Friday, 9 December 2011

Tea time for the Traditionally Built

Weird title, isn't it?  At least that's what grabbed my attention while looking for holiday reading at a bookstore.  Part of the "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built, by Alexander McCall Smith, promised to be a nice, gentle, fuss-free reading.  And it didn't fail.  Set in a dreamy Botswana, the book follows Mma Ramotswe, a tea-loving and "traditionally built" private detective and the various "misfortunes" in her life, while trying to run her agency.  I was immediately  hooked on it, mainly because it's very easy reading, with emotions not running high (and which would upset me), and with a pace which, though slightly slow, is actually calming and enjoyable.  There are various themes coming through the pages of this book (AIDS, differences between the sexes) that are still part of our lives.  Yet, while they do play a role in the characters' lives, I found that the primary theme was the one on the goodness of people and on the ways to enjoy life.  Mma Ramotswe is an example of this school of thought herself, managing to provide solutions to all problems in the end, while maintaining her good manners and politeness.

This not a book that will trigger deep thoughts; it will leave, however, a feeling of thorough enjoyment.  I wouldn't go as far as calling it "chick-lit", but its purpose is exactly the same:  fill my reading time with a story that's captivating, sweet, carefree.  A welcome break to be taken with tea and doughnuts.

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