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Tears of the Giraffe: 07/19/06

Tears of the Giraffe

Last night I finished Tears of the Giraffe, the second of the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency books and have now declared myself done with the series. I just can't take any more of McCall Smith's romanticizing of the simple and noble ways of Botswana. It reads like Kipling but poorly done.

Here is my BookCrossing Review:

I had hoped that the second book would concentrate more on the mystery and a less on the soap opera but I was wrong. The mystery of what happened ten years ago to an American teenager is pushed aside by the main character's engagement, her fiance's trouble with a jealous maid and the future of a pair of orphans. The other problem I have with the story is Smith's use of dialogue. He tends to have his characters repeat themselves in very stilted language so that they all come off sounding like they all have speach impediments. I suppose he's trying to capture the nuances of the language actually spoken in Botswana but it just isn't believable.

Out of curiosity, I looked up the author and found his biography on Random House's web site. He was born in Zimbabwe but educated in Scotland. He later worked in Botswana to set up a law school. He currently lives in Scotland. He has the background to write stories set in south eastern Africa but somehow that expertise doesn't come through for me. The two books I have read have seemed stilted and forced in their language and far too nostalgic in their imagry.

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