Fresh from the bookshelf

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Over the years, I have realized that every and now, there comes a book that turns out to be what you never expected it to be. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency  by Alexander McCall Smith is definitely one of them. And what made it all the more special was the way I found it on a nice corner table in one of the quaint cafes here in Singapore. This book was left by someone as part of the bookcross initiative. Bookcrossing is a belief that every book needs to travel the world. Each book has a unique BookCross Id. and all you need to do is pick up the book, have fun reading it and then leave it someplace where someone else will pick it up. You can login to the bookcross website and see where your book came from and where it has travelled. Mine came all the way from Holland. You can then leave an entry there as to where you picked it. This becomes like the book’s travel journal. So exciting, right?

Pretty much like the book itself. I had read about this book on several blogs and it was on my to-read list as well. The title piqued my curiosity and like many of you, I thought it will be a mystery or similar plot. This book is much more than that. It is a story that portrays the beauty of being human and the joy of little relationships in such simple and subtle ways that you can’t get enough of.

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Precious Ramotswe is a Motswana woman has her own detective agency, the only one in Botswana and is the protagonist and main detective. In this first book of the series, Precious solves mysteries in the most logical and simple ways that it is a delight to read them without all the build-up that other suspense novels have. Infact, what really keeps you on the edge of your seat is finding out what mystery she will solve next and how she will cleverly do it.

What made this book special is the simple narration. There is nothing elaborate and it speaks of the human nature so beautifully that it is an absolute delight to read. The lives of people in Africa, especially Botswana is portrayed through the people Precious meets, the mysteries and some snippets from Precious’ past. Some of the thoughts and lines by Precious are simple truths but hit you hard.

I loved Previous’ character immensely. She is such a resolute woman, one who is independent, has her heart in the right place and smart, oh yes! Right from mysteries surrounding missing husbands to witchcraft, this book sees Precious solving them all sans any buildup of suspense that you find in thrillers. Read it for the its beautiful human interaction, the protagonist and most importantly for the freshness the book brings.

Don’t Blink by James Patterson

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Nick Daniels is a reporter who has the opportunity to conduct a once-in-a-lifetime interview with a legendary baseball player who is media shy. He is waiting for the player to run up at New York’s popular Lombardo’s Steak House when a gruesome murder happens right next to him. Inadvertently he has collected a vital piece of evidence. This creates a war between the mafia and  lands him in an adventure where he runs for his life.  Pursued by threats, humiliation, narrow escapades, he is bent on unravelling the mystery and writing his story. Amidst all this is his rocky relationship with Courtney. How does he unearth the facts? How many lives will be sacrificed towards the cause?

I enjoy thrillers. But somehow, I took a few days to finish this in different sittings. This is my first book by James Patterson and I kind of had some expectations. I wouldn’t say it was a bad book but somehow it did not bring me to the edge of my seat at all. So, I don’t really recommend it. But if you like similar genres, give it a go. Nothing big here.

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10 comments

  1. Destination Infinity · March 5, 2014

    I don’t seem to like thrillers these days. I used to enjoy them many years back. Maybe I should try reading some better authors.

    …speaks of the human nature… and is an absolute delight to read… => How is this possible, re? 😛

    Destination Infinity

    • kismitoffeebar · March 6, 2014

      Maybe you can predict the killer from all the experience? It happens to me. I used to read a lot of thrillers and then I started seeing patterns and was dsiappointed when I was right.
      Ha ha DI – you are funny! 🙂 I meant to say that it is written with that raw freshness about real human nature. And such a natural depiction is endearing 🙂

  2. Arch · March 5, 2014

    The bookcross initiative sounds amazing!! I love how you include tiny amazing facts in your posts! 🙂 🙂
    The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency went on my list now!

  3. The Girl Next Door · March 5, 2014

    I love the Bookcrossing initiative, too. 🙂

    I read The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency a couple of years back, but ended up being totally underwhelmed by it. I found the story too simplistic – the way the mysteries are solved, I mean. However, I did end up getting enamoured by Mma. Ramotswe, her thoughts, the people around her, and Botswana. Maybe it is time to pick up the second book in this series and approach it just as a book, rather than as a mystery novel.

    Also, I read my first James Patterson, last year – Sam’s Letters To Jennifer – http://thegalnxtdoor.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/just-read-3/ – and didn’t like it much. It seemed to be too forced, too typical. That said, I have heard a lot of good things about his books, too.

    • kismitoffeebar · March 6, 2014

      I hope you enjoy the second one TGND and i htink you are trying the right formula of expectations 🙂
      Yeah, this one just didn’t work for me either 😦

  4. dreamzandclouds · March 6, 2014

    I am going to check out The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency soon 🙂

  5. pixie · March 21, 2014

    I love love McCall Smith’s books!! He is an amazing author!
    Patterson – some of his books are nice.. some not so much.

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