I’ve written about Alexander McCall Smith before — several times. Maybe this is my fifth post…or even my sixth. It’s not that McCall Smith’s a great writer, nor that his books are especially thought-provoking. It’s just that they are truly entertaining in a comforting sort of way. At least the Botswana and Germany series are; the Sunday Philosophy Club novels are a bit too…well…philosophical too be called entertaining, and I never could get into the Corduroy Mansions or 44 Scotland Street series, though I tried.
Most recently I read Blue Shoes and Happiness, a novel in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, which takes place in Botswana. Like the others, this is fun to read, with important underlying points that tickle the back of your mind rather than confronting you head-on. It’s more character-oriented than most of the previous books, although a gentle character development has always been one of McCall Smith’s hallmarks. You get setting and characters much more than plot or action. You get a sense of place and a sense of person. Although I thought that Blue Shoes and Happiness was a particularly good specimen of the series, I can’t really recommend starting there. Read them from the beginning!
By the way, the series that takes place in Germany is delightfully known as the Portuguese Irregular Verbs Series. What could be better?