The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine is the sixteenth book in Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. It's amazing to me that I've been following these characters since 1998. I'm even more astounded by Smith's productivity. He writes several different series and stand-alone books for both adults and children, releasing multiple books every year. I can't think of a contemporary author who is more prolific. Maybe he's dreaming of taking a vacation like Mma Ramotswe? Keep writing Smith!
PLOT - Workholic Mma Ramotswe is convinced by Mma Makutsi, to take a much deserved vacation. However, Mma Ramotswe cannot help but be a detective, even while attempting to take a break. Mr. Polopetsi has been given a temporary job in the agency and Mma Makutsi is determined to show that she can handle things while Mma Ramotswe is on holiday. To complicate matters, Mr. Polopetsi asks for Mma Ramotswe's help, when he fears that Mma Makutsi has a case that she cannot handle.
LIKE- In this series, characters always take center stage. Sixteen books and I still can't get enough of this story world and its inhabitants. Smith has a wonderful understanding of human nature and I get a kick out of how his characters interact, both the manners and the subtext.
I enjoyed the secondary plot line of Mma Ramotswe saving a young child and finding out what happened to his mother. The ending of the book is sentimental and touching. There are plenty of thought provoking themes woven throughout the story involving honesty, friendship, and secrecy.
DISLIKE- This is one of the weaker books in the series. The big mystery involving the Potokwane family, wasn't very compelling. The only compelling component is the way it handled scandal, with Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi showing compassion towards Mma Potokwane. Similarly, the confrontation with Violet Sephotho, Mma Makutsi's arch enemy, lacked impact.
RECOMMEND- If you're a fan of the series, you have to read The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine, not because it's the best, but simply because who can skip any books in a series? I can't. If this is your first experience with Smith or the series, don't pick this book to start.
As a bonus, check out Smith's author page. I like the cheerful music!