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Monday, May 24, 2010

The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith

Title- The Sunday Philosophy Club

Author- Alexander McCall Smith

Publisher- Anchor

Genre- Mystery

Publishing Date- 2004

Rating- 3 Crowns

Synopsis: Isabel 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 to...

My Review: I had high hopes for this book, I love a mystery, but I found it starting off much more slowly than I thought it would. Although the mysterious death occurs in the very first paragraph, it takes quite a bit of time for the investigation to start, and I hate to admit that I'm a little impatient for that!

Throughout the book, people are telling Isabel that she is getting involved in things that aren't her business, and I completely agreed. But there is a huge part of me that completely understands her impulse to investigate these mysteries...which is probably why I don't watch the local news!

I couldn't help but find myself comparing Isabel to Lady Julia Grey, of the Silent in the Grave series. I have always felt that Julia was a very lovable detective, whereas Isabel quite irritated me for much of the book. There were numerous times when Isabel would have an internal dialog and conclude that she was right. I found this terribly frustrating, because I prefer characters who acknowledge their flaws versus arriving at the conclusion that they are correct.

My irritation with Isabel aside, I liked the book and the story, and I may find that Isabel herself might grow on me in the future. Even though she is a frustrating leading character, her nose for finding the truth is admirable and I do wish that more people in real life were that way. It's a pretty short book, so it makes for a fast read, and would be something fabulous to read on vacation this summer.

Visit Crystal @ I Totally Paused


Blodeuedd said...

Sounds good, I really should read one of these books one day

Cat said...

I have good intentions when it comes to reading something by Alexander McCall Smith but so far they haven't come to anything. Maybe not this one - Isabel doesn't sound all that appealing.

Crystal - Princess of Pop Culture said...

Blodeuedd - I liked the plot quite a bit, so I definitely recommend picking up one of his books!

Crystal - Princess of Pop Culture said...

Cat - Isabel is a bit much, and I don't know that I quite got over that for the whole book. It gets better once you delve more into the mystery solving part :)

Stacy said...

I tried to read this book awhile back and had a hard time getting into it. I was frustrated because it was soooo slow! I need my mysteries fast-paced and gung-ho! Fantastic review!

dela said...

sounds good, but by reading your review I can imagine that I'll be impatient and maybe I can't stand to pass it to next chapter! XD

Marg said...

I was a bit disappointed in this first one, because I found Isabel to be a bit snobby, but I am glad that I persisted in reading the series, because she thaws quite a bit in the following books.

Crystal - Princess of Pop Culture said...

Stacy - You're right, it's not very fast at all, and that made it difficult for me too!

Thanks :)

Crystal - Princess of Pop Culture said...

dela - It is good, but you might feel impatient reading it. Since it's short, I recommend taking it to the park or something one day when you feel ready to read it :)

Crystal - Princess of Pop Culture said...

Marg - I was really hoping Isabel would become more personable, so I'm very glad to hear you say that! I liked the plot, and she was really the only thing I had much of a problem with, so I'm sure I'll read more of the series :)

Renee said...

Thanks Crystal,

Alexander McCall Smith is now on my to read list. I cannot believe that I have never read his work before.

(Queen of the Quills)