Because the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novels are so dear to my heart I decided to try another series by Alexander McCall Smith, The Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries that take place in Edinburgh, Scotland. The first book is The Sunday Philosophy Club, which introduces another set of warm, curiously lovable characters. Our heroine this time around is an editor for a philosophy journal, the Review for Applied Ethics, who frequently becomes involved in problems that are none of her concern. Isabel witnesses a man fall from the upper balcony of a concert hall and takes it upon herself to investigate the tragedy. Was it an accident or murder? Isabel cannot help finding out, and along the way we get to know her housekeeper Grace, niece Cat, and friend Jamie.
Like the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, this mystery is slow paced, leaving much time for character development in the plot. I think this is one of the best things that McCall Smith does when writing his novels. They aren’t only mysteries, but keen observations of human emotion and behavior. The reader really gets to know the characters and begin to care deeply for them. McCall Smith’s writing is so charming, it’s no wonder I keep coming back for more. His books are intelligent, entertaining and leave the reader thinking about the simple things in life. I will continue the rest of the series (I believe there are five others) and see if they live up to my high expectations!