Kindness. What are books in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Series by Alexander McCall Smith about? Why have I read all fifteen books in the series and look forward to reading more? Kindness. In my darkest moments, I need to know that there is kindness in the world. When I am tempted to act sarcastically or snap at someone, I need to be reminded to take a deep, deep breath and to do my very best to be kind. The books in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Series remind me to do just that. The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café, the latest novel, continues on the path of kindness.
The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café is really Grace Matekoni’s novel. While Precious Ramotswe remains the main character, Grace is the one who truly grows in the novel. She decides to open a Café that caters to “handsome men,” which reveals so much about her character. She ignores the warning of her shoes, which almost ends in disaster. But the real story is the kindnesses that Grace bestows to the every wayward Charlie and to the daughter of a man working on the café. After fifteen novels, Grace faces her 97% and acts with incredible poise and generosity. (The moment was so beautiful that I was almost in tears.) Grace must also swallow her pride and take the help offered her by a woman who has irritated her in the past.
Yes, Precious has a mystery. She takes on a case where the client claims that an unknown woman, who has no memory of who she is, appeared at his door. He asks Precious to uncover her identity. In the meantime, Precious and her husband try to do what is best for Charlie.
A few weeks ago, in response to some pictures and links that Alexander McCall Smith posted on his Facebook page, I thought “I would love a t-shirt that reads ‘My favorite author wears a skirt’ (kilt).” Maybe those of us who are fans need to wear pins shaped like kilts to signify that we do our best, day by day, to be kind. In truth, AMS somehow wraps up kindness and finds a way of putting it in a novel.