Blue Shoes and Happiness
by Alexander McCall Smith
Alexander McCall Smith has created, in his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, an intimate cast of delightful characters. Mma Ramotswe, who loves to drink red bush tea, is the ‘traditionally built’ owner of the only ladies’ detective agency in Botswana. She relies on Clovis Anderson’s The Principles of Private Detection, to guide her in her work. Her assistant and secretary is Mma Makutsi, an opinionated woman who scored a highly prized 97% from the Botswana Secretarial College. She is partial to stylish shoes, which seem to have opinions of their own. These two women work out of a back office at Tiokweng Road Speedy Motors, a garage owned by the kind and hardworking Mr J.L.B Matekoni.
Heartwarming stories unfold, introducing the reader to the culture of Mma Ramotswe’s beloved Botswana, as she works to resolve “everyday life” cases with great personal insight. Her investigations lead her not only to resolve mysteries, but also to heal hurts and divisions by respecting the dignity of the brothers and sisters of her country.
In Blue Shoes and Happiness, the 7th book of this series, Mma Romatswe is faced with two cases: one of blackmail involving a cook who is feeding her husband stolen food, and another tracking a doctor who is profiting by selling generic drugs at high prices.
These stories are intertwined with Mma Ramotswe’s decision to go on a diet to reduce her “traditional build”, as well as Mma Makutsi’s dilemma of scaring off her fiancé with talk of being a feminist.
The deft touch of a master storyteller brings these plots and characters to life in a way that resonates long after you set down the book. McCall Smith awakens the reader to consider the subject of our shared humanity, no matter where we live on this planet, or what circumstances arise.
A Carrion Death by Michael Stanley
The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie
Friday the Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman