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1Aug/150

Book Review: Morality for Beautiful Girls

In the third No. 1 Ladies Detective novel, Mma Ramotswe is planning to consoldiate the office space for her Detective agency with her fiance Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni’s garage. However, he’s ill and his sluggishness turns out to be depression. So quickly Mma. Ramotswe finds she has to manage the affairs of both the garage and detective agency. This is all complicated when a high-ranking government official hires her to take a case out in the country.

This third book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective series retains all the charm of the prior installments. Author Alexander McCall Smith seemlessly takes his readers to this place and captures the thoughts and feelings of a culture foreign to most of his readers.

Having Mr. Matekoni get depressed is a definite loss to the book as his presence and point of view were so great in the first two novels. However, this clears this way for Mma Makutsi to establsih herself as a main character. In the original book, she was really a side character. Smith tried to increase her role by making her Assistant Detective but the case she worked wasn’t all that compelling and the change felt forced.

Here, Smith does succeed in making Mma Makutsi a compelling character. At the start of the book, before he took ill, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni suggested getting rid of her as Mma Ramotswe’s agency wasn’t making a profit. However, she proves her worth by taking over and successfully managing the garage in Maktekoni’s absence and when Mma Ramotswe’s out of town she has to investigate a case that can bring money to the agency when a beauty pagent director hires the agency to investigate the contestants to make sure a morally strong woman wins the pageant. We also find out that Mma Makutsi has an ill brother who is staying with her and this adds to the character.

There are two mysteries in the book. Overall, they're not bad cases as far as they go. Mma Ramotswe investigates a case of government bureaucrat who fears his brother’s wife is poisoning his brother while Mma Makutsi investigates the beauty contestants. The first case has a solid enough solution but her explanation to the government man is laden with a bit too much pop psychology. And Mma Makutsi's looking into the beauty contestants' character is fascinating and offers social commentary on these pagents everywhere, not just in Botswana, but in the end I thought the solution was a tad too pat.

I also thought there were some dropped threads from the previous book, but overall I enjoyed the story even if it wasn't quite as good as the first two.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5.0

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1Aug/150

EP1640: Dragnet: The Big Gent, Part One

Jack Webb
Joe Friday and Ben Romero try and track down two hold up men responsible for a robbery and killing in San Diego.

Original Air Date: July 20, 1950

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31Jul/150

EP1639: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Wayward Trout Matter

Bob Bailey
Johnny goes to Lake Mojave for some rest and to look up on a jewel robber who claims to have reformed.

Original Air Date: April 20, 1958

When making your travel plans, remember http://johnnydollarair.com

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30Jul/150

EP1638: Nick Carter: The Case of the Salesman of Death

Lon Clark
Nick is a called in when the benefactor of his boy's club receives a threatening letter, Nick run into a  man who claims to be able to pray others to death.

Original Air Date: May 16, 1948

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29Jul/150

EP1637: Philip Marlowe: The Vital Statistic

Gerald Mohr
Marlowe is hired to protect a woman from a rival in a pair of slacks.

Original Air Date: March 14, 1950

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28Jul/151

EP1636: Ellery Queen: The Adventure of the Message in Red

Three seemingly unconnected women are slain by the same killer.

Original Air Date: November 7, 1945

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27Jul/150

EP1635: The Saint: The Lady Who Leaned

Vincent Price
A woman steals a revolver from Simon who then finds a dead man in the office of a man who jilted her.

Original Air Date: April 22, 1951

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25Jul/150

Audio Drama Review: The Death and the Life


The Death and the Life is another one-man play starring Roger Llewellyn and written by David Stuart Davies adapted by Big Finish Productions. The story is a mix of fact and fiction as it centers upon Arthur Conan Doyle's efforts to rid himself of his most famous creation once and for all with the writing of "The Final Problem" and failed.

The play imagines Holmes and his fellow characters reacting to Doyle's actions and scheming. Doyle's disinterest is reflected in a hilarious scene where Holmes describes a madcap adventure to a snoring Watson. The story is bolstered by the use of Doyle's own journals and letters. Another great scene is the one which Holmes learns he's a fictional character from his arch-rival who is not too pleased that he's been created by Doyle as a single-use plot device.

With its light comedy and heavy symbolism, The Life and the Death  is a story about a literary creation whose popularity transcended the writer who created him. The play is helped by another strong performance from Roger Llewellyn who manages to perfectly portray all the characters and angles of this very deep and well-written play. Overall, this is another story that's a wonderful listen for fans of Sherlock Holmes.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

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25Jul/150

EP1634: Dragnet: The Big Bomb

Jack Webb
Friday and Romero are in a race against time to stop a madman with a bomb who is threatening to blow up City Hall.

Original Air Date: July 13, 1950

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24Jul/150

EP1633: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Wayward Money Matter

Bob Bailey
Johnny investigates a meek man whose alleged to have ran off with $160,000.

Original Air Date: April 13, 1958

When making your travel plans, remember http://johnnydollarair.com

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