Thursday, April 20, 2006

Book Review: "Blue Shoes and Happiness"

Run don't walk to the bookstore to sccop up Alexander McCall Smith's latest book, "Blue Shoes and Happiness." It's the latest novel in the charming and unpretentiously beautiful "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series.

As a writer, Smith is very Austen-like in that he's able to elevate everyday occurrences to character studies. It's refreshing to know that in a world where so much happens, there's a place where there is order and meaning. Returning back to Smith's characters is like going home again and always being welcome.

From Publishers Weekly:

The seventh entry in the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series (after 2005's In the Company of Cheerful Ladies) reaffirms Smith's considerable gifts as a writer. His familiar characters offer further facets of their personalities, and their gentle, tolerant approach to life remains a refreshing contrast to most fictional figures, let alone those populating most mysteries. The author's love for his creations and for his Botswana setting are evident on every page. While the plot will be of secondary importance to fans of Precious Ramotswe, the "traditionally-built," self-taught private detective, and her assistant, Grace Makutsi, Smith presents them with several mysteries, including the search for the identity of a blackmailer and the source of malaise at a nearby game reserve. Ramotswe's intuition and understanding enable her to find the truth, while dispensing justice according to her own personal dictates. Even newcomers will be charmed by this wonderful novel, with its skillful blend of humor and pathos, and will doubtless rush to catch up with the earlier books.

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