Friday, November 9, 2007

TEARS OF THE GIRAFFE by Alexander McCall Smith

This is the second volume in the continuing No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which is set in Botswana. This is therefore the favorite series of my wife, naturally, and I read this book at her behest. My grandma enjoyed these books, too.

I met McCall Smith at a writers' conference, and he's a nice and funny guy. This series is what made him big, although he has written some others (His Isabel Dalhousie series is strongly recommended against).

I was not thrilled by the first volume of this series, titled The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. There was too much setup and not enough happening. This one is a lot better, as the characters really are charming, and they manage to be entertaining even though there really isn't ever a whole lot going on. The focus of the story is more on the lives of the characters than on the mysteries that are being solved.

As mystery novels go, this is more in the vein of Lilian Jackson Braun's Cat Who series or other mysteries in the "cozy" genre. No violence, no bad language, and really not a whole lot of detective work going on, either. All in all, I was entertained, but it wasn't quite enough to hook me. I wouldn't actively seek out the rest of the series, but I might read them if they were handy.

RECOMMENDED to those who like cozy mysteries or low-intensity stories with endearing characters.