethical hypocrisy, farting in an elevator, something It s no wonder she can t get the Sunday Philosophy Club together because she s so boring Why is that the name of the book when they never actually meet And I hated the ending Huge disappointment This book does get points for giving my a nightmare because I fell asleep reading the one mildly scary part I rated it okay because I did finish it and I liked living vicariously through the attractive, independently wealthy niece who runs her own cheese shop and loves the wrong men.

  7. says:

    As with most of Alexander McCall Smiths books, the plot is only half the story This series is about Isabelle Dalhousie, an educated middle aged woman living in Edinburgh, Scotland She reviews magazine articles for a Philosophy of Ethics journal and is a member of the Sunday Philosophy club if and when it meets We not only get a picture of her comfortable life, but a treatise on the ethical dilemmas of everyday life I found the ethical delemmas to be extremely interesting When I was in college, our Methods of Education teacher took a class to Northern Virginia to visit some of the classes we would be doing our practice teaching in In the course of the trip all of the students of one particular Philosoply of Education class with a very poor teacher said that the class was about the most useless class we had ever taken Our Methods teacher told us that this was the most important class we could take It was the basis on which we would make all of our decisions about the way we taught He then proceeded to teach all we should have learned in the class we were enrolled in.I felt like this book was just like that trip One of the problem of today is that too many people have no philosophy of life We may say we value our friends, but choose to watch television instead of being with them We say we value our children, but we are spending less than 2 hours of conversation a week with themyou could go on forever Many of the things we say we value are in direct conflict with other things we value.Isabelle s ruminations about what we own the people whose lives cross ours really made me stop and think She is the last person a man saw when he fell from a balcony at the Opera house She is haunted by the gaze and wants to find out why he either jumped, fell or was pushed from the balcony Her applied ethics makes her question what her role in his death should be That is just one dilemma in the book I found myself constantly being challenged by her ethics in fear and trembling.

  8. says:

    I enjoyed The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, so when a member of my library book club proposed this, another series by the same author, this time headed by a Scottish Mma Precious Ramotswe, I figured it was bound to be enjoyable Ha Isabel Dalhousie wins the trophy for the most unappealing protagonist I ve encountered in quite a while, and my recent reading has included Shakespeare s Titus Andronicus and Richard III, so that s saying something Okay, maybe she s not quite as bad as Titus and Richard Still, between her constant pontificating on good taste in concert music, wine, paintings, newspapers, trousers, cities, coffee, etc and manners how to answer the phone, how to dress, etc and her habit of spying, eavesdropping, and lusting after her niece s ex boyfriend, who is young enough to be her son, she is pretty repellant Ceaselessly judgmental of the people she encounters, Isabel s wry recognitions of her own hypocrisies are not even close to enough to render them charming, or even tolerable I first mentally threw this across the room at about the halfway mark, when Isabel started fantasizing about becoming her niece s ex s sexual mentor Eeew Just eeew I suppose it s meant to be ironic that a woman who is endlessly speculating on the ethical ramifications of everything is, at the same time, indulging in fantasies about the deaths of those who annoy her and lurid sexual fantasies about a young man she pretends to have a motherly interest in If so, it didn t work for me Isabel s endless self pity about being dumped by her college sweetheart who clearly was a toad, but at least he was astute enough to get clear of her is annoying and, given that the breakup must have happened around twenty years before the action in our story, her obsession makes her seem pathetically maladjusted And not in an attractive way As if the whining, judging, and condescension weren t enough, Isabel is constantly observing that things just aren t the way they used to be kids today I couldn t decide if this was meant to make her seem prematurely world weary she is supposed to be in her mid forties or just to bolster her holier than thou aspect, but it certainly contributed to her unattractiveness Improbably, the other characters in the book regard Isabel with an admiration which does explain her inflated sense of importance and entitlement, but the author never gives us convincing grounds for their reverence At one point, Isabel is visiting a financier friend and, in the course of the conversation, uses the phrase quick and dead Peter reflected on her turn of phrase Who still spoke of the quick and the dead Most people had lost that understanding of quick and would look blank if they heard it Really I m pretty sure that any regular churchgoers would recognize the expression, as would most educated people But this, like her endless mentions of Auden and Kant, is, I presume, supposed to establish her as some sort of intellectual giant Maybe Actually, given the fine job he did with the characters in No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, I have a hard time accepting that Smith created such a pretentious, self absorbed, silly protagonist accidentally, but the why of such a character never became clear to me.The mystery here, which was secondary, if that, to Isabel s intriguing in the life of her niece, was never developed beyond the most cursory sketch The author did provide a surprisingly satisfactory resolution at the last minute, though, which bought the book a star, raising it to two Not recommended.

  9. says:

    With all due respect to McCall Smith s fans, I couldn t stand this book I m sure there are many folks out there who loved it it was, after all, a national bestseller but I found it much too British upper class for my taste The book, for a cheap little large ish print paperback mystery, is way too heady and intellectual for what, to me, looks like a beach book Ninety percent of the book was taken up by this woman s philosophical ramblings over why she is or isn t in love with her niece s ex, who s twenty years her junior The actual club to which the title refers, if you were wondering, never meets and I doubt even exists It seems to be nothing than the author s way of posing questions get pondered about for several pages but that never get answered Some of the accolades for the book referred to the scenery Frankly, I just didn t get that much of an image of Scotland, other than that it had different regions and each of these regions were better than the rest in their own condescending little ways Forget about the attitudes towards the Brits and the Irish The book only became a mystery in the last 3 chapters about the last 20 pages I don t mind not having a dead body thrown at me every other page, but I would like a slight thrill now and then to keep the story line interesting Most authors nowadays stick to the formula for mystery novels, which, if you re looking for a good, easy summer read like I was, is welcome, even if it s overdone Some, like The Club Dumas breaks form entirely, but still keeps you on your toes This book breaks from the form of the standard mystery novel to delve into the boring end of a philosophy class If you want philosophy, read the old masters or form your own club to discuss things If you re looking for a light mystery, go for Janet Evanovich or Penny Warner or any of the other scores of authors out there.

  10. says:

    While I love Alexander McCall Smith s Ladies Detective Agency Series, I was less into this book He follows a similar pattern and writing style in that he focuses on the characters, with the mystery being secondary The problem is that I found the characters mildly interesting, and the solution to the mystery somewhat boring Also, I felt the title had little to nothing to do with the book, other than a mention of the Sunday Philosophy Club With Mma Ramotswe, I was fascinated from the first chapter of the first book The mysteries are unique and are solved in funny and sweet ways and it s easy to see why Mma Ramotswe gets involved she does, after all, run a detective agency With Isabel Dalhousie, it felt as though she was intruding on other people s lives and interfering I did enjoy it because of the writing I will probably read the rest of the series, but I sorry that I didn t fall in love with the characters and the story the way I did The Ladies No 1 Detective Agency.

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