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Blue Shoes and Happiness: More from the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Paperback – Mar 13 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada (March 13 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0676976255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676976250
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #175,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this series and can hardly wait to start the next one but I was very disappointed at the condition this book was in. It was very dirty and stained. Should not have been put up for sale.
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By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on Sept. 3 2006
Format: Hardcover
Life in Botswana can become immensely complicated. The problem of finding parking space for a "tiny, white van" looms. A space that doesn't have aggressive posts nearby, for favourite. The reason the van sags on the driver's side is a different issue, however important. A fiance fearful of forceful feminism must be handled diplomatically. A "To-do" list includes shopping for shoes. A food thief must be dealt with because a job is at stake. Oh, yes, and there's a cobra slumbering away under one of the desks in the office of The Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

Precious Ramotswe's life addresses such complexities on a daily basis. Even at the worst of times, she must maintain her cool. That's not always easy during the dry season when even the sunrise, when she likes to walk in her garden, is already hot. Life can be further involved by heated exchanges. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni's apprentice, Charlie, provides one of these. Since the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency shares space with Mr J.L.B. Matekoni's vehicle repair garage, Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, the opportunities for such discussions are many. Especially as Charlie is young and inexperienced. And a man. Other complexities are more difficult to define, such as the pervasive feeling of discomfort among the staff of the Mokolodi Game Reserve. The Reserve is run by a good man, who is sensitive to his employees' feelings. But he's white and lacks the proper knowledge to deal with the issue. Mr Polopetsi, who orbits uncertainly between the garage and the Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, has the knowledge and applies a solution. Is it the proper one?

Clearly, if you're looking for fast-paced action by he-man private investigators or cunning "wimmin" who outthink the most devious wrong-doer, this is not the book for you.
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on July 15 2006
Format: Hardcover
Readers who have not yet discovered this distinguished series are kindly advised to begin with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and work their way through the series in order of publication.

For those who have read the earlier books, Blue Shoes and Happiness will strike most as the best balanced and most rewarding book in this delightful series. The story has animal tales (one involving a cobra), several mysteries to resolve, challenges in Mma Makutsi's engagement, a detection training opportunity for Mr Polopetsi, more challenges with Mr J.L.B. Matekoni's apprentices, decisive purchases by Mr J.L.B. Matekoni and Mma Makutsi, and many reflections on the true nature of happiness by Precious Ramotswe. In particular, the story does a fine job of contrasting the older ways in Botswana with the newer, selfish ways.

I had the pleasure to hear Alexander McCall Smith speak during his recent book tour for the book, and I came away with the false impression that this story was mostly about Mma Makutsi and her new shoes. That episode is simply one of many that investigate the nature of a person's inability to resist certain temptations. Although this book comes close to being just a series of short stories, Alexander McCall Smith ties them together so masterfully that you rarely think of the book as anything other than a lovely flowing novel.

To me, the best part of this book was that it developed the characters more than most books in the series have done. Dr. Smith uses both dialogue and action well to help us appreciate who these characters are.

I thought that the mysteries were nicely rewarding. The solutions were not obvious (except in retrospect) and helped tie the overall themes of the book together. I have to believe that this book was influenced, in part, by readers' love of seeing Precious detect in the context of the truly unique setting of Botswana.

You have a great treat ahead of you. Order this book today!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 16 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is book seven in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, and although it doesn't shine as brilliantly as book one, it's still as delightfully amusing as ever.

Mma Ramotswe of course remains the traditionally-built central character, but the other characters also come into their own. Mma Makutsi again steals a little thunder from her employer, and even Assistant-Assistant Detective Polopetsi gets in on the action this time. McCall Smith divides the story into little anecdotes, blending them throughout the book until he sorts it all out at the end.

A new advice columnist appears on the scene and becomes an instant hit, even though Mma Ramotswe is of the opinion that her replies could use a little more effort. Next, the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency gets a visit from an unwelcome guest, but thanks to the timely arrival of the manager of the Mokolodi Game Reserve and a cup of tea, everything soon goes back to normal. Well, almost normal, except that Mma Ramotswe decides that she may be a little TOO traditionally built, and takes the necessary steps to have this rectified.

Mma Makutsi feels that she has ruined her chances of marriage when she expresses her opinion on a controversial topic to her fiancé, but things seem a lot brighter after the purchase of a wonderful pair of high-heeled pointy-toed blue shoes.

Larceny, blackmail, witchcraft and fraud are all a part of "Blue Shoes and Happiness", another fine example of McCall Smith in his prime.

Amanda Richards
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 177 reviews
79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
Tight fitting blue shoes and a blackmail plot extraordinaire... April 17 2006
By Kali - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Blue Shoes and Happiness" is yet another superb book from the much understated Alexander Mccall Smith who has given millions of readers a real taste of life in Botswana, a little African country with an amazing history.

In this new instalment Precious Ramotswe and her shrewd assistant Mma Makutsi, have a frightening encounter with a cobra in their office, an ill omen in the guise of a wounded bird, good intentions by one of Mma Ramotswe's employees, a new chair, and a diet that gets out hand, along with a nasty blackmail plot that involves Mma Ramotswe doing some delicate sleuthing in a private school's kitchen to find out who the culprit is and bring them to task.

Add to this a pair of tight fitting but gorgeous blue shoes that gently thread their way through the story line, lashings of bush tea and the wisdom of a Botswana lady detective who understands the frailties of human nature and what makes people tick, she is a kinder version of Agatha Christies's Jane Marple, and with Mma Ramotswe we don't get too many red herrings but we do get the odd twist in the tale in a comfortable read that is both intelligent and enjoyable.

I have to add to this review that I just love the titles of Mccall Smith's books in this particular series; they are so delicious you almost want to put them between two slices of bread and have them for supper with a cup of bush tea! Superlative is all I can say for both book and title!
67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
The best yet April 18 2006
By C. Catherwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is the best yet.

What is fun about this book is that it deals with weighty matters - such as blackmail, medical corruption and things of that nature - in a way that make it accessible to ordinary readers, without the "in your face" moralizing of a book such as John Le Carre's The Constant Gardener. Some people complain that these wonderful Botswana novels are lightweight - far from it, since they deal with many major issues, but do so in a way that brings enormous pleasure to the reader at the same time.

It also deals with matters closer to the heart - the romantic story of Mma Makutsi, and the ups and downs of her relationship with her fiance could be straight out of Jane Austen, just set in another culture and time. The personalities are as delightful as ever and as utterly enjoyable.

As I write this the novel ranks somewhere in the 30s - what a shame, since it ought to be in the top ten and stay there. Buy a copy for yourself and ten copies for all your friends, as this is a wonderful addition to the series that you will want to read again and again.

Christopher Catherwood, author of CHURCHILL'S FOLLY: HOW WINSTON CHURCHILL CREATED MODERN IRAQ (paperback edition 2005)
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Precious Rights Wrongs and Helps Build Happiness May 11 2006
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Readers who have not yet discovered this distinguished series are kindly advised to begin with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and work their way through the series in order of publication.

For those who have read the earlier books, Blue Shoes and Happiness will strike most as the best balanced and most rewarding book in this delightful series. The story has animal tales (one involving a cobra), several mysteries to resolve, challenges in Mma Makutsi's engagement, a detection training opportunity for Mr Polopetsi, more challenges with Mr J.L.B. Matekoni's apprentices, decisive purchases by Mr J.L.B. Matekoni and Mma Makutsi, and many reflections on the true nature of happiness by Precious Ramotswe. In particular, the story does a fine job of contrasting the older ways in Botswana with the newer, selfish ways.

I had the pleasure to hear Alexander McCall Smith speak during his recent book tour for the book, and I came away with the false impression that this story was mostly about Mma Makutsi and her new shoes. That episode is simply one of many that investigate the nature of a person's inability to resist certain temptations. Although this book comes close to being just a series of short stories, Alexander McCall Smith ties them together so masterfully that you rarely think of the book as anything other than a lovely flowing novel.

To me, the best part of this book was that it developed the characters more than most books in the series have done. Dr. Smith uses both dialogue and action well to help us appreciate who these characters are.

I thought that the mysteries were nicely rewarding. The solutions were not obvious (except in retrospect) and helped tie the overall themes of the book together. I have to believe that this book was influenced, in part, by readers' love of seeing Precious detect in the context of the truly unique setting of Botswana.

You have a great treat ahead of you. Order this book today!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
"Our lives are made up of small things." April 22 2006
By E. Bukowsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Alexander McCall Smith's "Blue Shoes and Happiness" is another engaging installment in his best-selling series about Precious Ramotswe, proprietor of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana. Precious is happily married to Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, auto mechanic extraordinaire. Meanwhile, the super-competent, shoe-loving Mma Makutsi ably assists Precious in her detective duties. Mma Ramotswe leads a tranquil life, frequently taking the time to observe the color of the sky, drink a refreshing cup of bush tea, think lovingly about her late father, and express her gratitude for having the good luck to dwell in a beautiful, peaceful, and civilized country.

This book consists of many small events, both personal and professional, that occur in the lives of the characters. Mma Ramotswe has some new clients, including several women who want to blow the whistle on their dishonest employers. Mma Makutsi is engaged to Phuti Radiphuti, a timid but prosperous furniture salesman. Unfortunately, she makes a careless comment in passing that may put an end to their relationship. In addition, Mma Ramotswe promises to look into a mystery plaguing the town of Mokolodi, where the residents feel a strange sense of foreboding.

On a lighter note, some acquaintances have been commenting on Mma Ramotswe's considerable girth, and even though she has always been proud of her "traditional" build, Precious is thinking of going on a diet. As always, Mma Ramotswe handles any and all challenges that come her way with common sense, good humor, and hard-won wisdom. Although she believes that most individuals are basically good at heart, she is realistic enough to know that people can be weak, selfish, and even evil. When necessary, she is tough enough to courageously confront wrongdoers in the name of justice.

"Blue Shoes and Happiness" is a delightful breath of fresh air and an antidote to depressing and angst-ridden fiction. It is such a pleasure to spend time with people who have morals, treat one another with respect, and think before they speak. With his understated yet beautifully lyrical prose, warm and wonderful characters, dry wit, and atmospheric depiction of the beauty of Africa, Smith has insured that his Precious Ramtoswe novels will be around for a long time to come.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Purchase the Audio CD July 9 2006
By Marco Antonio Abarca - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In the Ladies Number One Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith has created one of the most charming series of books ever written. One of the pleasures of the series is the opportunity to learn about Botswana and its people.

For fans of the series, I would recommend purchasing the Audio CD versions of the books. The book narrator, Lisette Lecat is a talented South African actress. Her performances are as charming as the book series. Hearing an African voice, adds another level of pleasure to these wonderful books.

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