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.

Hachette Audio

Friends, Lovers, Chocolate

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

In this second novel in the Sunday Philosophy Club, Isabel Dalhousie's niece, Cat (she of the unsuitable boyfriends) is invited to a wedding in Italy. This means that Isabel is left in charge of Cat's delicatessen - a task to which the redoutable moral philosopher proves more than equal. She is intrigued by the customers, of course, given her irrepressible tendency to take an interest in the business of others, and one man in particular attracts her attention. He is recovering from heart surgery - a heart transplant in fact - and when Isabel gets to know him a bit better he reveals an extraordinary aspect of being the recipient of another's heart. Isabel is drawn into an investigation of the facts behind the transplant, with disturbing results. Her enquiries take time, but not so much time as to prevent romantic entanglements, both for Isabel and her housekeeper, Grace. And as for chocolate - that proves to have some very interesting philosophical ramifications - at least in the mind of Isabel Dalhousie. Chocolate is a moral problem, it transpires - invoking questions of temptation and, of course, human weakness. We are all weak when it comes to chocolate, Isabel decides - should we just accept the fact and get on with it?

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.

Abacus

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 . . .

Abacus

The Charming Quirks Of Others

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

As well as its advantages, there are drawbacks to the enlightened village that is twenty-first-century Edinburgh, where every Saturday night ears burn at dinner parties across the city, and anyone requiring the investigative abilities of a philosophical soul knows where to find her.Jillian McKinlay -- wife of a trustee of an illustrious school -- is the latest petitioner; she asks Isabel to look into a poison-pen letter that makes insinuations about applicants for the position of principal. Isabel's niece Cat has another new boyfriend who seems too good to be true. And when a pretty cellist with a tragic story takes a fancy to her husband-to-be, Isabel finds herself contemplating an act of heroic and alarming self-sacrifice.

Abacus

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.

Abacus

A Distant View of Everything

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

Recently distracted by the arrival of her and Jamie's second son, Magnus, Isabel Dalhousie - philanthropic editor of the Review of Applied Ethics - is anxious. The next issue of the Review is far from ready, her eldest, Charlie, is jealous, and their housekeeper, Grace, has an officious approach to childcare. With some relief, Isabel returns to helping out at her niece Cat's delicatessen, where surely the most taxing duty is the preparation of sandwiches.It's not long before Isabel's helpful, philosophical nature draws her into customers' problems, specifically that of ambitious, self-proclaimed matchmaker, Bea Shandon. Bea has staged a potentially dangerous liaison involving enigmatic plastic surgeon, Tony MacUspaig, who may not be quite who he claims to be - and Isabel's help is required in getting to the truth of the matter. Good-hearted Isabel proceeds with her usual thorough attention to task, and on Bea's advice talks to her friend Rob, a trustworthy regular on Bea's dinner party circuit, and known to have deep suspicions about MacUspaig. It becomes clear, however, that Rob has an agenda of his own and Isabel is now contending with that, along with a mysterious medical condition of Jamie's and some frustrating dead ends when it comes to Bea's predicament. When the truth finally reveals itself, Isabel must conclude that along with MacUspaig, Bea, Jamie - and even Cat - she herself is not immune to misunderstandings, or the neurotic fantasies that arise from keeping secrets . . .

Little, Brown

The Quiet Side of Passion

Alexander McCall Smith
Authors:
Alexander McCall Smith

The nursery gate is a good place for parents to meet one another. As the mother of two small children, Isabel finds herself enlarging her circle of friends to include other parents. She meets Patricia, an Irishwoman, a musician and the single mother of a small boy called Basil Phelps. Isabel hears from her husband, Jamie, that this child is allegedly the unacknowledged son of a well-known Edinburgh organist, Basil Phelps. Patricia takes to Isabel, but Isabel is suspicious - there is something about Patricia that she does not quite like, but, with her usual attention to moral obligation, she does her best to be civil and supportive. That is until she sees Patricia with a mysterious, freckled man. Isabel gets it into her head that this is Patricia's lover, and that he must be the real father of young Basil. When further discoveries are made, everything is turned on its head.Despite Jamie's discouragement, Isabel decides that she is going to get to the bottom things. Yet, when the truth is finally revealed, it seems that Isabel has misjudged Patricia; in fact, she has misjudged just about everybody.

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