It’s hard to believe, but apparently this is my seventh post about Alexander McCall Smith’s novels. Most recently (Dec. 15) I reviewed The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection. Since that point I’ve read two more in the Botswana series, one in audiobook form and one in dead-tree form: The handsome man’s deluxe cafe and The woman who walked in sunshine. I enjoyed both of these — partly because of their similarities and partly because of their differences.
The handsome man’s deluxe cafe (#15 in the series) is a lot like the previous novels, except that it focuses particularly on issues of trust: mistrusting when you should trust and particularly trusting when you shouldn’t. I’m not sure that I want to say anything more specific, other than to observe that the story can be understood as a stand-alone novel but is much more meaningful if you’ve read the earlier works. Lisette Lecat, as usual, is a wonderful narrator for the audiobook; she truly brings a distinctive voice to each character and keeps the listener completely involved.
Next in the series comes The woman who walked in sunshine. This one continues the trend toward some more serious issues, including some explicit philosophical discussions that reflect the other side of McCall Smith. Because I’ve listened to so many of his novels as audiobooks narrated by Lecat, it’s her voice that I hear in my head when I’m actually reading one of his novels as a physical book. I have no idea what the experience would be like if you’ve never heard the audio renditions. This one is charming and heartwarming, as usual, but it also has some darker moments with more serious conflicts than is typical in this sunny series. It also continues the theme of trusting people (or not). Read it…and find out what walking in sunshine is all about.