Top positive review
Entertaining, charming, interesting
on 17 July 2008
I had missed out on this delightful Isabel Dalhousie series until recently as I hadn't liked my sampling of the No 1 Ladies Detective agency books. I was introduced to Isabel's world by reading the fourth book in the series (The Careful Use of Compliments) and was so charmed by her character and the conundrums of her life that I wanted to find out more about her past and so bought the three earlier books, of which "Friends, Lovers, Chocolate" is the second. I was not disappointed. This is an intriguing and unusual story with philosophical ramifications. I'm not usually a fan of philosophical writing, but find that McCall Smith manages to weave the discussion of ethical/moral issues into the narrative in such a way that it does seem relevant and interesting.
An added bonus is that the stories take place in a part of Edinburgh in which I lived, worked and shopped and so it's all pleasingly familiar. I have also enjoyed Ian Rankin's Rebus series of novels, also based in Edinburgh, but Isabel's amateur detective work couldn't be more different from the harsh reality of Rebus's world.