Sally906's Reviews > Blue Shoes and Happiness

Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith
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's review
Mar 11, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: mystery
Read in July, 2010

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 of the new – especially when it comes to solving mysteries.

There are, as usual, several mysteries to solve – the blackmail of a teacher, game park employees who all seem very scared and a doctor who is deliberately making incorrect diagnoses. The cases are all eventually solved due to traditional common sense and the consumption of vast quantities of red bush tea. In between the detection there runs the personal stories of Mma Ramotswe’s assistant, Mma Grace Makutsi, is now engaged to Phuti Radiphuti, a timid but prosperous furniture salesman who she met at a dance class. One evening she makes a careless comment about women’s rights that may have put an end to their relationship. Mma Ramotswe uses tact and gentle suggestions to advise the younger woman while she herself is struggling with the potential health issues of being a very traditionally built woman and decides to go on a diet. The reader is also introduced to a new staff member, Mr Polopetsi, whose position in life has been reduced due to him serving time in jail for a crime he never committed.

I love this gentle series which for me stands out in a plethora of gloomy, dark and angst-ridden mystery fiction. These are major characters that have strong morals, forgiving characters and treat one another with respect, even when dealing with crooks.
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