Read Friends, Lovers, Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith Online


In this delightful second installment in Alexander McCall Smith’s bestselling detective series, the irrepressibly curious Isabel Dalhousie gets caught up in a highly unusual affair of the heart.When Isabel is asked to cover for vacationing Cat at her delicatessen, Isabel meets a man with a most interesting problem. He recently had a heart transplant and is suddenly hauntedIn this delightful second installment in Alexander McCall Smith’s bestselling detective series, the irrepressibly curious Isabel Dalhousie gets caught up in a highly unusual affair of the heart.When Isabel is asked to cover for vacationing Cat at her delicatessen, Isabel meets a man with a most interesting problem. He recently had a heart transplant and is suddenly haunted by memories of events that never happened to him.The situation piques her insatiable curiosity: Could the memories be connected with the donor’s demise? Naturally, Isabel’s friend Jamie thinks it is none of Isabel’s business. Meanwhile, Grace, Isabel’s housekeeper, has become infatuated with a man at her spiritualist meeting, and Cat brings home an Italian lothario. That makes for some particularly tricky problems–both practical and philosophical–for Isabel to unravel in this enormously engaging and highly unusual mystery....

Title : Friends, Lovers, Chocolate
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781400077106
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 261 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Friends, Lovers, Chocolate Reviews

  • Donna
    2019-04-04 21:59

    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, Platonic relationship with her niece's rejected lover encounters some complications. Isabel, an ethical philosopher d'un certain age continues her perennial, peripatetic examination of conscience while having fascinating conversations with an assortment of interesting people.Isabel has read and appreciated many of the same authors I have, such as Oliver Sacks and Antonio Demasio. When she mentions them in passing, I feel like I've known her for a long, long time and that sometime in the past, we must have discussed their books.

  • Caroline
    2019-04-17 01:49

    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 be the cause of the donor's death, and begins investigating into it.My favorite thing about Alexander McCall Smith is how cozy his books feel--there's major events going on, but they always end on such a positive note.

  • Margaret H.
    2019-04-27 00:50

    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.

  • Lain
    2019-04-02 18:10

    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.

  • Jessica
    2019-03-31 22:57

    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 ever happened. I flew through this book. Flew.

  • Carissa
    2019-04-13 22:14

    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 of the text that it’s just a passing thought. this was a very tiresome book. both of them were. i found them slightly irritating–not as bad as the professor what-his-name in the sausage dog book but still, annoying. i’ve only ever liked his africa series, so maybe i’ll go back to them. sigh. anyone got any great foodie fiction out there? i loved “eat cake” by jeanne ray….

  • Donna
    2019-04-14 18:03

    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.

  • Cyndi
    2019-04-19 01:13

    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.

  • Sue
    2019-04-08 20:07

    The premise behind the Isabel Dalhousie “Sunday Philosopher Club” series is this: Isabel is editor of an academic journal of ethics. It is her personal ethic that she is obliged to act upon her principles. She cannot simply sit back and be an observer. And so we have the set-up for an adventure.In Friends, Lovers, Chocolate, Isabel meets Ian, who is haunted by visions of a man he comes to believe must be the murdered donor of his transplanted heart. Ian would experience jolts of pain in his body always accompanied by a vision of a man's scarred face. Did the heart have a cellular memory of the killer? Isabel has to investigate.Isabel is skeptical that a heart recipient could literally have taken on the donor’s memories or fears. But she is taken with Ian and the possibility of a conundrum. She goes sleuthing across Edinburgh in search of the unknown heart donor. When she finds him, she learns that the donor's stepfather turns out to look much like the man of Ian's nightmares. In her soothing way, Isabel helps Ian to an understanding of how this face may have come to haunt him. The urbane and rational philosopher triumphs.The story of the heart’s memory is interleaved with a variety of other relationships in Isabel’s life. The cast of characters includes Cat, a favorite niece and gourmet deli owner; Grace, her housekeeper with spiritualist leanings; Jamie, the former boyfriend of Cat; Louise, the married woman with whom he has an affair; Tomasso, an Italian would-be lover of Isabel. In other words, a delightful Edinburgh menagerie from the fertile imagination of Alexander McCall-Smith.I read this at a moment when I needed a light and entertaining book. I knew just where to go to find it.I rather love it that the actual Sunday Philosophy Club never meets.

  • QNPoohBear
    2019-04-15 00:01

    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 one day, she meets Ian, a psychologist and recent heart transplant patient. They have a wonderful discussion on cellular memory and other [largely boring] philosophical discussions. Ian's questions aren't merely hypothetical. Since his heart transplant he has had a image in his mind of a man and is convinced it is a memory of the young heart donor. Isabel is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. She's certain there is a deeper mystery here, one that involves murder. Her housekeeper and friend Grace believes in spiritualism but Jamie is more practical minded. Both want to help Isabel get to the truth. She might be momentarily distracted by the Italian man who followed Cat home. Cat seems to be trying to set her aunt up! After reading his version of Emma, I was curious about Alexander McCall Smith. I liked his writing style in Emma but here I found it very ponderous. There was way too much philosophical discussion and ruminating on whether an older woman can be with a younger man. OK we get it! Isabel doesn't want to be a so-called cougar. I took offense at her stereotypes of Italian men. I know of more supposed Italian-American mafioso (in my own state) than I do in Italy. My parents have friends who fit neither stereotype and I felt Isabel's worries were unfounded. The mystery doesn't happen until about midway through and then it gets interesting. The resolution left me confused and disappointed. Isabel is a non-nonsense practical type. She's a spinster aunt of the old-fashioned style though she is only in her early 40s. I found it hard to relate to her though she is close to my own age. I thought perhaps the book was set in the past due not only to Isabel's behavior but also the references to Isabel using a corded phone and sending notes in the mail. (Or was Scotland that old-fashioned still in 2005?) Anyway, I found her long philosophical discussions boring and skimmed most of them. She seemed to come alive more when she met Ian, but sadly he's married so no romance there. Her potential romance never gets off the ground unfortunately and that part was kind of superfluous and bizarre. I didn't care enough about the novel or the characters to want to read more of the series.

  • Book Concierge
    2019-03-30 21:14

    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 in the series - The Sunday Philosophy Club back in 2009 and wasn’t very impressed. I think that was probably because I was expecting Precious Ramotswe, which was an unfair expectation. Having no such expectations this time, I liked this one much better. I enjoy the philosophical / ethical / moral dilemmas (both real and imagined) that Isabel contemplates. And I really like her relationship with the various characters – Cat, Ian, Jamie, Grace, et al. One of my favorite quotes comes when Isabel is thinking back on a childhood memory and begins to remember her mother: “…her mother, whose face she saw sometimes at night, in her dreams, as if she had never gone away, and who was still there, as we often think of the dead, in the background, like a cloud of love, against which weather we conduct our lives.” A cloud of love, against which weather we conduct our lives – I just love that image.There really isn’t much mystery here, and I wouldn’t categorize it in that genre. But it is a gentle, thoughtful read with endearing characters and some food for thought. Davinia Porter does a fine job performing the audio, with good pacing and sufficient skill as a voice artist to differentiate the characters.

  • Richard Derus
    2019-04-09 21:03

    Rating: 3.5* of fiveThe 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 unhappiness connected with the face. Isabel sets out to help him discover the identity of the man in his dreams, and the search takes her into some odd territory. The resolution to the story is no surprise, but very interesting nonetheless.But life being what it is, there is no shortage of other stuff going on in Isabel's life, including family drama, love affairs aborted and unformed (despite her now-explicit longing for a HIGHLY inappropriate man), and issues of moral consequence: What is our obligation to others when it risks compromising our own psychological well-being to act selflessly?Or, in practical terms, do I **HAVE** to be nice to that scumbag douchetard that's sleepin' with My Man?My Review: Even better than the first one! Bring on more, Mr. McCall Smith!

  • Anne Hawn Smith
    2019-04-05 19:54

    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 niece and her former boyfriend Jamie are a core part of the book. Isabelle's feelings for Jamie are very complicated and it is interesting to contemplate how the author is going to resolve them. How much interference in others lives is permissible?As much as I like these books, I find that I can only read a few at a time. There is so much to absorb and so many ethical questions to contemplate, that I have to grow into them. For people who like action and crime scenes, this series will be way too slow and the questions too cerebral, but I find them fascinating.

  • Elisabetta
    2019-04-09 19:15

    Questo è il primo libro delle indagini di Isabel Dalhousie che leggo (come al solito, lungi da me andare con ordine) e l'ho trovato delizioso!La protagonista, Isabel Dalhousie, professione filososa, è una persona molto particolare.La sua mente è sempre in movimento e mi divertivo a leggere di tutti i collegamenti mentali che faceva, ricordandomi quando perplesso, mio marito mi osservava chiacchierare con delle amiche.. se si perde un passaggio si è finiti!!A mio avviso questo rende bene l'idea di una mente particolarmente attiva, di una mente il cui lavoro è, appunto, pensare. In un passaggio parlava anche dell'etica morale del buffet, ovvero se era etico o no prendere più di quanto si mangia (magari per portarselo via).Insomma, dissertazioni di ogni genere che comparivano ovunque all'interno della storia.Anche la trama di questo mistero è alquanto particolare: un uomo che, dopo un trapianto di cuore, vede in visione il volto di un uomo.. (da qui anche la dissertazione se è possibile o meno la memoria cellulare)Un caso stravagante ed eccezionale in una Edimburgo che vorrei tanto visitare.

  • Jem
    2019-03-30 02:16

    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! As with the first book Isabel's thought processes and almost stream of consciousness tangents in relation to her philosophical conscience is engaging and peppered with academic references - some of which are familiar and others I'm very keen to chase up and discover for myself - but not to an overpowering extent. Though it would be good to see more development of Cat other than her string of suitable and not so suitable boyfriends, all of whom Isabel is predisposed against. Cannot wait to pick up the next in the series!

  • Sophia
    2019-04-21 01:58

    με λίγα λόγια... θα μπορούσα να μην το είχα διαβάσει. δεν θα έχανα κάτι...

  • Liz
    2019-04-07 20:11

    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 man could write so accurately about the mind of a woman, down to her wandering thoughts. Not that I'm saying all women get distracted and lost in thought, but there are a good many (including myself) who do.I am not usually a fan of mystery, but these books have enough background information and side stories that I can enjoy both. In this particular instance, I did not feel that the ending completely settled the mystery-- it felt more hastily thrown together, assuming you would just go along with it.This book can be easily read without reading 44 Scotland Street first. McCall-Smith does an excellent job of quickly reminding the reader of the background behind characters, which would be enough to read this book without reading the other.

  • Nicole
    2019-04-06 18:10

    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 unnatural in the first book. I also found the mystery aspect of the book less disjointed and much more satisfying - but I still wouldn't really call these "mysteries."[return]Isabel's relationship with Jamie seemed more believable, and we learn more about her age that helps here too - I had imagined her quite a bit older than she really is, but as I learn more about her I like reading about her meddlesome adventures more. I would recommend this to people who had only a so-so reaction to The Sunday Philosophy Club as it is definitely an improvement - and I'm hoping the third and fourth volumes will be even better. But if you really couldn't stand Miss Dalhousie and her ethical speculations, you're probably better off moving on.

  • Stig
    2019-04-17 19:09

    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 they are, are usually resolved quietly and gently. However, the characters reflect a lot on what is happening to them and around them and - perhaps most significantly - on how one should treat other people, and that is probably where the real action is. There is "much of a sameness" to McCall Smith's books, but it is such a comforting sameness! It is hard to review individual books without extensive plot summaries, and I don't want to do that. Let me just say that I really enjoy them, and that I am happy that McCall Smith is such a productive writer.

  • Gail
    2019-04-17 23:12

    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 thinking them through, researching, funding them (she is wealthy), or by interfering. Sometimes she blunders and sometimes she must beg forgiveness. All the way through, she thinks clearly and carefully (most of the time) about situations. These book are not long but you can't hurry through them either. I love his Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, a love poem to Botswana, and Corduroy Mansions as well. All because the characters are lovable. There's another series about spoiled thirty somethings that I don't care for.

  • Anne
    2019-04-12 22:01

    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 possibility that they belong to the young man whose heart he now carries. Isabel investigates the possibility, encountering various moral conundrums along the way. My favorite parts are Isabel's conversations with her housekeeper Grace - who may not be as educated or clever as Isabel, but has a wealth of practicality and advice to pass along nonetheless. This series is much better written than Smith's #1 Ladies Detective Series, but the characters are not quite as charming or clever.

  • Kathleen Dixon
    2019-03-30 22:14

    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 first book in the series) not obtuse, and I think reading it later will still be a pleasure.I'm not sure these are going to be as delightful as Mme Ramotswe (The No.1 Detective Agency protagonist), but rather nice nevertheless. A gentle read about an old-fashioned middle-aged Scotswoman and her friends and family combined with philosophical meanderings and little investigations.

  • Dolly
    2019-04-19 22:11

    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 some of his other books, but I'm sure I will look to read the next one as I love his descriptions of Edinburgh - it brings back fond memories.

  • Joanna Mcdonald
    2019-04-17 02:14

    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 a spiritualist meeting and headlong into a dangerous investigation. But she still has time to think about the things that possess her things like love and friendship, and of course, temptation.This is a good read, but the plot was quite predictable.

  • Camelia Rose
    2019-04-17 19:50

    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.This book makes me want to visit Scotland and Edinburg again.Not a book for mystery-seekers, nor it has anything to do with the typical Highland romance.

  • Jean
    2019-04-06 23:15

    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 you, Isabel.

  • Carol
    2019-04-16 19:50

    Isabel Dalhousie is a professional academic philosopher, who applies herself assiduously to the moral dilemmas of life. The dilemma central to this novel is about organ transplant and its effect on the recipient who has some troubling memories which he feels may belong to his donor. McCall Smith is an easy read, but he opens up some very deep questions about the human experience. And his descriptions of beautiful Edinburgh are fabulous.

  • Saba
    2019-04-06 00:01

    Such a nice book. I love philosophy in a fictional setting. lolHonestly, 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.

  • Valerie
    2019-04-07 02:17

    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.

  • Harold
    2019-03-28 21:10

    Typical of this author.