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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"The Double Comfort Safari Club" by Alexander McCall Smith

I can remember being disappointed with the first book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novel I read several years ago. I believe I expected more thrill, more plot, more mystery than it contained. I have since come to value the series highly. The characters are believable, sympathetic and consistent. Each book is chock-full of sage reflections on human nature. From being disappointed, I have come to find comfort in reading these books.

In "The Double Comfort Safari Club," Mma Ramotswe tackles several cases: she is asked to locate a beneficiary of a will, whose identity is not known; a man and his wife separately ask her to find out if the other is having an affair; a victim of a ruthless woman enlists Mma Ramotswe's help in securing justice. In addition to all that, her assistant's fiancee suffers a terrible accident, and a member of his family tries to turn that into an opportunity to keep them from marrying. That's plenty for Mma Ramotswe to take on in one book, but she does so gracefully (for a woman of traditional build), graciously, and ably, bringing each one to a satisfying conclusion.

This series is also notable among recently published works for not containing explicit sexual content. Indeed, when my six-year-old (let us call her The Lawyer) asked if she could read the book, I said yes (not that I expect her to read it, but I did not feel that I must rush the book out of her hands, lest her eyes chance upon a sordid or lurid comment).

These books make for pleasant, philosophical reads. I would recommend them to my friends, and I will be searching out the ones I haven't yet read. I would keep them on my shelves (few mysteries make it there).

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