Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Finding An Author

We went to a library sale in Marshall, Texas last year. We would not normally travel so far for one event but we planned other shopping around it and had a nice time. I was disappointed in that we did not get to visit any of the potteries in the area. I hope to be able to go back some time and tour Marshall Pottery and maybe some of the other ones.

We arrived early so I pitched in to help the lady who was setting it up, and it was nice getting to know her. Having finished all of P.D. James, and made a considerable dent in Elizabeth George's catalogue, I needed to line up some new writers for those lovely times when there's enough space in a day or two to enjoy a book of fiction, and I've been on a mystery kick for the past couple of years.

What a lucky day for me, because one of the books was Alexander McCall Smith's "Tears of the Giraffe", second in "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series.

Although I like cozies when it comes to British Television (Midsomer Murders is of course a fave), I am not especially fond of them in book form. Adore Poirot when watching David Suchet, find Dame Agatha's actual writing not my cup of tea. So, I might not have been too excited about a guaranteed cozy titled The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

Tears of the Giraffe captured me, and as soon as I had finished it, I went online and bought all the rest of the series.

I don't have much time for fiction, so am still working my way through these lovely, lovely books. I am now on "The Full Cupboard of Life". Like all cozy series, there's repetition. But in this case, the repetition of words, descriptions and elements from one book to the next is an almost poetic device, lulling and comforting and making one believe there is such a beautiful world as the Botswana that Precious Ramotswe and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni inhabit.

Oh the stories are real, and human, and there is plenty of life in the books: adventure, and darkness, and human failings, and old hauntings, and the drama is believable. The solutions aren't predictable, nor sweet, nor even always what one had hoped, but they are such as a good life can accept with hope.

Precious Ramotswe's thinking has a forthright wisdom that one can carry into life after the book. She is a character I shall not soon forget.

I think that the best way to start reading them would be the way I did: with Tears of the Giraffe first, followed by The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency for some necessary background, and then in sequence after that: (3) Morality for Beautiful Girls, (4) The Kalahari Typing School For Men, (5) The Full Cupboard of Life, (6) In The Company Of Cheerful Ladies.

If you read these (or have read them), do pop in and let me know what you think?

Have a wonderful day!


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