BookSeriesList
Abacus

The Sunday Philosophy Club

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

Amateur sleuth Isabel Dalhousie is a philosopher who also uses her training to solve unusual mysteries. Isabel is Editor of the Review of Applied Ethics - which addresses such questions as 'Truth telling in sexual relationships' - and she also hosts The Sunday Philosophy Club at her house in Edinburgh. Behind the city's Georgian facades its moral compasses are spinning with greed, dishonesty and murderous intent. Instinct tells Isabel that the young man who tumbled to his death in front of her eyes at a concert in the Usher Hall didn't fall. He was pushed.With Isabel Dalhousie Alexander McCall Smith introduces a new and pneumatic female sleuth to tackle murder, mayhem - and the mysteries of life. As her hero WH Auden maintained, classic detective fiction stems from a desire for an uncorrupted Eden which the detective, as an agent of God, can return to us. But then Isabel, being a philosopher, has a thing or two to say about God as well.

Abacus

Friends, Lovers, Chocolate

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel Dalhousie thinks often of friends, sometimes of lovers, and on occasion of chocolate. As an Edinburgh philosopher she is certain of where she stands. She can review a book called In Praise of Sin with panache and conviction, but real life is . . . well, perhaps a bit more challenging - particularly when it comes to her feelings for Jamie, a younger man who should have married her niece, Cat. Jamie's handsomeness leaves Isabel feeling distinctly uneasy, and ethically disturbed. 'I am a philosopher', she thinks, 'but I am also a woman'. And more disturbance is in store. When Cat takes a break in Italy, Isabel agrees to run her delicatessen. One of the customers, she discovers, has recently had a heart transplant and is now being plagued by memories that cannot be rationally explained and which he feels do not belong to him. Isabel is intrigued. So intrigued that she finds herself rushing headlong into a dangerous investigation. But she still has time to think about the things that possess her - things like love and friendship, and, of course, temptation. The last of these comes in many forms - chocolate, for example, or seductive Italians . . .

Abacus

The Right Attitude To Rain

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

The key to contentment in the Scottish climate is the right attitude to rain - just as in life the key to happiness lies in making the best of what you have.Bruised in love by her faithless Irish husband, Isabel Dalhousie is a connoisseur of intimate moral issues: she edits a philosophical journal and spends a great deal of her time considering how to improve the lives of those around her. There is her housekeeper Grace, whose future she must secure; her niece Cat, who is embarking on a new relationship with a dubious workaholic mummy's boy; and even an American couple newly arrived in Edinburgh on a tour. And then there is Jamie, Cat's ex-boyfriend, a handsome, gifted musician fourteen years Isabel's junior, with whom she is slowly and hopelessly falling in love.Intensely thoughtful and consistently entertaining, THE RIGHT ATTITUDE TO RAIN is shot through with compassion and unassuming intelligence.

Abacus

The Careful Use Of Compliments

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

For philosophically minded Isabel Dalhousie, editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, getting through life with a clear conscience requires careful thought. And with the arrival of baby Charlie, not to mention a passionate relationship with his father Jamie, fourteen years her junior, Isabel enters deeper and rougher waters. Late motherhood is not the only challenge facing Isabel. Even as she negotiates a truce with her furious niece Cat, and struggles for authority over her son with her formidable housekeeper Grace, Isabel finds herself drawn into the story of a painter's mysterious death off the island of Jura. Perhaps most seriously of all, Isabel's professional existence and that of her beloved Review come under attack from the machiavellian and suspiciously handsome Professor Dove. A master storyteller whether debating ethics in Edinburgh or pursuing lady detectives in Africa, here Alexander McCall Smith is as witty and wise as his irresistibly spirited heroine.

Hachette Audio

The Comfort Of Saturdays

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel Dalhousie is a new mother and a connoisseur of philosophy; she'd rather not be a sleuth. But when a chance conversation at a dinner party draws her into the case of a doctor whose career has been ruined, she cannot ignore what may be a miscarriage of justice. Because for Isabel ethics are not theoretical at all, but an everyday matter of life and death. As she attempts to unravel the truth behind Dr Thompson's disgrace, Isabel's patient intelligence is also required to deal with challenges in her own life. There is her baby son Charlie; Cat's deli to look after, not to mention her vulnerable assistant Eddie; and a mysterious and unlikeable composer who has latched on to Jamie, making Isabel fear for the future of her new family. Isabel treads a difficult path between trust and gullibility, philanthropy and interference, while keeping in her sights the small but certain comforts of family, philosophy and a fine Saturday morning.

Abacus

The Lost Art Of Gratitude

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel Dalhousie, philosopher and amateur solver of other people's problems, meets an old foe, Minty Auchterlonie, at a birthday party attended by their young children. Ambitious Minty, now the head of a small investment bank, is in trouble with her shareholders. Isabel becomes involved, and is drawn into a murky world of financial concealment. Minty is not the only high-flier in Isabel's life; her niece Cat has just become engaged to a tightrope-walking stuntman. Isabel fears his next job - and the engagement - could end in disaster. Meanwhile, her own boyfriend Jamie has marriage in mind too . . .

Hachette Audio

The Charming Quirks Of Others

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel Dalhousie, Edinburgh philosopher and curious observer of the behaviour of her fellow man, is approached by a friend at a local boarding school that is planning to appoint a new headmaster; an anonymous letter has arrived suggesting that one of the shortlisted candidates has a compromising past. But which one is it? Isabel is once again drawn into an investigation, and finds herself exploring dilemmas of human weakness and forgiveness. She turns to her fiancé Jamie for advice, but he too appears to have something to hide . . .

Hachette Audio

The Forgotten Affairs Of Youth

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

Happy with her husband-to-be and beloved son, Isabel Dalhousie has feelings about parenthood that grow more tender daily. So when Jane, a visiting academic adopted and sent to Australia as a baby, asks for help in tracing her Scottish origins, she cannot refuse.However, habitually upright Isabel finds herself beset by temptation - for instance, to be suspicious of Professor Lettuce's latest subterfuge, and of her niece Cat's weakness for the wrong man. And when the search for Jane's parents turns troubling, she can hardly prevent herself from interfering too forcefully in family secrets. As she steers a course between love and laissez-faire, our philosopher heroine succeeds in resisting all temptations but those which must be answered, and teases a solution from every problem.

Abacus

The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

As a mother, wife, employer and editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, Isabel Dalhousie is aware that to be human is to be responsible. So when a neighbour brings her a new and potentially dangerous puzzle to solve, once again Isabel feels she has no option but to shoulder the burden.A masterpiece painting has been stolen from Duncan Munrowe, old-fashioned philanthropist, father to two discontented children, and a very wealthy man. As Isabel enters into negotiations with the shadowy figures who are in search of a ransom, a case where heroes and villains should be clearly defined turns murky: the list of those who desire the painting - or the money - lengthens, and hasty judgement must be avoided at all cost. Morals, it turns out, are like Scottish clouds: complex, changeable and tricky to get a firm grip on; they require a sharp observational eye, a philosophical mindset, and the habit of kindness. Fortunately for those around her, Isabel Dalhousie is in possession of all three.

Little, Brown

The Novel Habits of Happiness

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel Dalhousie is one of Edinburgh's most generous (but discreet) philanthropists - but should she be more charitable? She wonders, sometimes, if she is too judgmental about her niece's amorous exploits, too sharp about her housekeeper's spiritual beliefs, too ready to bristle in battle against her enemies. As the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, she doesn't, of course, allow herself actual enemies, but she does feel enmity - especially towards two academics who have just arrived in the city. Isabel feels they're a highly destabilizing influence; little tremors in the volcanic rock upon which an Enlightened Edinburgh perches. Equally troubling is the situation of the little boy who is convinced he had a previous life. When Isabel is called upon to help, she finds herself questioning her views on reincarnation. And the nature of grief. And - crucially - the positioning of lighthouses. The only questions Isabel doesn't have to address concern her personal life. With her young son and devoted husband her home life is blissfully content. Which is the best possible launching pad for the next issue of the Review - the Happiness issue. As Isabel is beginning to appreciate, happiness, for most people, is not quite what it seems . . .

Abacus

At the Reunion Buffet

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel Dalhousie - philosopher, mother and friend - is taking on the mammoth task of hosting her school reunion. In the hours before twenty-five former classmates descend on her home, and the caterers arrive to set up a buffet, Isabel has time to reflect. She is mindful of the fact that reunions can bring up all sorts of uncomfortable feelings. Later that night, with the party in full swing, Isabel realises that the pull of the past remains as strong as ever. Some people are interested in fuelling disagreements, while others are hoping to make amends. As hostess of the party, Isabel feels compelled to help them on the path to mercy and forgiveness. But what if the reasons for forgiveness are murky and suspect? And what if long-held secrets threaten to derail Isabel's efforts?In this warm, intelligently observed novella, Alexander McCall Smith's wonderful heroine, Isabel, learns valuable lessons about inviting the past into your life.

Little, Brown

A Distant View of Everything

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

Isabel Dalhousie now has a second child - another boy, Magnus. He comes home with her at the beginning of the book and she discovers that Charlie is far from thrilled. He sees no need for a new baby.In Cat's delicatessen, Isabel meets a woman with whom she had been at school. This woman, Bea Shand, is known as an enthusiastic match-maker. She is very worried, though, as she has introduced a woman she knows to a plastic surgeon who is now described by another friend as a gold-digger. This other friend reveals that the surgeon has a bad track record: he has been involved with a series of well-off women and has succeeded in separating a number of then from their money. Bea asks Isabel to investigate; she herself tried to warn her friend of the danger she was in but was rebuffed badly.Isabel starts to make enquiries. At first the pattern that emerges confirms her friend's dire diagnosis, but as things develop it emerges that not only is the surgeon innocent, but he himself is the one in danger!In the meantime, as a sub-plot, Isabel finds that the man who warned her of the surgeon's proclivities, is taking an interest in her (Isabel). He appears to be smitten by her; she tries to get away from him but discovers that she has inadvertently given Jamie grounds to believe that she (Isabel) is having an affair. This is awkward, but is resolved satisfactorily.Her final conclusion: match-make at one's peril. Never tell people half-truths for paternalistic reasons. Mind your own business (a lesson that Isabel never seems to learn).

Little, Brown

The Quiet Side of Passion

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

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