Customer Reviews for

The Sunday Philosophy Club (Isabel Dalhousie Series #1)

Average Rating 3
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

A Delightful Study

If you go into this book holding certain assumptions, you'll be disappointed but if you occassionally remind yourself that this is NOT Zebra Drive, and that Ms. Dalhousie is NOT supposed to be Mma Ramotswe, you may be able to settle in and enjoy getting to know a fasci...
If you go into this book holding certain assumptions, you'll be disappointed but if you occassionally remind yourself that this is NOT Zebra Drive, and that Ms. Dalhousie is NOT supposed to be Mma Ramotswe, you may be able to settle in and enjoy getting to know a fascinating new character: not someone you're supposed to 'like' or 'approve' of or 'agree with' rather someone who is delightfully complex, a bit stuffy and upright for anyone's taste,too philosophical and hell-bent on 'ethical' to her own downfall, and in all, a great study. I highly recommend this new character and her world and would simply advise any newcomers: forget your expectations: just sit back and enjoy!

posted by Anonymous on September 15, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Not a rewarding read.

I read the African detective series and loved them so I looked with enthusiam to the new series. The Sunday Philosopy Club was slow, plodding and not really rewarding. I finished it because I kept waiting for something major to happen. It was a big disappointment. I...
I read the African detective series and loved them so I looked with enthusiam to the new series. The Sunday Philosopy Club was slow, plodding and not really rewarding. I finished it because I kept waiting for something major to happen. It was a big disappointment. I think the main point was that the main character was just plain dislikeable. A woman of the new century who did not earn my respect in the life she led. I finished it because I bought it. A sad comment.

posted by Anonymous on December 26, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2008

    A Delightful Study

    If you go into this book holding certain assumptions, you'll be disappointed but if you occassionally remind yourself that this is NOT Zebra Drive, and that Ms. Dalhousie is NOT supposed to be Mma Ramotswe, you may be able to settle in and enjoy getting to know a fascinating new character: not someone you're supposed to 'like' or 'approve' of or 'agree with' rather someone who is delightfully complex, a bit stuffy and upright for anyone's taste,too philosophical and hell-bent on 'ethical' to her own downfall, and in all, a great study. I highly recommend this new character and her world and would simply advise any newcomers: forget your expectations: just sit back and enjoy!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2012

    Alexander McCall Smith never disappoints!

    A bit deep and "philosophical" at first, but then you get to love Isabel and it pure entertainment from there on.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2011

    An intellectual mystery...

    I haven't read any of Alexander McCall Smith's books - this was my first. I really enjoyed the plot, the philosophical questions that were raised, the humanity of the main character, and the fact that I had to actually look up a few words! I consider myself to be a fairly verbal person, spending most of my job writing and reading. It was so refreshing to see some infrequently-used words in this book. It's a cozy mystery for the Mensa set. The book moved a tad slow at some points, but I'd still read more of this series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Not your typical mystery.

    To be honest I bought this book because a friend gave me the second book in the series. I figured I'd give it a whirl. This is not your typical mystery in fact there isn't much of a mystery at all. Isabel is a philosopher,most of the dialog is Isabel's thoughts. I found this to be an interesting concept. I'm not so sure how this will play out in the rest of the series it may ware thin. The other characters seem to be good supporting players - the author has left ample room for development. I'm open to reading more in this series at the very least the author has peaked an interest.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2007

    Not a rewarding read.

    I read the African detective series and loved them so I looked with enthusiam to the new series. The Sunday Philosopy Club was slow, plodding and not really rewarding. I finished it because I kept waiting for something major to happen. It was a big disappointment. I think the main point was that the main character was just plain dislikeable. A woman of the new century who did not earn my respect in the life she led. I finished it because I bought it. A sad comment.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2007

    Stick to the Detective Ramotswe series

    I so thoroughly enjoy the 'No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency'/Precious Ramotswe series that I could not understand how this book was written by the same author. The end was so absurd, unrealistic and had nothing at all to do with the perceding 200 pages. And the philospohical rantings were just so lame. I will continue to read and enjoy Detective Ramotswe but will be sure to stay clear and away from Ms. Dalhousie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2006

    horrid

    this book was so awful, it made me angry for wasting my time. the main character is condescending, patronizing and absolutely annoying. this book appears to be nothing more than a forum for the author to insert his conservative, judgemental viewpoints in the guise of isabel's inner dialogue. her repetitive and unnecessary internal philosophical debates were tedious and did nothing but make me hope i am never cursed with meeting a person such as she. the storyline was a joke, serving only as a flimsy framing excuse for mccall smith's diabtribes. i am sorry i chose to try this series before no. 1 ladies detetive agency, because now i'm not sure i'll ever pick up another of his books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2014

    A good beginning to a new series. The eerie reoccurence of Grace

    A good beginning to a new series. The eerie reoccurence of Grace is inspired, serving as a kind of shorthand for a foil to the reflective and less judgmental main characters (Dalhousie and Ramotswe). However, at times I would have liked to see a new character with an entirely different configuration. Isabel's wealth is tempered by her modesty, and that makes her more interesting to the rest of us. As for the philosophizing, yes, no, maybe; the reader can agree, argue or be puzzled as the case may be. Overall, it's not the great work of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, at least not yet.
    Mary Clark, author of Tally: An Intuitive Life

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  • Posted July 13, 2012

    Do you like red herrings? Plot twists? Unexpected revelations? D

    Do you like red herrings? Plot twists? Unexpected revelations? Do you like all the things that make mysteries fun to read? Look elsewhere. After enjoying several books in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, I found this one a big disappointment. The main character is intellectually snobbish, highly class-conscious, parochial, and self-important, and none of these traits are meant to be humorous. There's hardly any plot and very little mystery. The investigation, such as it is, is spread out over a couple of months, but could have been resolved in a single afternoon if the detective had asked the one obvious question that any reader with an ounce of sense will have thought of as soon as the victim dies. The ending lacks drama and has no emotional resonance. The subplot involving the detective's niece's romantic life is thoroughly uninteresting. The one episode involving what seems to be a bit of danger and excitement turns out to be a sort of drunken wrong turn. A few chapters end with attempts at "cliffhangers," but they are quickly revealed to be misunderstandings. This might have worked as a parody of the mystery genre but it takes itself much too seriously for that.

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  • Posted June 15, 2012

    I have just started this series, and I am enjoying every word! I

    I have just started this series, and I am enjoying every word! Isabel Dalhousie, a philosopher, resides in the very lovely city of Edinburgh. She becomes involved, albeit intentionally, in the mysterious fall of a young professional. The characters, setting, and story are a delight!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    A "so-so" book

    After falling in love with Alexander McCall Smith's Detective Agency series, this book was a huge disappointment. The plot did not hold my interest evem after readomg 1/2 of the book. Isabel's story was one that didn't make any sense whatsoever ... more of a story of a lonely woman with nothing better to do than get involved in situations that had nothing to do with her. I do not recommend this book. BORING.

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  • Posted April 9, 2011

    lost attention

    I struggled to read and was disappointed

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Disappointing

    This series most definitely does not compare to the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series. The characters seemed to be one dimensional, and not very interesting. I enjoy Alexander McCall Smith's writing, but did not at all enjoy this particular book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2006

    Lifeless

    Unfortunately, this offering is claustrphic, slow moving, and depressing. Waiting for its plot to develop is like waiting for a bus that has broken down immediately after it left the station.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2006

    Yes, This is NOT the #1 Ladies Detective Agency

    The Sunday Philosophy Club is definately not the #1 Ladies Detective Agency. It is set in a different country and with a different type of people and should not be compared to the Detective Agency. I agree with one reader that a dictionary is good to have near. I look foreward to reading the next book in this series. I have read all of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency and loved them and also 44 Scotland Street. I recomend reading each series for it's own story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2005

    fun read

    McCall Smith creates another colorful character in Isabel Dalhousie. This book was a fun, fast read and he gets a chance to show his erudition. He uses lots of interesting vocabulary and the book offers a picture of life in Edinburgh. The main character shows the same intuition about people as our Precious does in Ladies Detective Agency.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2005

    Keep a dictionary handy with this one!

    Alexander McCall Smith begins a new series with The Sunday Philosophy Club. Be advised that the story has nothing to do with ¿the club.¿ It is only but mentioned once or twice. It is, however, about Isabel Dalhousie, an early forties, single woman of independent means (as others have said) who can¿t seem to keep from getting involved in the business of others. For those who want to compare this book to The No. 1 Ladies¿ Detective Agency series, please do not. It is totally a totally different animal¿other than both protagonists are single women who are very curious about everybody and everything and who have been left the financial means (by their respective fathers) to do pretty much what they want with their lives. Isabel Dalhousie sees a young man fall to his death. She is the last person he ¿sees¿ as he plummets past her in Usher Hall during an evening concert break. Isabel ponders the why of the tragic event and this leads her to some assumptions and a certain amount of intrigue until she eventually finds out what really happened. Isabel has a niece named Cat (lots of Cats around these days, it seems) who she loves as a daughter. A subplot in this book surrounds Isabel¿s dislike of Cat¿s current boyfriend, Toby. She much prefers old boyfriend, Jamie. She sticks her nose in this business as well and the results are¿well, you¿ll find out. This book is not a light read. It is full of Isabel¿s philosophical musings, particularly having to do with ethics. After all, she is the editor of Edinburgh¿s highly esteemed Review of Applied Ethics and, as such, spends a great deal of time reading papers presented to her for inclusion in the review. She often takes off on her own thoughts about the subject at hand. Some may find this ponderous and a bit abstruse (yes, there are lots of words like this in TSPC). Read it for what it is and keep a dictionary handy. While Isabel has some of Precious Ramotswe¿s fine characteristics as a person, this book is NOT The No. 1 Ladies¿ Detective Agency, Scottish edition! Carolyn Rowe Hill

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2005

    This is NOT the #1 Ladies Detective Agency!

    I so enjoyed listening to the Ladies Detective Agency series on CD -- that I listed to the The Sunday Philosophy Club on CD also, expecting a similar fun journey -- unfortunately, it is painful to listen to this book -- it jumps from topic to topic. While there is a thin thread throughout the story that connects most of the topics, it is too thin. At the end, I felt my time had been wasted.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2005

    disappointing

    I was really looking forward to reading this. I expected it to be as well written and delightful as the #1 Ladies Detective Agency books. It is dull and has none of the charm that the Precious books have. Unlikeable character, difficult to even finish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2005

    The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCaul Smith

    I wasn¿t sure I was going to like this book, I had chosen it thinking it was another in the series of The Ladies Detective Agency. The main character is a Scottish philosopher and of course a mystery is involved. The characters were likeable, the story line was engaging, but I was only mildly interested in the philosophy angle. All in all, the book was an enjoyable read and I would read another in the series.

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