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Isabel Dalhousie Books In Order

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Publication Order of Isabel Dalhousie Books

The Sunday Philosophy Club (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Friends, Lovers, Chocolate (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Right Attitude to Rain (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Careful Use of Compliments (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday / The Comfort Of Saturdays (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lost Art of Gratitude (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Charming Quirks of Others (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Forgotten Affairs of Youth (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Novel Habits of Happiness (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Distant View of Everything (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Quiet Side of Passion (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Geometry of Holding Hands (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sweet Remnants of Summer (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Conditions of Unconditional Love (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Isabel Dalhousie Short Stories/Novellas

The Perils of Morning Coffee (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
At the Reunion Buffet (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Isabel Dalhousie is one character that most people can easily relate to in their real life scenarios. She comes out as the perfect friend and a person that you would want to be on your side in case of a problem. She is the main character in, The Sunday Philosophy Club series of novels by Alexander McCall Smith. The series are narrated through the eyes of Isabel Dalhousie.

She is a philosopher in her early forties and also the editor of the journal, “Review of Applied Ethics.” She lives alone in Edinburgh and has a housekeeper, Grace. She is clearly portrayed as a wealthy woman and in the first series she comes out as a cold human being who doesn’t possess any emotions, but as the series progresses she changes her character and we are introduced to her human and feminine side.

In the first series, The Sunday Philosophy, Isabel Dalhousie witnesses the death of fund manager Mark Fraser as he falls from the balcony at an Edinburgh concert hall. She was the last person he saw as he fell down and this compels Isabel to investigate his death. The more she thinks about Fraser’s death the more her conscience becomes unsettled and the more it appears to be surrounded by ulterior motives to her. She begins to slowly study the characters of the people surrounding Fraser. His roommate appears to be a shifty character and he makes it to her list of suspects. The second suspect is his colleague’s scheming spouse and finally a broker who seems too money-hungry. The expression on Mark Fraser’s face is stuck in Isabel’s memory and it was an expression of shock which makes her rule out the police verdict of suicide as the cause of death. She uses her talents as a philosopher against the advice of all those who asked her not to pursue the case. She wanted to do the right thing and she had the necessary means at her disposal that helped her uncover the truth behind Mark Fraser’s death.

Other important characters are also introduced Grace the housekeeper also makes the book entertaining with her snappy remarks when she is dealing with Isabel. One thing about Isabel is that she is a nosy character who pokes her nose in other people’s businesses with no shame at all. Cat who is Isabel’s niece and friend is also a nice addition to the people surrounding Isabel.

In this series Isabel’s detective skills are carefully brought out as she deifies everything to uncover the truth so as to fulfill a dead man silent wish for justice.

The second part of the series, Friends, Lovers, Chocolates introduces us to Isabel’s feminine side and love life. During her visit to Cat’s delicatessen one day during lunchtime Isabel meets Ian who has recently had a heart transplant. We learn that Ian has somehow gained some memories that belonged to the donor especially the image of sinister looking character. Ian is suspicious about the sinister character and fears he might have killed the donor. As expected Isabel convinces Ian that they have a moral obligation to investigate his suspicion. Cat tries to set up her aunt with Tomasso her Italian friend, but Isabel declines as she secretly thinks of Jamie. Jamie tells Cat that he is having an affair with a married woman. Jamie and his lover Louise visit Isabel who tries her best to be polite, but fails miserably.

In the end Jamie and Louise leave. The next day Isabel calls Jamie to apologize about her behavior the previous evening, but Jamie informs her that he has broken up with Louise since he is still in love with Cat. On hearing this Isabel decides to go out with the very attractive Tomasso. She follows leads hoping to find the family of the organ donor. She later unravels the mystery behind the sinister looking man and discovers that he is the father t0 the organ donor and was unaware of the donation taking place.

As she continues to investigate Tomasso invites Isabel for a tour of Scotland, but after a few days he is recalled back to Italy and therefore cancels on their trip. Isabel and Jamie meet up for dinner and she ends up telling him that Cat will never love him he angrily storms out

Later on after meeting winding up her investigation Jamie apologizes for his behavior and spends the evening with Isabel drinking wine and playing music.

We learn about Isabel Dalhousie love life and how she has been scarred by her early marriage to a faithless Irishman John Liamor. She opens her heart again and falls in love with Jamie who is fourteen years her junior and also her niece’s Cat ex-boyfriend. He is a bassoonist and Isabel had been secretly attracted to him ever since they first met. As the series continue to progress Isabel and Jamie end up becoming lover and at first Cat is angry at her aunt when she discovers that she and Jamie have slept together. Later on she writes and apologizes to her aunt which is a relief considering she has to tell Jamie that she is expecting his child and things become even more weird and complicated.

We continue to learn more about the character and somehow understand how her career plays an important role when she is investigating cases that grab her attention. She is clearly a modern and independent woman who at firsts seems too stuck up, but later on the writer relaxes her iron fists and brings out her feminine side creatively.

The series has received various editorial reviews that are positive and seem to point out the authors wise portray of the characters. Isabel Dalhousie amateur detective skills continue to develop and improve with every new novel that make up the series. Several similarities to his first book, The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency have been pointed out. However, the first novel is tied around several mysteries unlike, The Sunday Philosophy series which focuses on a particular mystery and direction. The series are set in Edinburgh and only sways away from the location briefly in certain series. However, all the action is centered in Edinburg around familiar territories whereby we are introduced to different characters that play certain roles in the life of Isabel Dalhousie.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Isabel Dalhousie

4 Responses to “Isabel Dalhousie”

  1. Alexander milne: 2 years ago

    I am getting irritated at Jamie. He is just too good to be true. He seems to be very knowledgeable to have left school! at 16.

  2. Polly Leaf: 2 years ago

    Will there be another Isabel Dalhousie book in the not too distant future?

    • Graeme: 2 years ago

      At some point this year I believe there will be, yep.

  3. Bj Strickland: 5 years ago

    I see this series but nothing about Alexander McCall Smith’s other series, especially Precious Ramotswe and the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency — this was his first series and is still going strong. Not sure how you missed it or if I am just not looking in the right place. I don’t see the author listed or the character. Thanks!


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