BookBrowse Reviews Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith

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Blue Shoes and Happiness

by Alexander McCall Smith

Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith X
Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2006, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2007, 240 pages

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A tale as refreshing as a month in the country - the country of Botswana. Mystery

From the book jacket: 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.

Comment: What can be said about the glorious Mma Ramotswe that hasn't been said before? Not a lot really - but 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!

McCall Smith, known to his friends as Sandy, began the now highly successful 'No 1 Ladies Detective Agency' series in 1996, after being inspired by the sight of a 'traditionally built' Botswanan lady chasing down a chicken for a meal. The first book in the series - 'The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency' was published in the UK in 1998 but didn't arrive in the USA until 2001.

The eighth in the series, The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, has just been released in hardcover in the UK, and will be out in the USA next month.  For some time McCall Smith has been saying that he will cap the series at eight books, and The Good Husband is No. 8 - so, sadly, this may well be the last we'll hear from Mma Ramotswe.

  1. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
  2. Tears of The Giraffe
  3. Morality For Beautiful Girls
  4. The Kalahari Typing School For Men
  5. The Full Cupboard of Life
  6. In The Company of Cheerful Ladies
  7. Blue Shoes and Happiness
  8. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (UK: March '07, USA: Apr '07)

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in April 2006, and has been updated for the March 2007 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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