Laura de Leon's Reviews > Tea Time for the Traditionally Built

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith
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May 12, 09

bookshelves: fiction, audiobook
Read in May, 2009

I didn't enjoy this as much as previous books in the series. I don't know if I was just not in the right mood for it, or if the book wasn't that compelling. All of the books have a very comfortable feel to them, like hanging out with interesting neighbors. In this book, the neighbors are having an off day.

The mystery of the under-performing football team led to some interesting observations on human nature. I think there are a lot of similar conversations happening locally as we have the mystery of the under-performing hockey team. I didn't have any problems with this story line, but it wasn't enough to carry the book.

A second storyline involved Mma Makutsi and her nemesis from her secretarial school days, Violet Sephotho. Violet has decided that Mma Makutsi's fiancé, Mr. Phuti Radiphuti, is too good for Mma Makutsi,and she decides to claim him for herself. I liked the storyline, but I had some problems with how it was handled. Fairly early on, we have a couple of scenes where the reader sees Violet with Mr. RadiPhuti, putting this plot line in action. Everything after that we see from Mma Makutsi's POV. I would have liked this to be consistent through the book. Either POV would have been fine with me. In addition, although the Violet story is wrapped up, I didn't feel a sense of resolution at the end with Mma Makutsi and Mr. Phuti Radiphuti.

I'm not sure if the fate of Mma Ramotswe's tiny white van makes it to plotline, or if it is a running thread. It is a sweet story, and may be setting up a plot for the next book.

There were a number of other small stories and themes running through the book. I think the cultural observations that came out of discussions of chairs and walking and other subjects were some of the most interesting parts of the books.

Throughout the book, there was a lot of foreshadowing of dire events, which never came to pass. I'm not sure if this is a statement in itself, or another set up for the next book, or if I just have an over active imagination.

I listened to the audiobook. The narrator was wonderful as always, and really adds to the experience for me.

Fans of the series will enjoy this. Casual readers can decide whether or not they want to pick it up. I would not start reading with this book.
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