I went to see Alexander McCall Smith give a talk about writing and his books last year. I have to admit I’d never heard of him before. I was invited by a friend, and went to catch up with her as much as to hear the talk. I was familiar with some of his characters without realising it.
The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency was made into a TV series on BBC 1 I think it was, I didn’t watch it but caught small parts of episodes. As part of our ticket to the event we were given the chance to choose a book from the table and I chose The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine as my friend said that series was good.
The story was nice. I felt that I missed some of the connections between the characters by entering the series part way through and not starting at the beginning. However, how the characters were linked was explained well enough in the book for me to follow.
The one thing that I found frustrating was the constant use of the characters full name at every opportunity. Characters are not referred to by their first name but in all instances as e.g. Mr J.L.B. Maketoni which after a while just annoyed me. I’m sure there is a reason for it, perhaps one I missed along the way, perhaps it is personal writing style of the author but to me it was unnecessary and began to affect my enjoyment of the book.
From the talk I could tell how much the author put into his characters and his writing output really is something to behold but I fear his writing style was just not for me. Having said that the story was good, there were twists and it was pleasant to read but it didn’t hook me on the characters and make me want to read more as I have with other authors.
I know that Alexander has many loyal followers who love his work and I’m sure my view would not matter one jot to that. If you can overlook the constant need for full names including titles in every conversation then you too may enjoy this book.