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The Full Cupboard of Life

A lot of tidy endings in this fifth installment in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Every bit as charming as all the other ones.

Portuguese Irregular Verbs

Perfect summer reading book. I wasn’t even aware of this new series of small humorous books by McCall Smith until I saw them ont he new shelf at the library. Then of course I was even more surprised to find that they weren’t quite new at all. While I would disagree with the jacket blurb that called this book “hilarious” I did enjoy it and it definitely had its amusing moments.

McCall Smith has switched from his African lady detective to a trio of German linguists who travel and research obscure language pecadillos such as the title, Portugueses irregular verbs. Worth picking up, short and funny, a little more black humor than the detective novels but a good way to show another side of McCall Smith’s style and talents.

In The Company of Cheerful Ladies

Another great book in the series. I enjoyed this one a bit more than the two before it for no real reason. Maybe it’s because it features the tiny white van more prominently, or perhaps it’s the talk of pumpkins while we’re in Autumn here in this hemipshere, but I liked it and continue to recommend McCall Smith’s books to just about anyone.

The Sunday Philosophy Club

Maybe you like Alexander McCall Smith but don’t much care about Zimbabwe, or traditionally built women, or automobile maintenance, or secretaries who score 97 per cent on their exams. Well he has written other books, or series of books including this, the first in the Isabel Dalhousie Mystery series. Isabel is another charming female protagonist who is clever and just a little bit weird. The short novel seems more like what you’re used to getting out of an eclectic British mystery, so if you like McCall Smith and you like British mysteries, by all means dive on in.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

It’s like Encyclopedia Borwn for grown-ups! This book is the first in a box set that my landlady got for xmas. She has torn through them and now I think I will as well. The basic premise is that there is a woman whose father died and left her some money and she opens a detective agency. It is set in Africa and for the first few pages I was still getting used to the somewhat formal narration which is more standard in African stories. She is most likely the only lady detective in the country and she has hurdles to overcome as she solves crimes and fends of potential suitors. Common sense and ingenuity help her wokr out solutions to many of the problems she faces both inside and outside the job. The writing style is first person narration and very straightforward. You like the fat lady detective from the start and it’s fun to go touring around Africa with her.

Tears of the Giraffe

Another in the series. A fun read, not really worth explicating the plot. More of the same, in a good way.

Morality for Beautiful Girls

More of the same. Charming and fun, lighthearted mysteries with a fat lady detective in Botswana.

The Kalahari Typing School for Men

Still a good series. More interpersonal stuff and fewer mysteries. Exceptionally happy ending in this one.

The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs

Another in the Portuguese Irregual Verbs series. This one was funnier than the last. Our hero the linguist gets to travel to distant cities, including some in America, does horrible things to a daschund, and meets the pope.