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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
The ever-inquisitive ethicist Isabel Dalhousie is back, in Alexander McCall Smith's second installment of his wildly popular Sunday Philosophy Club saga -- this time struggling with two very different moral dilemmas of the heart.
While Isabel is managing the upscale delicatessen of her niece (who is away in Italy attending a wedding), her good friend Jamie, a handsome classical musician 15 years her junior, reveals that he is having an affair with a married woman. Isabel, the general editor of the prestigious Review of Applied Ethics, is faced with a quandary: How should she support Jamie, a beloved friend who until recently was completely enamored of Isabel's niece? While Isabel is contemplating the ethics of love and friendship, she meets a man at the deli: a clinical psychologist named Ian, who has just receieved a heart transplant. When Ian tells Isabel about strange sensations he has been having since the operation -- particularly nightmarish images of a stranger's face -- Isabel vows to figure out if the visions are in fact murderous memories somehow connected to the donor's heart. Both problems involve "echoes of ownership that persist well after we lose possession."
Set in Smith's hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland, the meandering and deeply reflective plotlines of Friends, Lovers, Chocolate cover a multitude of intriguing moral issues, including the obligations of true friendship, the theoretical survival of consciousness, cultural identity, the importance (or lack thereof) of personal hygiene, the pitfalls of chocolate, and even the ethics of the buffet bar! Paul Goat Allen