Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith

I have been putting off reading this, the last of Alexander McCall Smith's books that I had not read (forgetting for the moment the incomprehensibly un-funny Professor Von Igelfeld series). I have to say I felt about it very much the same way I felt about the other book in this series, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate. It was slow and thoughtful, with lots of philosophizing. It is billed as a mystery, but is hardly one at all, since so much of the text is devoted to musing and to the personal lives of the characters, and the "mystery" itself is far too neatly (one might say implausibly) wrapped up at the end. In the end it was a fun little book but nothing outstanding.

Isabel Dalhousie, the main character in this series, is an interesting counterpoint to Mma Ramotswe from the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series; where Mma has very definite ideas about the way people should treat each other, Isabel never seems to be able to make up her mind about correct behaviour; but they each spend a great deal of their time ruminating about these issues. Isabel is also very intellectual, with interests in art and poetry, and has less of the down-to-earth charm that makes Mma Ramotswe so appealing.

I suppose I will continue reading books in this series if they should be published, because they are light and easy to read, but the series just doesn't have the same irresistible, simple appeal that has made me enjoy the "adventures" of the Botswanan detectives so much.

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