Two very different works of crime fiction

09 May

Blue Shoes and Happiness (2006) by Alexander McCall Smith follows the formula that has made the Precious Ramotswe series so popular. To quote the novel:

“Mma Ramotswe does not solve crimes. She deals with very small things…but our lives are made up of small things.”


“Take one country… with its kind people, and their smiles, and their habit of helping one another; ignore all this; shake about; add modern ideas; bake until ruined.”

McCall Smith is a conservative but not a reactionary writer. But let’s admit it: do you prefer the mind-numbingly crazy “correctness” of Robert Mugabe who now presides over the stuffing up of McCall Smith’s birth country? I think there is much to learn from McCall Smith’s gentle novels. They are apparently very popular in Botswana too. He is humane, not patronising.

In this novel, though not named, AIDS is much more present than in the earlier works. This one gets into my best reads of 2007.

The next gets close, but loses some of its promise along the way. David Rosenfelt’s Sudden Death (2005) begins with Raymond Chandler qualities but these peter out as the novel gets into the court room; it is nonetheless well above average in its genre.

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Posted by on May 9, 2007 in Reading



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