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Friends, Lovers, Chocolate

(Isabel Dalhousie #2)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  11,565 ratings  ·  944 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
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published September 20th 2005 by Pantheon Books (first published 2005)
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Pam It ends a bit suddenly because the mystery has been resolved. The story itself is a continuing one, since this is a series. Keep reading!

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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  11,565 ratings  ·  944 reviews

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Start your review of Friends, Lovers, Chocolate (Isabel Dalhousie, #2)
Nov 20, 2007 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,
Nov 30, 2007 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.
Aug 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
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
Margaret H. Willison
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.
Jun 28, 2008 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
Madhulika Liddle
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I’ll admit I bought this book because it was written by Alexander McCall Smith. I had heard of the Isabel Dalhousie series, but McCall Smith and his The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency was the main reason I wanted to read this book.

The story centres round middle-aged divorcee Isabel Dalhousie, a philosopher (and editor of a literary review on applied ethics) who lives in Edinburgh. In love with her oblivious friend Jamie (who is fifteen years or so younger and is still deeply in love with
Apr 28, 2008 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
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such an easy, amusing little read. The second in a series, the book has a mystery that is tucked so gently among the pages that it barely registers. Instead the reader is treated to sort of a stream of consciousness from the heroine Isabel, who muses to herself about all kinds of subjects including her attraction to a younger man. Along the way, she manages almost effortlessly to solve the mystery. If there is a special category for Relaxing Reads, this one fits the bill.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars
Jul 20, 2015 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 15, 2015 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.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Sometimes a writer will sit back and contemplate philosophical thoughts. In other words, their minds drift. Seems like Smith decided to write a character for his musings. Isobel has to decide whether the recipient of a heart has the right to thank the donor family in person, even if they don't want to meet him.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Richard Derus
Jan 26, 2012 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
Anne Hawn Smith
Oct 13, 2009 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
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a delight. Its like a freshly baked, warm, buttery croissant. Light, airy, indulgent and fun. Sometimes thats exactly what you are looking for.

The heart of the novel are the characters and their relationships with one another. The mystery is not the main center of the plot. So if you are looking for a "who dunnit" this not the book for you.

But if youre in the mood to breeze through something that will make you smile. Then I would definitely say pick this up!
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alexander McCall Smith proved his genius with the The Sunday Philosophy Club, the debut novel in a second mystery series. The novel was as different from his Precious Ramotswe series as could be: Isabel Dalhousie is an extremely educated editor of an ethical journal in urban Edinburgh, while the kindly, clever but less sophisticated Mma Ramotswe labors in a smallish town in Botswana. Yet, you sense that the two women would get along like a house on fire if, by some miracle, they ever met.

Aug 16, 2011 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
Graeme Roberts
Apr 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Alexander McCall Smith makes some egregious errors in the structure of this story, confusing a relatively trivial and implausible little mystery for the A story, and the riveting romantic life of the main protagonist, the philosopher Isabel Dalhousie, as the B story, when it should have been the other way around. The undeserving A story is resolved with a whimper rather than a bang, while the edge-of-your-seat B story is left hanging like an arrested flasher's flaccidity.

Despite all of this, I
Sep 20, 2009 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
Karen Jarvis
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Disappointing, not a touch on Ladies Detective Agency books.
Aug 05, 2007 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
May 24, 2008 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
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
#readscotland readalong on IG - March 2018

Enjoyed the first Dalhousie novel, but was expecting a bit more of a mystery. When I picked up this second in the series I was more prepared, with the plot, story and mystery. Really enjoyed this second book, I still adore and admire Isabel, can I please be her! I also enjoyed the philosophical aspect of this novel a bit more too. Once again the mystery turned out to be quite logical to explain away or to solve. So, these novels are definitely best
Jan 19, 2016 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
Feb 07, 2012 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
Aug 03, 2007 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 ...more
Kathleen Dixon
Jan 21, 2008 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 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
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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

Other books in the series

Isabel Dalhousie (1 - 10 of 12 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)
  • A Distant View of Everything (Isabel Dalhousie #11)
“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.” 20 likes
More quotes…