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Friends, Lovers, Chocolate (Isabel Dalhousie #2)

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,309 Ratings  ·  736 Reviews

Nothing captures the charm of Edinburgh like the bestselling Isabel Dalhousie series of novels featuring the insatiably curious philosopher and woman detective. Whether investigating a case or a problem of philosophy, the indefatigable Isabel Dalhousie, one of fiction’s most richly developed amateur detectives, is always ready to pursue the answers
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 20th 2005 by Pantheon (first published January 1st 2005)
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The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall SmithThe Careful Use of Compliments by Alexander McCall SmithThe Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall SmithFriends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall SmithThe Right Attitude to Rain by Alexander McCall Smith
Isabel Dalhousie
4th out of 6 books — 9 voters
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nov 25, 2007 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like to read about relationships
Shelves: literary-novels
I'm getting worried. I've read all but two of Alexander McCall Smith's books, and I read faster than he can write. It'll be hard to find another author I can trust for my bedtime reading--one whose books are like slipping into a cozy conversation with a thoughtful, well-read, gossipy friend.

Friends, Lovers, Chocolate, the second book in the Isabel Dalhousie series, explores the intriguing subject of whether memories can be stored in organs other than the brain. Meanwhile, Isabel's intense, Plato
Margaret H.
Dec 04, 2008 Margaret H. rated it liked it
This should really be a 3.5 star book-- certainly better than The Sunday Philosopher's Club, as its plot has a bit more resolution to it. Isabel, however, begins to wear a bit thin-- a little too self-righteous, and not nearly self-aware enough to really justify it. However, I might be feeling this more from the last two books (The Right Attitude to Rain and The Careful Use of Compliments) than from this particular book. I think she's really at her best in this installment.
Aug 12, 2007 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another pleasant mystery, full of interesting philosophical musings rather than melodramatic deaths and red herrings. Like the No. 1 Ladies series, and the previous book in this series, the mystery is almost second place to the lives of the characters, although it's definitely an compelling one this round. Isabel meets a man who has had a heart transplant, and thinks he is having visions of the donor's life--specifically, he keeps seeing a face. Isabel jumps to the conclusion that this face must ...more
Nov 30, 2007 Lain rated it it was ok
I have really enjoyed this series, and was intrigued by the idea of "cellular memories." But I was so disappointed in the resolution of this book -- I felt like McCall Smith ran out of energy after writing the first 75 percent of the book. The end just petered out. I kept expecting some kind of "kicker," but none ever came.

The writing, as always, is smooth, and the descriptions of Edinburgh compelling. But there wasn't much else to recommend about the book.
Richard Derus
Jan 26, 2012 Richard Derus rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Book Report: No life is perfect. Isabel Dalhousie would seem to be an exception to that rule, since she's rich, well-educated, and has a job she loves. (Hate her yet?) But all else being equal, which it never is, how can you hate a woman who believes it is a moral duty to help someone who most of us would call nutsy-cuckoo?

She meets a man who has had a heart transplant. He's troubled by dreams and memories of a man with a scarred eye, and a sense of foreboding and unhappi
Jun 28, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anna
Recommended to Jessica by: Jennifer
This series just gets better. It's the mystery novel for the thinking person. Our heroine, Isabel Dalhousie is, as ever, distracted from her mystery (which is usually more of an intrigue than a real mystery) by the pressing issues of applied ethics. The real delight in this, of course, is setting the book down in your lap for a bit to think over whether or not it is our moral obligation to respond to all emails, or whatever question may have arisen, and then pop back into the story like nothing ...more
Dec 09, 2015 Donna rated it liked it
I've read a handful of books by this author. So far, he is just lukewarm for me. I don't love them. I don't hate them. I thought I would like this one more though. Davina Porter did the narration and I love her. She narrated the Outlander series. But by coincidence, this book also had a Jaime and an Ian as characters, all with Scottish accents. So I kept thinking Outlander all the way through this.
Book Concierge
Book on CD performed by Davinia Porter

Book #2 in the Isabel Dalhousie series has Isabel contemplating mysteries of the heart – literally and figuratively. When her niece, Cat, asks her to look after the delicatessen while Cat is on holiday, Isabel meets a man with a very interesting problem. He has recently had a heart transplant and now is experiencing strange dreams / memories of things that never happened to him.

This has been languishing on my tbr for quite some time. I read the first book
Anne Hawn Smith
Oct 13, 2009 Anne Hawn Smith rated it really liked it
I am always amazed at the interesting questions Alexander McCall Smith brings to his novels. Again, the mystery is not the most important thing about the book. In this one, the strange feelings of a man who has received a donor heart are the mystery. Is there something as a cell memory which is giving him visions he can only suspect are from the donor's life? Isabelle decides to tackle the question and we follow her thorough many false starts and red herrings.

As with the others, the lives of her
Apr 28, 2008 Carissa rated it it was ok
i checked this one out (in fact, i also listened to the sunday philosophers club since it was the first in this series) simply because it had the word chocolate in the title and the pictures of a cafe on the front–ripe with the promise of foodie fiction. no such luck. i don’t actually remember any chocolate at all in this book. yes, isabel dalhousie (which always brings to mind a tiny toy house for precious dolls) does “mind the shop” for her niece, but… not really. that is such a miniscule part ...more
Jul 20, 2015 QNPoohBear rated it it was ok
Shelves: cozy-mystery
Isabel Dalhousie's niece Cat asks Isabel to mind Cat's deli while she goes off to a wedding in Italy. Isabel is worried Cat will fall in love with an Italian lothario or worse - mafioso. [Um can we say stereotypes?] Isabel would much rather Cat get back together with Jamie who has pledged his undying love for her. Nevermind Isabel's little crush on him- she's far too old. She agrees to run the deli for awhile, putting her own work with the Review of Applied Ethics aside. Then, while eating lunch ...more
Aug 18, 2011 Jem rated it really liked it
The second instalment in the Sunday Philosophy Club series (Isabel Dalhousie novels) was almost as good as the first. It was intriguing to see more exposition of Isabel as a human being with human flaws and failings; namely occasional jealousy, a tendency to jump to conclusions and the odd touch of paranoia. In this series so far, as in the 44 Scotland Street series, Edinburgh and it's character as a city pervades all aspects of the book and as someone who loves the city that works well for me! ...more
Jan 19, 2016 Gail rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book
Alexander McCall Smith writes charming, thoughtful books. This series I think of as a love poem to Scotland and to Edinburgh in particular. Lots of rich, lovely details of the struggles of Scottish identity and modern life.

Isabel is a philosopher, editor of an academic journal on moral philosophy. Her encounters with people, situations, and entertainment bring forth her thoughts. She's also, truth be told, a little nosy. She takes upon herself the chore of solving people's problems either by th
Jul 22, 2013 Stig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-in-english
Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favourite writers, and it's always a joy to dig into one of his books. I'm pretty much up to date with his Botswana novels and his 44 Scotland Street stories, and now it's time to have a serious go at his series about Isabel Dalhousie, slightly frustrated middle-aged ethical philosopher.

I have seen it remarked that nothing much ever happens in an Alexander McCall Smith novel. That is both true and false. There is not much high drama, and conflicts, such as th
Aug 05, 2007 Nicole rated it really liked it
I am a big fan of McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, but was disappointed when I began reading this newer series, starting with The Sunday Philosophy Club. I didn't find Isabel Dalhousie anywhere near as endearing as Mma Ramotswe, but I decided to press on and read Friends, Lovers, Chocolate to see if the series improved any.[return]I enjoyed this book much more than the first in the series. Isabel seemed more likable and a bit funnier, whereas I had only found her strange and ...more
Jun 20, 2008 Liz rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who appreciate witty humor
The Isabel Dalhousie series is close to the Ladies' No. 1 Detective Agency series as far as style goes, but different enough that it doesn't feel like the same story written over again. This story is aimed towards a more sophisticated audience, however; there were quite a few words in this book that I had to either use context clues to decipher the meaning or convince myself that the meaning was unimportant to the storyline (too lazy to grab my dictionary, I'm afraid).

It's amazing to me that a m
Dec 31, 2007 Anne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second installment in Smith's Isabel Dalhousie series about a meddling philosopher in Scotland. Isabel edits a philosophy journal, moonlights at her beautiful niece's deli, maintains friendships with a budding musician 15 years her junior, and interjects her opinions with reckless abandon wherever she pleases. In this one, Isabel meets a gentleman by the name of Ian, a recent recipient of a heart transplant. Ian has been experiencing strange visions and memories, and considers the po ...more
Camelia Rose
Friends? Yes.
Lovers? Maybe.
Chocolate? Theoretically and philosophically yes.
Mystery? A little, rather unimportant.
Philosophy and ethics? A lot.

A slow-paced modern day Edinburg city scene. The protagonist, Isabel Dalhousie, a wealthy woman and an editor of an intellectual magazine, is better developed in the second instalment of Sunday Philosophy Club. Smart and sometimes self-righteous, yet it does not take long for her to become self-aware. I rather like her constant philosophical musing.

Aug 10, 2014 Jean rated it it was amazing
This, the second book of McCall Smith's , " Sunday Philosophy Club " trilogy " leads me directly on to the third and final book, " The Right Attitude to Rain "

Not only to I lean toward the philosophical/ethical musings of the main character, Isabel Dalhouse, editor of the, "Review of Applied Ethics" , but I find in her a companion to my thoughts, where as in real life I often get "looks" as does she when these thoughts are verbalized.

And, when I'm through with the final edition......I'll miss yo
Aug 01, 2015 Saba rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a nice book. I love philosophy in a fictional setting. lol
Honestly, though, this was a pretty good read. There was a review that said that it was like talking to you beast friend, I totally agree. The whole book felt like a mini-vacation with a best friend. Very simple and down-to-earth this book, yet some of the philosophical question that Isabel Dalhousie asks in the book are so deeply ingrained in my mind now.
Do pick it up if, like me, you need something light yet engaging.
Kathleen Dixon
Jan 23, 2008 Kathleen Dixon rated it really liked it
This is the second of the Isabel Dalhousie series, and ordinarily I prefer to read the first first, but as I'm trying to wend my way through books on my WaitShelf I decided to read this anyway. I'd have to order the first from the library, and I've already broken my intention to get nothing from the library until I'd read all my own books. So the second has come first.
Not a problem - the author has threaded enough in about the protagonist to make the allusions to the Sunday Philosophy Club (the
Joanna Mcdonald
Dec 14, 2007 Joanna Mcdonald rated it it was ok
This is book about a philosopher Isabel Dalhousie who is asked by her cousin (Cat) to look after her cafe while she is away on holiday.

While working in the Cafe, one of the customers, she discovers, has recently had a heart transplant and is now being plagued by memories that cannot be rationally explained and which he feels do not belong to him. He confides in Isabel over lunch at the Scottish Arts Club.

Isabel is intrigued so much so that she finds herself accompanying her housekeeper Grace to
May 14, 2015 Dolly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Alexander McCall Smith fans
I've read several of the author's books and this is the second I've read in the Sunday Philosophy Club series.

While I liked this story, I had many of the same issues with this one that I had with the first one. At least in the first book, the characters were new and the plot was a bit more exciting.

This time around, the characters seemed more whiny, more two dimensional and the book rambled so much, it often felt like there was no storyline.

Overall, it just didn't seem as well put together as
May 12, 2015 Valerie rated it liked it
A warm book to curl up with. Unfortunately I didn't realize this was the second in the series--will have to go back and read the first. Smith has a very personable way of writing that makes the world feel like a cozier place.
Nov 12, 2014 Norah rated it really liked it
I'm enjoying this series as much as the Number One Ladies Detective Agency...I love Isabel's philosophical thinking. "Comfort food" reading, for me.
Nov 01, 2014 Harold rated it liked it
Typical of this author.
John Szalasny
May 31, 2016 John Szalasny rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If it wasn't for narrator Davina Porter, I would have given up on this book half way through. Isabel Delhousie may say she is not Obsessive/Compulsive, but she definitely is, and is one of the annoying OCD people. Getting involved in the business of a stranger, with half-baked research and her rationalizing that she is doing the "moral" thing puts her situations that are unsettling for the people she comes in contact with (as well as the reader). Having friends who enable the OCD by not putting ...more
Beth Bonini
Mar 28, 2016 Beth Bonini rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Having read five Isabel Dalhousie books in quick succession, it's difficult to go back and remember the specifics of each plot. Each book follows a sort of formula, with much philosophising about human behaviour and substantial side notes about Isabel's primary interests: music, art, poetry and the city of Edinburgh. Plot is not terribly important in these books, although there is some sort of mystery in each one -- which requires Isabel to bring her moral philosophising skills plus some sleuthi ...more
Feb 09, 2016 Karen rated it liked it
There was only one passing mention of chocolate in this book. So, Mr. Alexander McCall Smith, famous author of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series, you don't really need to use cheesy tricks like putting the word "chocolate" in the title of your book to get people to read it.

As for the plot, the actual mystery was short and simple enough to have been a short story. The book is interesting to those who enjoy the Isabel Dalhousie mystery series, because so much of it is about Isabel's musi
Jan 30, 2016 Robin rated it really liked it
In the sequel to The Sunday Philosophy Club, Isabel Dalhousie of Edinburgh, Scotland reflects, as moral philosophers do, on duty, weakness of will, and even whether memory may be seated somewhere other than the brain. Along the way she is diverted by a mystery in which a heart transplant recipient seems to have received, as well, the donor's dying memory of the face of his killer.

For one thing, her niece Cat returns from attending a wedding in Italy, followed by a handsome Italian suitor who is
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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what ...more
More about Alexander McCall Smith...

Other Books in the Series

Isabel Dalhousie (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Sunday Philosophy Club (Isabel Dalhousie, #1)
  • The Right Attitude to Rain (Isabel Dalhousie, #3)
  • The Careful Use of Compliments (Isabel Dalhousie, #4)
  • The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday (Isabel Dalhousie, #5)
  • The Lost Art of Gratitude (Isabel Dalhousie, #6)
  • The Charming Quirks of Others (Isabel Dalhousie, #7)
  • The Forgotten Affairs Of Youth (Isabel Dalhousie, #8)
  • The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (Isabel Dalhousie, #9)
  • The Novel Habits of Happiness (Isabel Dalhousie, #10)
  • At the Reunion Buffet (Isabel Dalhousie, #10.5) (Isabel Dalhousie Novels)

Share This Book

“But don't we often lie to people we love, or not tell them things, precisely because we love them?” 46 likes
“You have to leave your heart to get on with it. It's rather like breathing. We don't have to remind ourselves to breathe.” 19 likes
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