Mma Ramotswe: Still revealing the mysteries of a happy life

precious and grace.jpegI have written many times about Alexander McCall Smith and how he has charmed his way into my list of favorite authors.

In “Precious and Grace,” the 17th(!) novel in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Smith takes a stray dog, a naive friend of Mma Ramotswe who unwittingly becomes part of a pyramid scheme, and a Woman of the Year contest (no, neither Precious Ramotswe nor Grace Makutsi are nominees) to paint a picture of a gentle world where everything comes out right. This being a mystery series, however, there is a case of a woman who returns to Botswana to reconnect with her past. She hires the agency to locate her old nanny, a woman she only knew as Rosie some 30 years before, with only a blurry, faded photograph to help.

Continue reading “Mma Ramotswe: Still revealing the mysteries of a happy life”

How a No. 1 Lady can set things right

I was onstage Friday night and, what with the makeup and show, out of touch with the real world for several hours. We had a very strong performance of a charming show, “Enchanted April,” which, from the laughter and applause, delighted our audience.

woman who walked in sunshineOn the short drive home I planned my evening: Everyone would be in bed, if not asleep, and I would have the house to myself. I’d pour a glass of wine and finish the last 30 pages of “The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine,” the new No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novel I was reading. Then, satisfied, bed. But when I got home my oldest son was sitting in the den, the television on, his face worried: “I don’t know if you heard, but…” Continue reading “How a No. 1 Lady can set things right”

Noticing the small things

March is National Reading Month. To that end, I will read so much and post so often you will be sick of me by April 1.

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

imagesI came across that quote by Mark Twain again recently and it resonated with me because I had been marveling at and ruminating on one particular word in a book I recently finished. Continue reading “Noticing the small things”

Solving the simple mysteries of life

Let’s face it, I can be a snob. But I’m also not afraid of admitting when I’m wrong. And boy was I ever wrong about the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. I would see piles of the books at bookstores and Costco and think, “If there are so many of them, they can’t be very good.” And not just so many, but so many on the bestseller list. To me, that’s a sure kiss of death.

But then I read one when I was a freelance book reviewer at the Detroit Free Press and I was almost immediately struck by the simple charm of the stories and the characters. I have since read nearly everything Smith (or should I call him McCall Smith, or is McCall a middle name. That question flummoxed me for a while, but I finally settled on putting his books on my shelves under S for Smith) has written. Continue reading “Solving the simple mysteries of life”