Summary and book reviews of Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith

Blue Shoes and Happiness

By Alexander McCall Smith

Blue Shoes and Happiness
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  • Hardcover: Apr 2006,
    240 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2007,
    240 pages.

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Book Summary

In this latest installment in the internationally best-selling, universally beloved series, there is considerable excitement at The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. A cobra has been found in Precious Ramotswe’s office. Then a nurse from a local medical clinic reveals that faulty blood–pressure readings are being recorded there. And Botswana has a new advice columnist, Aunty Emang, whose advice is rather curt for Mma Ramotswe’s taste.

All this means a lot of work for our heroine and her inestimable assistant, Grace Makutsi, and they are, of course, up to the challenge. But there’s trouble brewing in Mma Makutsi’s own life. When Phuti Radiphuti misses their customary dinner date, she begins to wonder if he is having second thoughts about their engagement. And while Mma Makutsi may be able to buy that fashionably narrow (and uncomfortable) pair of blue shoes, it may not buy her the happiness that Mma Ramotswe promises her she’ll find in the simpler things—in contentment with the world and enough tea to smooth over the occasional bumps in the road.

Aunty Emang, Solver of Problems

When you are just the right age, as Mma Ramotswe was, and when you have seen a bit of life, as Mma Ramotswe certainly had, then there are some things that you just know. And one of the things that was well known to Mma Ramotswe, only begetter of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Botswana's only ladies' detective agency), was that there were two sorts of problem in this life. Firstly, there were those problems-and they were major ones-about which one could do very little, other than to hope, of course. These were the problems of the land, of fields that were too rocky, of soil that blew away in the wind, or of places where crops would just not thrive for some sickness that lurked in the very earth. But looming greater than anything else there was the problem of drought. It was a familiar feeling in Botswana, this waiting for rain, which often simply ...

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About This Book

With Blue Shoes and Happiness, Alexander McCall Smith returns to Botswana, where the offices of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency are firmly ensconced at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. Precious Ramotswe is sharing the space with her assistant, Grace Makutsi. With her detective business humming along, Mma Ramotswe is coping with a variety of difficulties including the moodiness of her husband, Mr. J. L. B. Maketoni. In the office, a potentially lethal cobra has managed to hide itself under Mma Makutsi's desk. Several incidents need investigating: a nurse from a local medical clinic reveals that faulty blood-pressure readings are being recorded there, and a woman writes a letter saying that she risks losing...
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Reviews

BookBrowse

What can be said about the glorious Mma Ramotswe that hasn't been said before? Not a lot really. However, having been one of the first (possibly the first) USA-based websites to recommend this series (before it was even available in the USA) it just doesn't seem right to allow a volume in the series to go unnoted - because a day or two in the company of McCall Smith's 'traditionally built' protagonist makes the world look just that little bit sunnier, by reminding us that pleasure can be found in the smallest of things!   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews
The Observer

It's not hard to see why Alexander McCall Smith's novels have become so successful. They are a paean to a much-loved Africa and it's hard to find fault with such good-natured and pleasurable optimism.

The Independent - Amanda Craig

[The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency books] are among the greatest comfort-reads of all time, written in plain, elegant prose. Yet in focusing quite so much on the smaller picture, this latest book is in danger of losing the bigger background. The author is wise to have made an art out of the small good things of life, treasured like the water his heroine tips each day onto the parched roots of individual plants; but now, I would sacrifice some of the happiness his book gave me to see just a little more misery, and a little more truth.

Library Journal - Leslie Patterson

Fans of Botswana's No. 1 lady detectives Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi (In the Company of Cheerful Ladies) will be pleased to learn that the seventh novel in this series is just as entertaining as the previous six.

Kirkus Reviews

The denouement is the perfect climax to a tale as refreshing as a month in the country-the country of Botswana.

Booklist - Allison Block

Starred Review. Scotsman McCall Smith renders brisk, seamless tales that are both wry and profound. Amidst the mayhem (like the cobra that slithers its way into the detective agency's headquarters) are eloquent descriptions of the serene African country that holds a special place in his heart.

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Beyond the Book

McCall Smith describes the Botswanans as 'genuinely courteous people' He knows Botswana well as he grew up there and also spent several years on the law faculty of the University of Botswana; his volume on the legal system of Botswana (The Criminal Law of Botswana) remains the definitive and in fact, only book on the subject.

In 2004 he published the first in a new series, The Sunday Philosophy Club featuring Isabel Dalhousie, a Scottish-American professor of moral philosophy. The second in the series, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate, was published in 2005 The Right ...

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