I have read and reread all of Alexander McCall Smith's books about Botswana and the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. I absolutely adored the series.
So when his new book came out about Scotland, I thought it would be the same caliber. I bought the book and immediately downloaded it for listening. Tonight I finished the book and I want to warn other fans to avoid this book at all costs.
First of all, the "Sunday Philosophy Club" is mentioned only briefly in the book and never meets. What is the point in the title???
Secondly, since Isobel, the heroine, is a philosopher, over half of the book is about her philosophical musings about ethics. This book has no real plot or action.
Finally, the murder, about which the entire book is based, is not a murder at all. Just an unfortunate accident. If I am giving away the plot, believe me, you haven't lost much.
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.
Love Outlander, Isabel Dalhousie et al., and the whole audiobook experience. Also on the lookout for narrators as good as Davina Porter.
Three words?? Forget it. I'm completely hooked on the Isabel Dalhousie series. It really feels like being in love. And Davina Porter is heavenly. My only complaint is that the books are so short (only 8+ hours), I'm ready for the next one in the series long before I receive my next credit. And waiting with no Isabel Dalhousie to listen to is out of the question! So I'm racking up quite a tab. The things we do for love!
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.
Audiobooks are BOOKS.! I hate reviews that complain about the narrator for not being an actor. Use your mind the same as when you read.
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.