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The Sunday Philosophy Club (Isabel Dalhousie #1)

UK Publisher: Little, Brown

Edinburgh. Genteel home to ladies who lunch, attend concerts, art exhibitions and – for this is not a showy city – do good by stealth. Ladies for whom chanterelle mushrooms in their omelettes are the only hint of the twenty-first century. Ladies such as Isabel Dalhousie.

But behind Edinburgh’s regimented Georgian facades, its moral compasses are spinning with greed, dishonesty, lust and murderous intent. Isabel knows this. Isabel, in fact, rather relishes it. An accomplished philosopher and editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, she knows all about the difference between good and bad. Which is probably why, by instinct, she is an amateur sleuth. And instinct tells her the man who tumbled to his death in front of her eyes after a concert in the Usher Hall didn’t fall. He was pushed.

And whatever Isabel lacks in official status, she more than makes up for with accomplices and contacts: there’s her housekeper Grace, whose applied philosophy is that the Edinburgh way is right and the way of the world is wrong; her beautiful niece Cat; and Cat’s ex-boyfriend, Jamie, who is leading Isabel to review her own ethics in the sexual attraction department.

With Isabel Dalhousie, Alexander McCall Smith introduces a new and waspish female sleuth to tackle murder, mayhem – and the mysteries of life.

Alexander McCall Smith CBE was born in Zimbabwe in 1948 and educated there and in Scotland. He enjoyed a distinguished...