I have become very fond of the principal characters in this series, but this book has too much of the same musings about Botswana, etc. and not enough plot. The storyline about the tiny white van is just silly and tiresome.
While Bertie is charming as always, McCall Smith should end the series here rather keeping Bertie at 6-7 forever. There seemed to have been a breakthrough with his mother, but we have been there before. And therein lies the problem: Bertie is treading water with no progress. Unless he gets older and changes, we will keep getting the same problems over and over again.
Talk tends to outweigh plot, as is typical of the later books in whatever series this author writes. This volume is no exception. While I usually enjoy his observations about life, only Scots would be interested in most of the discussions that are in this book.
This latest entry in the series is following what has become an all too familiar pattern: long on musings by the characters and short on actual detection. Mma Ramotswe has to find the beneficiary of a legacy, and, I am afraid to say, she actually messes that up. There must be a rule in the Principles of Private Detection that would tell her to show the photograph of the benefactor to the prospective heir before promising him the legacy. Everything is satisfactorily resolved more by serendipity than by Mma Ramotswe's skills. Still enjoyable, but the standards are falling.
One can only hope that we have heard the last of this sappy storyline. I know it is symbolic, but it is also a way for the author to fill up space without the bother of thinking of up an original plot. I was hoping that Mma Ramotswe, as wise as she is, would eventually realize that things are just things and one needs to let go at some point.
Another minor gripe is that the artifice of Mma Makotswe talking shoes is being overused.
However, the author did come up with a new case that Mma Ramotswe actually helps resolve in a fashion. Overall, this book is another enjoyable entry in this series.
No heavy crime here. The heroine and her assistants puzzle out the mysteries of human relationships while drinking bush tea. Add their philosophizing about Africa and morality and you get thoroughly enjoyable entertainment. Charming!
I agree with the other reviews about the artless and flat narration. But the writing is not that much better. It should have been titled "My Life Researching and Obsessing over Rin Tin Tin." Far too much of the book is about the author's experiences in researching the story and her philosophical musings about the actual dog and his movie and TV persona. And her numerous digressions are pointless and tedious. Why did the author find it necessary to devote space to the man who impersonated the actor who had portrayed Rusty on the TV series.
The first part of the book dealing with the discovery of the "real" Rin Tin Tin on a WWI battlefield and his rise to stardom was interesting.
When the story deals with the author's relationship with the dog, it is entertaining as well as affecting. The narrative is too often disjointed and becomes a political rant.
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