This is a very slow, thin book with little character development and less plot. The amusement in it is the extraction of major philosophical and moral debates from very minor daily life. It's calm, not unpleasant, but not much more.
This is the first book in Smith's latest series, and I enjoyed the narration as much as I did with the Mma Ramotswe audiobooks. The Mma Ramotswe stories are such a universal success because they are universally accessible and warm, but Smith's previous characters have, like this one, been more academic in their musings. While the Ladies Detective Agency series is surely his masterpiece, this new series is wonderful literature to look forward to as well.
Yes, I love the #1 Ladies Detective Agency. But no more boring Isabel Dalhousie!
Yes, she is fantastic, as always. But even Davina Porter can't save this story.
I can hardly choose.
As always, Davina Porter is outstanding! Her Scottish voices take me right to Edinburgh! And the charm of Isabel Dalhousie is without question! I so want to sit at her kitchen table, listening to her chat with Grace!
after reading the description I was expecting. something on the order of Mrs Polifax or Amelia Peabody. sort of a humorous who-done-it with clever clues that drove the plot forward. but this was a little too melodramatic and driven by sex for my taste. I had looked forward to reading to the rest of the series but for now I think I'll skip it.
Book just meanders all over the place a bit too much for my taste. Think it's the author's style - remember feeling when reading the Ladies Detective Agency that the pace was very very slooooow
Would never ask an author to change their style!
Love Davina Porter always. She's a pro.
I'm currently listening to book 5 in this series. I have loved them all and will be listening to the rest of them, as well. I originally thought they would be mysteries, but they're not really, although usually there is something odd going on that Isabel is trying to sort out. They remind me more of the 44 Scotland Street books, of which Audible does not have the complete series, so I had to find another. I'm glad I found this one.
The reason I decided to review this one is that, being the first book in the series, a new listener might look at these reviews first and I wanted to make a suggestion.
When I first started listening to these books, the picture of Isabel that formed in my mind was actually Maggie Smith, circa Harry Potter. I'm sure it was to do with the accent and Isabel's personality, combined with the roles I've seen Maggie Smith play. Ms. Smith is a wonderful actress and attractive, but she is much too old to be Isabel Dalhousie. This didn't matter so much in the beginning, but later in the series it does, and the image I've had all this time is hard for me to shake now.
So, in order to give some perspective to a new listener, I want to point out that Isabel is actually about the same age as, say, Jennifer Aniston. If you can picture Jennifer as a Scottish philosopher with an adult niece, you will be much closer to "reality" than I have been.
Other than that, the only advice I have is to relax and enjoy and prepare to be hooked.
different story line
Yes, not fond of the "philosopher" and her unravelling stories.
She has an easy listening voice, good clear speech and great reading style.
I enjoy Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective books, Corduroy Mansions etc. This character just did nothing for me.
cook, lawyer, knitter, mom, grandmom
Whereas I think I'd very much enjoy Isabel Dalhousie as a friend or tea companion, she is somewhat lame as an amateur Private Investigator. I have a minor in philosophy and a law degree, and I understand her many, many philosophical and ethical references very well. From a standpoint of the story, there are TOO many, and many of them are not really pertinent. That a woman of that maturity and sophistication does not seem to understand the emotional drives of herself or the people around her strains credulity as well. I've very much enjoyed McCall Smith in other works, particularly the "Ladies Detective Agency" series set in Botswana. I'd enjoy Isabel more with less meandering philosophy and more action. The actress, Davina Porter, who narrates is spot on.
Not enough resolution.
Her wide range of marvelous accents!
Maybe. A scriptwriter would tighten it up. I doubt most of Hollywood would get most of the what Isabel's talking about without their Wikipedia, anyway!