Amy's Reviews > Morality for Beautiful Girls

Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith
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Feb 11, 2011

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Read in February, 2011

Call it a “gentle read” or a “cozy mystery,” Morality for Beautiful Girls is a charming and easy read. Morality was written by Alexander McCall Smith, himself a fascinating character as a Rhodesian-born Scottish writer with a Ph.D. in law and a plethora of books, fiction and non, under his belt. It is the third in his series entitled The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, which feature the plucky Precious Ramotswe, her heart of gold, and the community mysteries in her beloved contemporary Botswana.

Morality is partly mystery-solving of course, but mostly conversations among neighbors; between colleagues; and about that which makes Botswana run. As in the previous Ladies Detective Agency novels, Ramotswe is faced with one challenge after another, from assisting a Government Man who suspects his brother has been poisoned; to tending to her ailing fiancé; to training her protégé detective/manager. But we as readers never feel too worried; never fret the tasks may be too great for the Agency. Rather we move at the pace of Africa; sharing bush tea with neighbors along the road to solving mysteries.

If you’re familiar with Smith’s other cozy reads, this fits the same mold: slowly paced plot; quirky characters who frequently banter in jest; some contemplations on life’s meaning; and a domesticated, rural setting. Morality is endearing and simple. But, as the book progressed, I grew to appreciate the ever-present themes of feminism and women’s rights. Smart, hard-working, independent women are praised throughout; and in a place traditionally run by dominant males (marriage “gave men most of the rights and left women with the duties” pg. 140), Smith’s empowered female leads were a treat to observe.

Ramotswe’s Agency seeks to “help people in need to resolve the unresolved questions in their lives” (59), through patient observation and very little drama. If such an approach sounds suitable to you, this hopeful, peaceful book may be a good addition to your nightstand.
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02/29 marked as: read

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