Saturday, October 17, 2009

50BC09 #15: Blue Smoke and Murder

Blue Smoke and Murder (St. Kilda Consulting, #4) Blue Smoke and Murder by Elizabeth Lowell

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
While I don't hold trade paperback mysteries to the standards of great literature, I do want a good mystery. This one starts well, but the anti-climactic and obvious ending made the last several pages rather dull. Lowell does get credit, however, for a female protagonist that is strong and independent, but doesn't have to be a man-hater. While a bit typecast as the "outdoorsy" woman, river guide Jill Breck is fun to read as she struggles with her intuition vs. her intellect.

50BC09 #14: Tea Time for the Traditionally Built

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #10) Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This latest offering of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series is a fun read and a chance to engage further with the wonderful characters of Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi. The mystery, as in most of these books, is actually a secondary plot point, and we get a much better sense of attachment to the regular characters than in some other books in the series. What is also striking is the development of relationships between the characters: for the first time, we see a real friendship between Precious and Grace. Likewise, the book ventures into the more emotional terrain of love between Precious and Mr. JLB Matekoni. Generally, the characters are more dimensional than in prior installments and this move away from caricature is definitely a good direction for the series.