Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe

by Alexander McCall Smith
Pantheon Books     2014
227 pages     Mystery

Sometimes you just want comfort reading!

I was reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me on my vacation in Florida last week, but it was so rich and dense that I didn't want to be challenged on the airplane trip home. What to read?

AAH! The Number One Ladies Detective series is comfort reading! It is comfortable because it makes you smile, because the cases to be solved are solveable, and because everything gets settled in the end. Also, if you have a small stretch of available time, you can read a Ladies Detective series book in one sitting. I had The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe on my Kindle. I sighed and delved right in.

Precious Ramotswe warms your heart. Her philosophical musings are so dear and so practical. Here's an example "There was not all that much that one person could do; it was not possible for one woman to hold back the tide of greed and self-centredness that seemed to be sweeping across the world, but she would do whatever lay within her powers to do."

Another great quote: "There was no point in thinking of the bottom when one wanted to get to the top." I do so love Precious!

In book #15 of the series, The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe, Mme Ramotswe and Mme Makutsi, the lady detectives, are working on a rather difficult case (as difficult as their cases are) and Mme Makutsi is also opening a diner-style restaurant, The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe. Things are not going well on the case or at the cafe, and the problems are compounded because Charlie, the former apprentice mechanic, has come to work for them as an assistant secretary.  It isn't necessary to say any more about the plot—or the non-plot as the case may be. Suffice it to say that nothing much happens and that is perfectly fine with the reader.

Alexander McCall Smith is a unique voice in the world of cozy mysteries. Botswana is an unlikely setting, but it is one Smith knows very well. He lived there for many years and understands the culture. Along with comfort reading, philosophical lessons, and minor character development, we learn a bit about the culture of this unique African country with every reading. 

I have read several books in the series, and I can recommend them for when you need something comfortable.  Here are my postings for  Tea Time for the Traditionally Built and The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party.

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