Blue Shoes and Happiness

by Alexander McCall Smith

Hardcover, 2006

Call number




Pantheon (2006), Edition: 1st, 227 pages


There is considerable excitement at The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. A cobra has been found in Precious Ramotswe's office. Then a nurse from a local clinic reveals that faulty blood-pressure readings are being recorded. And Botswana has a new advice columnist, Aunty Emang, whose advice is rather curt for Mma Ramotswe's taste. All this means a lot of work for our heroine and her assistant, Grace Makutsi. But there's trouble brewing in Mma Makutsi's own life. When Phuti Radiphuti misses their customary dinner date, she begins to wonder if he is having second thoughts about their engagement. And while Mma Makutsi may be able to buy that fashionably narrow (and uncomfortable) pair of blue shoes, it may not buy her the happiness that Mma Ramotswe promises her she'll find in the simpler things--in contentment with the world and enough tea to smooth over the occasional bumps in the road.--From publisher description.… (more)

Media reviews

This will be familiar territory for fans of the series. Cases are cracked thanks to her traditional common sense and the consumption of vast quantities of tea, while the main concern of the novel is the pursuit of that most elusive state of being: happiness.

User reviews

LibraryThing member MrsLee
This book was very pleasing to read, as they all are. If anything, I liked this one more than some of the earlier ones. It dealt much with relationships, communication, the expectations we have of others and some of the presuppositions we make about one another.
LibraryThing member aspotoft
Mr. Smith never fails to please and Precious is still my favorite detective out there. Another great book in the series.
LibraryThing member Niecierpek
The seventh book in the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. As cozy and good as ever, and full of gentle humour and local folklore.
LibraryThing member reading_fox
Precious Ramotswe continues her investigations in Botswana, now almost famous she has many many cases to deal with, and her male assistant tries his best but is simply not her equal. The children have faded away in the last few books, and although they are still mentioned they have little impact on the stories. However this book is devoted to new cases and problems with the people of Botswana. Mma Ramotswe is equal to them all.

There is some great commentary on diets and troubles of 'traditionally built' ladies.

After re-read: not much elseto say, as always the actual problems are just a side show for the interaction of these wonderfully polite civilised characters. Sketched in a light flowing style easily readable, enjoyably concerned with each others lives. As always the moralising of Mma Ramotswe is the highlight, what shoudl friends say to each other regarding personality quirks?
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LibraryThing member ErstwhileEditor
See comments under The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. I will add that I found the series a lot more charming when I thought the style somehow correlated with life in Botswana, but later seeing how Alexander McCall Smith uses the same style in his other series, I unfortunately came to view it as an idiosyncrasy of the author--and an annoying one at that.… (more)
LibraryThing member ethelmertz
Another great story about Mma Ramotswe and friends. Mma Makutsi and her shoes are great!
LibraryThing member bluesviola
I really liked AMS's first book and the recording voice is wonderful. By the third book the stories had become formula. I "read" other books inbetween each one, not good recommendation.
LibraryThing member smik
Number 7 in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. I read this in paper copy last year and really enjoyed it, but, although "complete and unabridged", the audio version highlights that some of the things that we like in the written version may become tedious in the hearing. One thing that begins to grate is the constant repetition of names. Perhaps it was simply that I was listening to it in the company of my SO who is not a fan of the series. However it is still a pleasant way to pass time… (more)
LibraryThing member riverwillow
I just love this series of books and this one did not disappoint.
LibraryThing member CaroTheLibrarian
If you've read the others in this series you'll know what to expect. If you haven't then I suggest you start at the beginning with The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. These are gentle, charming books giving a wonderful picture of life in a slightly idealised Botswana.
LibraryThing member isabelx
Mma Ramotswe has very little to investigate in this book, while Mma Makutsi is mainly concerned with the progress of her engagement to a man she met at her dance class. I think I might be getting a little bored of this series, but I have already bought the next book, so I will leave a gap before I read it.
LibraryThing member allison.sivak
I felt unsure about this series; I am hesitant when it comes to books about people of colour written by white authors -- particularly, fiction. And particularly best-sellers. I think about the Telling It conference that documents how Lee Maracle (and other writers) asked Anne Cameron to quit writing in the Native voice -- in no small part because Cameron's writing was more-accepted by publishers than the writing of First Nations authors. And once the publishers had published Cameron there seemed to be an 'aboriginal quota' that was suddenly filled. It didn't mean in greater publishing rates for First Nations authors.

I'm not 100% of my feelings regarding this book. I don't want to feel that I'm looking at these characters' lives as 'simpler' than my life, and therefore 'moving' or 'charming'

A very small part, in which I felt I 'read' the author's voice in a very honest way, made me let out a little breath of emotion, though: the nine repetitions of the word 'africa' in a diamond shape on the last page of the book. I let go of some of my worries with that breath.

It's easy to enjoy these characters and their worries, compassion for one another, and the beautiful cadences of their speech.
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LibraryThing member dsc73277
If you are already a fan of McCall Smith's work in general, or the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series in particular, then, like me, you wont be disappointed. All the trademark warmth and humanity of these books is here once more in abundance. Surely the perfect antidote to all the grim news around at the present time?
LibraryThing member TheoClarke
A reassuring positive view of humanity as the traditionally-built Mma Ramotswe worries that her fiance may be having doubts about marriage as she investigates problems at a hospital and a game reserve and copes with a cobra in her office.
LibraryThing member OzzieJello
All the books in this series are a delight. I read all of them straight through, one after the other, stopping only because I'm waiting for my copy of "The Good Husband of Zebra Drive" to arrive. If it were possible to actually spend some time with the main characters, it would be a pleasure. I'd even try redbush tea.
LibraryThing member jepeters333
Danger hits close to home when a cobra is found in Mma Ramotswe's office. Of less immediate danger, but greater general interest, are the faulty blood pressure measurements being recorded at the local clinic. But perhaps the biggest mystery is why Mma Makutsi's fiance has missed their usual dinner date. Is he discontented? And if so, will cramming her feet into a pair of fashionable blue shoes help Mma Makutsi find happiness?… (more)
LibraryThing member Elpippino
This was the first book of the series I have read. I found it entertaining and easy to digest. I thought the author could have presented a slightly bigger challenges to the characters to make the book more interesting, however, this book was a good break between heavier books.
LibraryThing member Berly
The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency with Mma Ramotswe returns! I have enjoyed this series so much, but this one was a let-down. It has all the same characters, all the same places, so it should have been charming. Unfortunately, I found the "mysteries" weak and I think I was just not in the right place to read it. Rats.
LibraryThing member alanna1122
It is hard to believe that this is the seventh book I have read in this series. Each one reads so quickly and is like a little burst of fresh air. Like all the other ones, this seventh installment brims over with the author's love for Botswana. I have to say that I had never given Botswana much thought before reading these books - but now, each time I pick one up I find myself enchanted with the land and the people described by the author.

All the characters that we have come to know and love through the series are here and well represented. The stories are gentle and would be much better described as character studies than mysteries.

All in all - another successful installment in a series that has consistently delivered warm stories about characters who are easy to like and care about.
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LibraryThing member jennyo
The latest in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books. Just as light and fluffy as the others, and a treat to read on vacation.
LibraryThing member bibliophile26
I think this is the seventh book in the No. 1 Detective Agency Series. I never tire of these books. A few cases are presented in each book and Smith's characters are wonderfully written. Mma Makutsi is my favorite.
LibraryThing member sweetiegherkin
I read the first six books of this series some time ago and pretty much back-to-back. It took me a pretty long time to get this book though for various reasons, and I have to admit after finally reading it, I was slightly disappointed. The characters are still as wonderful and engaging as ever, and I love McCall Smith’s writing style – it’s simple yet deep at the same time. However, this particular book in the series really strayed from the detective work of Mma Ramotswe, which I enjoy a great deal. There were hardly any cases in this particular novel and they were not the main focus of the book. Rather, this book liked to look more at the inner workings of Mma Ramotswe’s mind, particularly her silly daydreams. This was not what was I expecting from a No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency book, and I’m hoping that the next in the series will be more in line with the first six than with this one.… (more)
LibraryThing member debnance
I never seem to get tired of reading about Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi and J.L.B. Matekoni and Botswana.
LibraryThing member seoulful
In the seventh book in this very popular series by Alexander McCall Smith, we once more get into the minds of the thoughtful cast of characters of Gabarone, Botswana. We listen to the usual ruminations of the No. 1 detective, Mma Ramotswe, and her husband and mechanic, J.L.B. Matekoni, as they decry the passing of the old ways of Botswana and the coming of the new generation of more careless, materialistic young people as particularly exemplified in the apprentice mechanics who spend every leisure moment ogling the girls who pass by the repair shop. Mma Ramotswe summarizes by saying, "People did not know just how much we had in those days--those days when we seemed to have so little, we had so much." Although we have often heard Mma Ramotswe's description of herself as "traditionally built," in this book we see the inner musings of a woman challenged to call her condition in blunter terms and go on a diet with all the attendant temptations and rationalizations. The incendiary topic of feminism is also dealt with as both J.L.B. Matekoni and Assistant Detective, Mma Makutsi in different situations have to confront and perhaps modify their positions. The subjects of Mma Ramotswe's detective ventures this time deal with ancient superstitions, an advice columnist of questionable activities, falsified blood pressure readings and the threatened love life of her co-worker, Grace Makutsi. All done with a warmth and gentleness that keeps us in anticipation of the next offering of Alexander McCall Smith.… (more)
LibraryThing member ffortsa
Shoes and vanity appear in this 7th installment of the adventures of Precious Ramotswe and her community, along with an advice columnist and some unwanted reptile life.




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