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Customer Review

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Precious Solves Mysteries and Creates Happiness, 11 May 2006
This review is from: Blue Shoes and Happiness (No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency) (Hardcover)
Readers who have not yet discovered this distinguished series are kindly advised to begin with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and work their way through the series in order of publication.

For those who have read the earlier books, Blue Shoes and Happiness will strike most as the best balanced and most rewarding book in this delightful series. The story has animal tales (one involving a cobra), several mysteries to resolve, challenges in Mma Makutsi's engagement, a detection training opportunity for Mr Polopetsi, more challenges with Mr J.L.B. Matekoni's apprentices, decisive purchases by Mr J.L.B. Matekoni and Mma Makutsi, and many reflections on the true nature of happiness by Precious Ramotswe. In particular, the story does a fine job of contrasting the older ways in Botswana with the newer, selfish ways.

I had the pleasure to hear Alexander McCall Smith speak during his recent book tour for the book, and I came away with the false impression that this story was mostly about Mma Makutsi and her new shoes. That episode is simply one of many that investigate the nature of a person's inability to resist certain temptations. Although this book comes close to be just a series of short stories, Alexander McCall Smith ties them together so masterfully that you rarely think of the book as anything other than a lovely flowing novel.

To me, the best part of this book was that it developed the characters more than most books in the series have done. Dr. Smith uses both dialogue and action well to help us appreciate who these characters are.

I thought that the mysteries were nicely rewarding. The solutions were not obvious (except in retrospect) and helped tie the overall themes of the book together. I have to believe that this book was influenced, in part, my readers' love of seeing Precious detect in the context of the truly unique setting of Botswana.

You have a great treat ahead of you. Order this book today!
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Donald Mitchell
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