Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Review: The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith

This is number 12 in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.  I suspect that it is also the last one but we will just have to wait and see.  As these books are really just a continuation of the same theme, so this will pretty much be a review of the entire series.

I really do not like mystery books.  I don't have the patience for them and I'm not a big fan of gore.  These books, however are such a treat.  They are more "detective fiction" than mystery and are very character and place driven.  Throughout the series, we get to know Precious Romatswe, the "traditionally built" and infinitely wise woman who has decided to become the only private detective in Botswana.   Let me just say, this woman is awesome!  You want her to be your best friend, or next door neighbor or something.  All of the characters are a hoot, but Mma (Mrs. or Ma'am in Setswana, the language of Botswana) Romatswe is absolutely the driving force behind these books.  She is just, humble, knowledgeable, and very funny.  Each book has a couple of "cases" with interesting twists and turns, along with lots of back story and development of the characters, each of whom the reader will come to love over time.  None of these books are going to win a Pulitzer, but if you are looking for a "cozy" read with really good life lessons and beautiful imagery, these are the books for you.  You can just feel the love of this tiny African nation coming off of the pages.  I'll bet the tourist industry of Botswana is completely indebted to Mr. McCall-Smith!  Truly, these are all very good, easy and life-affirming reads, perfect for a hot summer afternoon.

Oh, and I tried the wisdom often espoused in the books that hot tea is useful for cooling oneself on hot days....I'm not sure it really worked but then again it was just regular green tea, not Mma Romatswe's special red bush tea!

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