Fans of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels will welcome the appearance of The Sunday Philosophy Club, the first entry in a new mystery series from McCall Smith. The book marks the debut of female sleuth Isabel Dalhousie, a plucky and inquisitive philosopher-turned-detective who gets herself involved in (you guessed it) a murder. The sinister events unfold in Edinburgh, where, at a concert one evening, Isabel witnesses a tragedy: a young fund manager named Mark Fraser falls to his death from the balcony of the theater. Resolute Isabel soon decides to unravel the mystery assuming that there is a mystery surrounding his death. Ignoring the warnings of Grace, her housekeeper, and Cat, her niece, she plunges ahead, driven by what she feels is an ethical obligation. Indulging her philosophical side, Isabel begins analyzing the circumstances of Fraser's demise, aided by the handsome Jamie, Cat's ex-boyfriend. Meanwhile, she oversees the publication of The Review of Applied Ethics and meddles good-naturedly in Cat's romantic life. With its Scottish setting and amiable characters, this appealing whodunit is sure to charm readers. Smith has scored again, delivering another literate suspense novel, full of wit and intelligence, that's hard to put down. A reading group guide is available in print and online at

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