Dan Sandman

38: Morality for Beautiful Girls

In Books, Crime, Fiction on 19/09/2014 at 12:00 pm

Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall SmithIn this, the third book of the series, Mma Ramotswe investigates a case of poisoning, whilst Mma Makutsi is asked to solve a case involving morality for beautiful girls. Meanwhile, an orphan has been found smelling of lion and Mr. J.L.B Matekoni has caught an illness called depression. Once again, as with the previous two novels, this book is a generous homage to Botswana that brings to light the moral questions facing Africa today.

This series of books, with their attractive and colourful covers, are skillfully crafted and easy to read. Alexander McCall Smith is an expert storyteller, his stories strike the correct balance between plot and character development. The plots are carefully constructed to give the reader a sense of satisfaction, as crimes are solved by examining moral questions. In these crime stories, the detective’s job is to think about why characters are acting strangely or hiding the truth. Once the reasons for the strange behaivour or dishonesty are uprooted, the problem can be solved.

When I pick up these books, I can’t put them down because the stories flow so easily. I start to get involved with the characters and I begin to imagine an exciting world where Mma Ramotswe and co. can warm the hearts of cold government men and rescue children from orphanages. These books teach that people are on the whole good, and all that bad people need is help from a kind person. It is a world where morals are clearly defined, where people who know about cattle are good, and where those who pick up members of the opposite sex in bars are bad. This unreal world, a beautiful place, somewhere in a sunny part of an author’s imagination, is where these books take me. It looks like this world, it might even share a common history with it – perhaps crimes can be remedied with kindness and understanding – but I am not entirely convinced that this is the real world.

And what more could I ask for from a crime fiction novel – brilliant.

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