Liked It1 of 1 members found this review helpful
“This is the first book in the Isabel Dalhousie series, and while fans of the Ladies' No. 1 Detective Agency series will recognize the folksy and cozy narrative style, Isabel Dalhousie is a different kind of protagonist than Mma Ramotswe.
Didn’t Like It1 of 1 members found this review helpful
“When the title of the book has the word philosophy in it, you kind of expect some philosophical discourse and when the book is also touted as a mystery then you expect equal or more amount of intrigue. Well, I would divide this book as 85% philosophy, 10% character chatter (I don’t think I can...”see full review » see other reviews »
“It was just ok. Isabelle Dalhousie was a meddlesome bother; she just stuck her nose in everyone's business and then when she had the chance to solve the "mystery" she gave up. She quit and accepted their word as the truth; done. I might try the next one in the series just to see if it gets better but I'm in no hurry. I love Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series and can't wait for the next book but not so with this series, so far.”Fran wrote this review 9 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“At first I wasn't sure how I liked all the "philosophizing" interwoven in the story, but it's kind of grown on me. ”Lynn P wrote this review Sunday, November 3, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Too much philosophy, I know that's in the title, but I expected better mystery plot. The death of that man was just by the way. It was too slow for me, but the characters are likeable.”Lady Grey wrote this review Monday, June 3, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
Isabel is a philosopher and editor of a journal, the Review of Applied Ethics. At the opera (?) one night, she sees a man fall from a balcony above her. The man dies, but Isabel is now interested in finding out what happened, exactly.
It's too bad this really wasn't a mystery and the focus wasn't on figuring out what happened. There was a little bit of that, but mostly there was a lot of boring philosophy. Unfortunately, I accidentally picked up the second book in the series before realizing there was a first book. The title of the second one is appealing, but if it's anything like this one in content, I'm not sure if I want to try. I guess the good news is that it was fast to read.”
“The beginning of a new series.”Rosereader wrote this review Friday, April 19, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Listened to this as an audio book-very entertaining and held my interest. Happy to see it is a series.”Judy M wrote this review Wednesday, April 17, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I love the 44 Scotland Street series, and thought this would be just as good - but it wasn't. I didn't care for the characters but I enjoy the setting and the writting style so much, I stuck with it and the latter books are improvements to this one. It'll never be as good as Scotland Street in my mind, but I admit I'm hooked after reading 3 of them.”Kristen wrote this review Sunday, March 31, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Let me start my review by saying I'm usually not much a murder mystery gal to begin with. I read this book at the recommendation of a co-worker, who said the "mystery" part was almost an aside to the story, and assured me that the rest of the book was fun, as one can savor the philosophical musings of main character. So I gave it a shot.
Out of courtesy to the recommender, (and the fact that it was a relatively short book at 250 pages), I did indeed actually read the whole thing. In other circumstances, I probably would have given up about 1/2 way through. I thought the last 90 or so pages were particularly painful, but I wanted to give the book as a whole a thourough evaluation.
The main character and narrator was a Scottish divorcee named Isabel Dalhousie. Isabel is a wealthy, pretentious, single woman with no dependents, a part-time job and employed a full-time housekeeper to take care of her. She keeps busy reading and thinking about philosophy and morals, and butting into other people's business. The author tries to tie Isabel's theoretical moral quandaries into the "mystery" while she's off being a busy body. I'm not sure how well this all really connects, but I can see the attempt. As far as the philosophy goes, although Isabel uses some highfalutin vocabulary words, her thoughts on morals and philosophy were pretty pedantic and sophomoric. It's no wonder her philosophy "meetup" group no longer wants to meet with her on Sundays: she's boorish.
I found Isabel to be somewhat narrow-minded, somewhat hypocritical, and definitely a person given to stereotyping (all gamblers tend to have six children; the French are all irresponsible and playful, and so on. Not to mention her boastfulness of her Scottish heritage for which she generalized the characters of Scots).
I thought the book was written in an off-putting stream-of-consciousness style, which made the reader privy to every random, non-sequitur thought in Isabel's head. There were so many asides that had nothing to do with the story, I really wanted to shout at her to please censor her inner-monologue and get on with it! It was like reading Sebastian Junger in fiction form. I dealt with all those tangents and asides, and petty moral dilemmas, to get to an ending that was fairly unsatisfying. Alas.
I am sorry, my dear colleague, nothing personal; I still love ya, but I won't be reading anymore Isabel Dalhousie mysteries. (Yet for some reason, it wouldn't surprise me to see Isabel highlighted in a BBC television mini-serial or something. They made "One for the Money" into a movie, afterall...
Enough of a rant. I think I'll go back and pick a novel from the "1,001 books you must read before you die" list to clear my head of this piece of work.”
“excellent”Joe F wrote this review Tuesday, March 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No