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Blue Shoes and Happiness (No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency) Hardcover – 9 Mar 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Polygon; 1st edition (22 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904598633
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904598633
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 14.4 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 672,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world's most prolific and most popular authors. His career has been a varied one: for many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the United Kingdom and abroad. Then, after the publication of his highly successful 'No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series, which has sold over twenty million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty-six languages and become bestsellers through the world. These include the Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in The Scotsman, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, the Von Igelfeld series, and the Corduroy Mansions series, novels which started life as a delightful (but challenging to write) cross-media serial, written on the website of the Telegraph Media Group. This series won two major cross-media awards - Association of Online Publishers Digital Publishing Award 2009 for a Cross Media Project and the New Media Age award.

In addition to these series, Alexander writes stand-alone books. 2014 sees publication of three new novels which fall into this area: 'The Forever Girl'; 'Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party'; and 'Emma' - a reworking of the classic Jane Austen novel. This year there will also be a stunning book on Edinburgh, 'A Work of Beauty: Alexander McCall Smith's Edinburgh'. Earlier stand alone novels include 'La's Orchestra Saves the World' and 'Trains and Lovers: A Hearts Journey'.

Alexander is also the author of collections of short stories, academic works, and over thirty books for children. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the British Book Awards Author of the Year Award in 2004 and a CBE for service to literature in 2007. He holds honorary doctorates from nine universities in Europe and North America. In March of 2011 he received an award from the President of Botswana for his services through literature to that country.
Alexander McCall Smith lives in Edinburgh. He is married to a doctor and has two daughters.

Product Description


The books possess a beguiling simplicity that is hard to convey without making them seem fey, when in fact they are direct, vivid and down-to-earth ... what he achieves in his No.1 Ladies (Detective Agency novels is the depiction in the lives of his main characters of a benign system of morality - derived by Mma Ramotswe from the old-fashioned ways of doing things')

DAILY TELEGRAPH ('Nothing spoils [McCall Smith's] vision of Botswana as a place where decent people triumph over mischief-makers')

SUNDAY TIMES ('Nothing will dim the charm of McCall Smith's series, with its portraits of goodness, its sorrow over greed and its profound love of Africa. They are among the greatest comfort-reads of all time, written in plain, elegant prose.')

Amanda Craig, INDEPENDENT ('[BLUE SHOES AND HAPPINESS has] the quiet sophistication of the previous novels and its simplicity is deceptive.These novels take us through the looking glass into an Africa we rarely hear about, but their main purpose is to hold a mirror to our own socie) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

* No. 7 in the marvellous Mma Ramotswe series --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 4 April 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've read everything by this author and, like so many reviewers, prefer the traditionally built charms of Mma Ramotswe to his other characters.
I waited patiently for the next instalment of the No1 Ladies series but was not disappointed with Blue Shoes and Happiness. Like the previous books this is enjoyable fluff - no deep, dark hidden meaning here (this is a WYSIWYG book!), just enjoyable characters with a non too challenging storyline. Perfect for reading at the end of a hard day at work as it transports you to beautiful Botswana, sunshine and red bush tea.
I'd like a bit more "meat" in the next book please Mr McCall Smith - give something to Precious that will stretch or challenge her a bit - life is a bit too easy! Maybe consider a non-happy ending, a cliffhanger or something to keep us gagging for the next book?
Lastly, congrats to Mma Ramotswe on the death of her diet. May traditionally built women thrive and prosper!! ;o)
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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Kali on 18 May 2006
Format: Hardcover
Blue Shoes and Happiness" is yet another superb book from the much understated Alexander Mccall Smith who has given millions of readers a real taste of life in Botswana, a little African country with an amazing history.

In this new instalment Precious Ramotswe and her shrewd assistant Mma Makutsi, have a frightening encounter with a cobra in their office, an ill omen in the guise of a wounded bird, good intentions by one of Mma Ramotswe's employees, a new chair, and a diet that gets out hand, along with a nasty blackmail plot that involves Mma Ramotswe doing some delicate sleuthing in a private school's kitchen to find out who the culprit is and bring them to task.

Add to this a pair of tight fitting but gorgeous blue shoes that gently thread their way through the story line, lashings of bush tea and the wisdom of a Botswana lady detective who understands the frailties of human nature and what makes people tick, she is a kinder version of Agatha Christies's Jane Marple, and with Mma Ramotswe we don't get too many red herrings but we do get the odd twist in the tale in a comfortable read that is both intelligent and enjoyable.

I have to add to this review that I just love the titles of Mccall Smith's books in this particular series; they are so delicious you almost want to put them between two slices of bread and have them for supper with a cup of bush tea! Superlative is all I can say for both book and title!
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By David A. Green on 18 Mar. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I awaited the arrival of this book with anticipation. I am not disappointed. I am back in Botswana and immersed in the wisdom and wit of the characters. Whilst the chapters have a way of switching between running themes the book is delightful and I will not be giving it away but keeping it to re-read again and again. Tired of the cold English winter - step out into the sun. This book will not let you down.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By L O'connor on 17 Mar. 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had feared that Alexander McCall Smith had abandoned the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency in favour of writing about his rather boring Edinburgh detective. Happily, here we are back in Botswana with Mma Ramotswe, the 'tradiitionaly built' lady detective, and all the other charming characters we are familiar with.
Mma Ramotswe has as usual an interesting selection of problems to solve, a cook who is stealing food, a doctor who may be cheating his patients, and a case of blackmail. She also has more personal problems to deal with, like her worry about her size, which causes her to go on a diet. And her assistant, Mma Makutsi, is having trouble with her fiancee, she fears she may have frightened him away by her confession that she is a feminist "Men are very frightened of feminists" as Mma Ramotswe explains.
Of course, everything is sorted out by the end, as it always is, and everyone is happy again. These books are full of delightful characters, quiet humour, and lyrical descriptions of Botswana and its people and customs. A delight to read.
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85 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Judith Cooper on 5 Mar. 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was delighted to buy this book ahead of publication date and rushed home to read it. I was not disappointed.
This book sees Mma Ramotswe wondering whether she should go on a diet as traditionally built ladies seem to not be in favour
any more.
There are problems too for Mma Makutsi in her engagement to Phuti Radiphuti, and the No.1 ladies detective agency engages the services of Mr Polopetsi in solving some tricky cases.
Yet again Smith evokes images of the Botswanan landscape that makes it easy to imagine that you as the reader are there yourself under the blue skies and hot sun.
Mma Ramotse dispenses advice with her usual wisdom and patience.
Overall a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Barnes on 25 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
If you've enjoyed all of the other books in the series, then you should enjoy this one too!! I just love this series. Set in Botswana, Alexander McCall Smith writes so superbly, enabling the reader to cross continents and be right there in Gabarone with Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi and Mr J.L.P. Matekoni. With touches of understated comic irony, this series are just a delightful light-hearted read. Watch out for the moral elements - Mma Ramotswe spends a lot of her time philosophising on life, and the good old days in particular when morals were better, young people were more polite and there was more respect in society... but her moments of reflection just add to the charm of these novels!

In this, the 7th in the series, life is finally becoming a little more settled for Mma Ramotswe. She is now happily married to Mr J.L.B. Matekoni (proprietor of the respected local garage "Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors"), between them forstering two children from the local orphanage. Her detective agency business is now respected and established and her assistant Mma Makutsi has finally found herself a suitable suitor / fiance! (although she still can't resist a new pair of shoes!!). However, Mma Ramotswe allows doubts to creep in regarding her traditionally built figure... perhaps she should start a diet? And some strange events require investigating... possible withcraft, a case of blackmail.

If you're new to the series, I recommend you start with the first book, "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency".
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