"The Sunday Philosophy Club"

The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel Dalhousie is a single woman in her forties living in Edinburgh, Scotland. She is a patron of the arts, editor of a philosophical journal and a fan of cryptic crossword puzzles. Those last four make her a character I will not be able to resist. She is also a bit of an amateur sleuth, although this isn't a mystery in the usual sense of the genre. It's more that she has a healthy curiosity about what goes on around her and doesn't let go of something till she figures it out.

She is a likable enough character, if slightly superior at moments. She's intelligent, down-to-earth and is both interesting herself and interested in others. In this book, the first in the series, Isabel witnesses the death of a young man when he falls from the heights of a theater balcony onto the seats below. She isn't happy with the police report that says it was an accident, so she sets out on her own investigation, confiding in and working with Jamie, the ex of her niece, Cat. Isabel and Jamie have remained friends and it is her hope that Cat will eventually become disillusioned with her current boyfriend, Toby, about whom Isabel has doubts, and will get rid of him and go back to Jamie. Cat has other plans and is less than enthusiastic about her aunt's meddling.

I enjoyed the sheer "Scottishness" of the book. It was a pleasure to read, more for it's atmosphere and characters and the way the authour puts words together than for it's plot. It's a mild mystery, which is fine with me because I'm not much of a mystery fan anyway. I'll stick with the series because it's good reading and also because I have as yet only read mentions of the actual Sunday Philosophy Club and I want to meet the members. Maybe in the next one.


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