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Friends, Lovers, Chocolate: An Isabel Dalhousie Mystery Audio CD – Unabridged, September 20, 2005

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Friends, Lovers, Chocolate: An Isabel Dalhousie Mystery + The Sunday Philosophy Club:  An Isabel Dalhousie Mystery + The Careful Use of Compliments (Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The second installment of McCall Smith's Sunday Philosophy Club series sports a charmingly meandering plot and winningly hyperverbal characters—no surprise to fans of Isabel Dalhousie's debut, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, or any of McCall Smith's 50-plus titles. Once again, Edinburgh's Dalhousie, intrepid editor of a philosophy journal, finds herself analyzing other people's problems when asked to fill in for her niece Cat, at Cat's gourmet food shop-cum-delicatessen. At the shop, Isabel meets Ian, who is haunted by visions of a man he comes to believe must be the murdered donor of his transplanted heart. As McCall Smith lovingly takes Isabel sleuthing across Edinburgh, the donor's stepfather (a man Ian has never seen) turns out to look much like the man of Ian's nightmares. Meanwhile, Cat's romantic rejects find their way, via the shop, into Isabel's social set, including former major beau Jamie, a classical musician who, though 15 years younger, becomes Isabel's confidant. A delicious mix of the unlikely and the tried-and-true, this latest cozy from an undisputed master will make readers feel just that.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Isabel Dalhousie, the charming and well-intentioned editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, is back. She does not actively seek out trouble, but her inability to ignore those in need has a way of drawing her into peculiar situations. Her adventure begins when she meets Ian, who has recently had a heart transplant and is disturbed by a menacing face that keeps appearing in his memories; he and Isabel wonder whether there is any credence to the theory of cellular memory, and whether Ian could be recalling the person who was responsible for his donor's death. In much the same way that The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series opens a door to the dusty roads of Botswana, this one allows readers to experience the long, sunny days of a Scottish summer. The history and charm of Edinburgh are apparent in the detailed descriptions of the cobblestoned streets Isabel walks as she contemplates philosophical questions and attempts to make sense of Ian's issues as well as her own sudden romantic interest in a much younger friend and recent fiancé of her niece. The characters and plots are thoughtful and thought-provoking, and will stay with readers well beyond the final page.–Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD: 7 pages
  • Publisher: Recorded Books (September 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419343297
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419343292
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,506,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith was born in what is now Zimbabwe and taught law at the University of Botswana. He is now Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. He has written more than fifty books, including a number of specialist titles, but is best known for The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which has achieved bestseller status on four continents. In 2004 he was awarded British Book Awards Author of the Year and Booksellers Association Author of the Year. He lives in Scotland, where in his spare time he is a bassoonist in the RTO (Really Terrible Orchestra).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Rowe Hill on October 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Isabel Dalhousie, philosopher and editor of Edinburgh's highly esteemed Review of Applied Ethics, is a single woman in her early forties (of independent means), whose sense of duty and moral obligation to her fellow man keeps her busy pondering what the right thing to do is in almost every aspect of life. These musings cause her to get involved in the lives of others, sometimes finding it necessary later to apologize to one person or another for real or imagined missteps on her part. (One of the more pleasurable aspects in the Sunday Philosophy Club series is the relationship between Isabel and her housekeeper, Grace, with whom she often discusses this or that moral or social issue. In FLC, Grace finally gets Isabel to attend a séance. Quite an accomplishment on her part.)

In this book, Isabel meets Ian (it frustrates Isabel that people often only offer their first names) who has recently had a heart transplant. Ian is having some strange and unnerving experiences, which he attributes to his new heart; and the subject of cellular memory arises. He asks for Isabel's help, and, once again, she's off and running to find the answers to Ian's concerns. In the meantime, an attractive Italian arrives in Edinburgh to pursue Isabel's niece, Cat (she met him at a wedding in Italy). Cat is not interested and tries to get Tomasso and her aunt together.

In addition to her usual escapades, Isabel continues her friendship with handsome young musician, Jamie. Jamie and Cat were once an item. He still loves her, but she has moved on. Isabel battles with her own feelings toward Jamie...feelings that border on love. She finds herself jealous of people or situations that she fears will "take him away" from her.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jon Linden VINE VOICE on September 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
McCall Smith has outdone himself in this latest tale of the "Sunday Philosophy Club." Very precisely, Ms. Dalhousie applies her ethical background to the real life of people in Edinburgh. Not surprisingly, her theoretical ethics comes up against real world situations where ethics have to be modified to suit the situation. In the book, such things as older women marrying younger men is covered, along with a host of other ethical issues; which in isolation seem relatively easy to work out, but in combination with real life events, need a bit of adjusting.

Additionally interesting in this story is that his detective makes a huge error. She in fact finds herself chasing her own ethical tail, as she goes off on a hunt for the completely wrong person. The book makes it clear to readers, that things can go wrong; people can make false assumptions; assumptions that lead one to actions that are totally unjustified.

With wonderful command of the scene and setting, this book is one of McCall Smith's greatest creations. It allows the reader to apply his/her own set of ethics to the various situations. It allows the reader to attempt to figure out which ethical positions work for them, and what they would do in the same situation.

The book is highly recommended for all readers of McCall Smith. It should not be passed up, as it is one of the most transitional and interesting books in his recent publications.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Though it is, in my opinion, the weakest of all Smith's series, his Isabel Dalhousie books are still fantastic. Remarkably, you are once again sucked right into the world of the characters, and you find yourself invested in them.

Most amazing, however, is the way Smith keeps you thinking. Not only is this a book about the various adventures of a woman whose life's work revolves around ethics and philosophy, but it is a book of philosophy, as well!

There are many times I've had to stop reading to ponder a particular point or philosophical question the author brings to light in these novels.

I think any of Alexander Mccall Smith's fans would enjoy this series; the second novel more so than the first.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By wills on January 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is #2 in a new series. The pace and tone of these books is different from the #1 Ladies Detective Agency books - so those looking for the lighthearted humor of those books won't really find it here. However, what you will find is a nicely crafted series. Book #2 builds nicely on the main character. I really enjoyed this, and am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on October 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Isabel Dalhousie loves nothing more than discovering why the people in her life, and often those who only cross her path, do what they do. As the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics she examines human foibles with the same intensity of a pathologist peering through a microscope, in search of the motivations that affect or infect their relationships and behaviors.

She freely admits that some would call her nosey, but she asserts that she's only curious. It is harder for her to admit that she often jumps to conclusions that turn out to be woefully and comically wrong. Undaunted, she soldiers on, unraveling small mysteries and knitting up solutions for the people of Edinburgh.

Isabel's niece, Cat, is off to Italy on holiday and leaves her deli in Isabel's hands. Ian, a retired psychologist who knows Isabel by reputation, becomes a regular for coffee and scones. He confides that he recently has been the recipient of a heart transplant and is feeling strange emotions, memories of events he never experienced, and seeing the face of a man he's never met. He wonders at the possibility that somehow genetic memory from the donor's heart is influencing him, leaving him frightened, depressed and apprehensive. This is right up Isabel's philosophical alley, and against his wishes, she decides to search out the donor, whom she suspects may have been murdered.

Meanwhile, Cat returns from Italy with yet another inappropriate older man in tow, complete with charm, a Bugatti and a crush on the wrong person. Cat has abandoned Jamie, a musician who pines after her in sorrowful Scots gloom. Jamie relies on Isabel to bolster his spirits with dinners, concerts and heartfelt conversation.
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