Monday, October 21, 2013

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and a Ghostly Romance

Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Blurb: This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith’s widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors.

Review: Anyone who has been to Botswana or has lived in southern Africa will find this book evokes fond memories. Those who have not had the pleasure of visiting this alluring continent will discover a depth of understanding of the African people, a gentle spirit built on courtesy and simplicity.
The style itself is simple, no high speed car chases or build of tension. Yet the very simplicity and ordinariness of the tale makes it gently compelling and I felt myself drawn into the story and enjoying every little chapter. Most of the time I read with a smile playing upon my face, occasionally I laughed, overall I thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommended

Author: Antoinette Stockenberg
Blurb: WHEN A PARTY PLANNER MEETS A PARTY POOPER ...things will probably not turn out the way either would like. Liz Coppersmith hopes to move beyond kids' parties at Chuck E. Cheese to planning premier events among the upper crust in Newport, Rhode Island. Her first upscale client is confirmed bachelor Jack Eastman, who's struggling to keep the family empire afloat and would be just fine with Chuck E. Cheese. More problematic for Jack are an untrained puppy, two illegitimate toddlers, a runaway mother and an aging Casanova father. Liz's problems are simpler: an historic mystery, an amnesiac friend, a thief on the loose and a recurring apparition that may or may not be her imagination.

Review: A ghost, an amnesiac friend, a tiny house, a beginning business, and a handsome bachelor. Throw in some intrigue, a feisty five year old, and a weary single mother, and you get a fun romance that hits all the right keys. This is quick paced tale and it builds very well. The ghost and apparent reincarnation were fun additions to the intrigue and woven very imaginatively into the story. I’d love to meet an events coordinator like Liz, she seems to be one of those warmhearted people with a flair for the job, who really cares about the people she works with rather than the money she makes from them. While not a “fast” read, in the true sense of the phrase, it feels that way because it pulls you in and holds your interest.

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