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Blue Shoes and Happiness (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #7)

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  21,298 Ratings  ·  967 Reviews

Fans around the world adore the best-selling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series and its proprietor, Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s premier lady detective. In this charming series, Mma  Ramotswe—with help from her loyal associate, Grace Makutsi—navigates her cases and her personal life with wisdom, good humor, and the occasional
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Anchor (first published January 1st 2006)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) <spoiler>: Yes, because Mma Ramotswe doesn't call him "doctor" when she mentions his case, she calls him "Mr" and yet Auntie Imang says, "I…more<spoiler>: Yes, because Mma Ramotswe doesn't call him "doctor" when she mentions his case, she calls him "Mr" and yet Auntie Imang says, "I don't know this Dr. So-and-so" (I can't remember the name right now). By saying that she reveals that she does know who it is, and is indeed blackmailing him.</spoiler>(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 30, 2008 Shiloh rated it really liked it
Recommended to Shiloh by: Karen Huggins recommended the series
Shelves: african-reads
This is the sixth book in the "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series that I have read. This book was so much fun for me, not just because it is a easy read and a fun story, but it has so many memories. I love that I know what the hot Botwana sun feels like , or what Kigale hill looks like, or that I can pronounce the Setswana words. I can relate to Mma Ramotswe (which was also the name of our nanny) on what a unique country Botswana is politically in Africa and the pride in their first president ...more
Oct 31, 2011 Kyrie rated it liked it
I think I have to read one of these books every so often, just connect with a slower, gentler, kinder culture. The mysteries are not gory. The solution to problems are often simple. The world would be better if we'd all try a bit harder to just be nice.
Anne Hawn Smith
There are so many great reviews of these books that it is hard to not be repetitive. This book was one of my favorites because of Mma Makutsi and her "blue shoes." Like so much else in Smith's books, the shoes are a vehicle for philosophy. There is a contrast between Mma Ramotswe's contented life and Mma Makutsi's need driven one. Mma Ramotswe sits under trees and looks at the land with such contentment and joy. She doesn't escape from her problems, but she does let the land put them into perspe ...more
Shoma Patnaik
The only other book in the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series I've read is the first one and so perhaps I should have waited to read books number two to six before jumping straight to the seventh in the series. However, I couldn't resist buying whatever was available when I went to the book store yesterday and in any case, I have maintained a rich tradition of reading books out of order.

It goes without saying that reading this one was as enjoyable as the first one, the warm Botswana sun a welc
This is definitely comfort reading for me. Nothing much happens but everything does happen. It's the little things that make me smile while I read the daily adventures of Mma Ramotswe and her assistant Mma Matkusi.

This one is a slow reflexion on happiness and what isn't good for you might ultimately make you happy anyway. Happiness is an elusive thing. It might be a beautiful pairs of blue shoes a size to small that you wear anyway just because. The important thing is to feel happiness and to r
Will Byrnes
Oct 05, 2008 Will Byrnes rated it liked it
This is number 7 in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. Grace Makutsi makes the mistake of telling her fiancé that she is a feminist, causing him to become afraid. Mma Ramotswe takes on the problem of a young lady chef who has seen her boss feeding her husband on company food, and is afraid she will be fired if she tells. The employees at a game reserve are being subjected to the fear of witchcraft. An advice columnist piques Ramotswe’s interest, and ire. She turns out to be a central cha ...more
Kathleen Dixon
It's nice to get back to this series - the characters continue to delight.

Here are a couple of passages that I want to remember:

This new-found fluency ,, enabled him to say things that he had been unable to say for years, and the words flowed out of him ... It was as if a drought had ended - a drought that had made for expanses of silence, as drought will dry up a salt pan and render it white and powdery - and the words were like longed-for rain, turning the land green at last. (p.51, hardcover
Jamie Collins
Another nice entry in this series, a quick, happy read. I'm looking forward to the HBO series based on these books, that starts at the end of March.
Blaine DeSantis
Nov 26, 2016 Blaine DeSantis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is now the 7th book in the series, and once again we are looking at a comfort book about a traditional lady (Mma. Ramotswe) and her No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency. As in all books, the actual cases take a back seat to both character development and Botswana (and I have won a few trivia games thanks to my knowledge of Botswana!). A lot happens and yet a lot does not happen. We have a few cases, none of which are going to be money makers for the Agency, and for the first time that I can rememb ...more
May 08, 2009 Isis rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Maybe I didn't like it quite as much as the previous one, but still, it is always wonderful to visit Botswana and lose myself in the world of the tiny white van and 97%, of Seretse Khama and the old Botswana morality. The intertwining plots perhaps had the common thread, this time, of vanity and pride: Mma Makutsi's statement about being a feminist nearly derailing her engagement (or so she thinks!), Mr. Polopoletsi's attempt to solve a problem on his own, Mma Ramotswe's diet, and of course, the ...more
Faith Spinks
May 16, 2015 Faith Spinks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, kindle, own-it, travel
I'm in Botswana again, so it had to be the next in the series for my travel reading. Another fun read on the exploits of Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi and Rra J.L.B Matekoni here in Gaborone. These books are great wherever read, but being in Botswana always adds that extra back drop to really bring it to life in my head.
Frances Belt
Feb 29, 2016 Frances Belt rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
P.D.R. Lindsay
Jun 11, 2014 P.D.R. Lindsay rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Someone complained that nothing happened in the Number One Ladies' Detective Agency novels. Well, I suppose if you look for an exciting, rapidly moving, plot driven story then yes, these books are not plot driven stories.

What they are, and this novel is a classic example, are stories about characters and ideas. Philosophy. And it's no surprise when Alexander McCall Smith is a philospher. The stories show Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi tackling ordinary people's problems and learning more about lif
Dec 25, 2010 Larisha rated it it was amazing
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 P ...more
Jan 27, 2011 Kristin rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Mma Ramotswe and Mma Maketoni continue to sleuth and contemplate life in Botswana. We are joined by a new character at Tolkweng Speedy Motors, a Rra Polopetsi - part garage assistant/part detective. In addition, Mma Maketoni now has a fiancee. The apprentices continue thier antics and girl chasing, the ladies contemplate shoes and weight, and Rra JLB Maketoni continues to work on engines.

I did not find this selection as engaging as some of the others. The various sub-plots were slow to develop
Mar 03, 2011 Rachael rated it it was ok
I was really disappointed by this book. I've read this entire series so far and loved every book until now. It was a bit boring and the almost every character kept having flashbacks that the author kept pointing out. I'm fine with the flashbacks, it just seemed like every character would get lost in their thoughts about the past and someone would have to say, "Um hello earth to Mma Ramotswe" and the character would then jump back into the converstaion. I don't think I'm expaining it well, but it ...more
Aug 09, 2015 Luann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, adult, gr-author, 2016
Like delicious comfort food, this is wonderful comfort reading.
Gláucia Renata
Feb 03, 2017 Gláucia Renata rated it it was amazing
Sétimo livro da deliciosa série Agência nº1 de Mulheres Detetives. Como sempre leitura leve, despretensiosa e tão confortável como uma boa xícara de chá. Sandy sempre nos chamando a apreciar as coisas simples da vida, tão esquecidas no nosso atribulado dia-a-dia. A felicidade está mesmo nas pequenas coisas.

Histórico de leitura

4% (9 de 240)

"Quando você está na idade certa, como Mma Ramotswe estava, e quando você já viu um pouco da vida, como Mma Ramotswe certamente tinha visto, então h
Oct 29, 2009 Aaron rated it it was amazing
This volume in the popular No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series is one that will keep readers hopping as it seems like everyone is looking for help from the agency.

One of the more interesting cases is brought to her by Botelo Mampodi, a nurse who has some concerns that the doctor she works for might not totally on the up-and-up as he seems to be excluding her from portions of exams that she normally would be involved with. Mma Ramotswe remembers the last time she had to deal with a doctor with q
Kathleen Payne
Dec 23, 2016 Kathleen Payne rated it really liked it
Looking through the list of books by Alexandar McCall Smith, I realized I had read this book about the blue shoes and the joy and happiness they bring to the owner. Four years later I read The Miracle at Speedy Motors and once again these "blue shoes" were mentioned in the narrative. Sometimes my shoes in my closet "speak to me!" "Wear me today, I am practical and comfortable... I will give you great comfort all day long!!" Those are the types of shoes I wear, comfortable black "brogues" as the ...more
Jenny Karraker
May 28, 2013 Jenny Karraker rated it it was amazing
I love these books from the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. The dialogue, description of the countryside and local customs, and vividly described characters all make you feel like you are there in Botswana. I laugh when I hear Mma Ramotswe talk about her traditional build, as she enjoys the greasy doughnut snacks. It seems like every culture has someone like her assistant, Grace Makutsi, a rather plain looking girl with big glasses who instead prides herself on her high scores from the th ...more
Mar 11, 2011 Sally906 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
BLUE SHOES AND HAPPINESS is the seventh book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and looks at some weighty issues such as looks at blackmail, superstition, feminism and medical corruption. Author, Alexander McCall Smith, successfully manages to show how Botswana is managing the balance between tradition and modernity, between village and city communities. The main character, Precious Ramotswe, is a traditionally built woman who follows the traditional values, but also embraces the possibilities ...more
Apr 21, 2010 Gill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-places
There is only one thing wrong with this series in my opinion: that is that there appear only to be 9 books! Despite rationing myself to reading these interspersed with various other reading matter, to eke out the supply, once I begin reading one I can do so in one or two sittings, and find it impossible to restrain myself to reading a section or a chapter at a time.
This is partly due to the contruction of these books. Instead of each story or chapter tackling one particular investigation, the
I have just realized I have never reviewed any of Alexander McCall Smith's series, though I have read from each one. McCall Smith's series are primers in "how to be kind." He calmly and rationally helps us to negotiate everyday conundrums that plague us and make us anxious and bitter. The thoughtful reactions he puts in the voice of Mma Ramotswe are kind and comforting, her solutions sensitive and gracious.

If blue shoes can bring happiness, it may be worth owning them even if they are too small
Aug 07, 2015 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
pg 68: "...ties of kinship, no matter how attenuated by distance or time, linked one person to another, weaving across the country a human blanket of love and community. And in the fibres of that blanket there were threads of obligation that meant that one could not ignore the claims of others. Nobody should starve; nobody should feel that they were outsiders; nobody should be alone in their sadness."

pg 152: "As a young woman she had been too naive to see evil in others. The young, Mma Ramotswe
Oct 22, 2010 Sonia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel, mystery
Blue Shoes and Happiness - The not-so-adventures and the journey-of-discovery-of-life continue for precious Ramotswe. The reader discovers in the process more intricacies and failings of human life. A person established in society can be doing something dishonest and someone who has not done any wrong can be punished for it and looked down upon by society. The tiny attractive failing of Mma Makutsi in buying the beautiful impractical shoes reminds us of similar things we have done sometime or th ...more
Jun 04, 2012 Graham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
BLUE SHOES AND HAPPINESS, the seventh in Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, is undoubtedly the best yet. Smith's writing seems to improve with every novel: his language becomes more poetic, his details richer, his observations on the minutiae of human existence ever more prevalent and telling.

Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi and the other characters who fill out the pages of the book seem truer to life than ever before. In fact, everyone in the expanding cast is present here
Dick Gullickson
Mar 22, 2015 Dick Gullickson rated it really liked it
The small country of Botswana must enjoy the envy of all of its neighbors. It has enlightened leadership, a strong economy, high literacy rate, wonderful scenery and wild life, and a culture that emphasizes caring for ones neighbors. For those who are not familiar with this wonderful series of books, “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” you are really missing a treasure. Alexander McCall Smith left his homeland in Zimbabwe (like so many others) to teach law at the University of Botswana, provid ...more
In the middle of this story a paragraph stood out for me:
Mma Ramotswe looked up at the ceiling. She had recently read an article about this sort of problem [...] The article had described how difficult it was for whistle-blowers when they saw something illegal being done at work. In some countries, it had said, there were laws to protect the whistle-blower - in some countries, but she was not sure whether this was true of Botswana.

The poor author seems to be proudly comparing his own modern co
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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what ...more
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Other Books in the Series

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (1 - 10 of 17 books)
  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency  (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #1)
  • Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #2)
  • Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #3)
  • The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #4)
  • The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #5)
  • In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #6)
  • The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #8)
  • The Miracle at Speedy Motors (No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #9)
  • Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #10)
  • The Double Comfort Safari Club (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, #11)

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“Dieting was cruel; it was an abuse of human rights. Yes, that's what it was, and she should not allow herself to be manipulated in this way. She stopped herself. Thinking like that was nothing more than coming up with excuses for breaking the diet. Mma Ramotswe was made of sterner stuff than that, and so she persisted.” 6 likes
“Well, that's the important thing, isn't it, Mma? To feel happiness, and then to remember it.” 3 likes
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