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The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe's Very First Case    by Alexander McCall Smith order for
Great Cake Mystery
by Alexander McCall Smith
Order:  USA  Can
Anchor, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favorite writers, and The Great Cake Mystery is a delight. Smith introduces Precious Ramotswe as a child in grammar school. (Precious is the protagonist in Smith's The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.)

As a child, Precious is as kind and caring and intelligent as she is as a grownup with her own detective agency. When food the children bring to school disappears, the youngsters accuse a fellow classmate of being a thief. They reason that because he is heavier in weight than the rest of the class, he must be the one taking their food.

Precious, in her forthright way, begs them not to condemn this boy, Poloko, at least until they can find some proof. He is a round boy and if he were seen walking on the street, you might think here is a boy who eats too much. But the answer to this puzzle is a surprise. Precious solves the mystery and Poloko is happy again.

This is a simple tale but with great insight from which children can learn. Not to jump to conclusions. Not to accuse someone of anything without proof. To be kind and caring. To keep a smile in your heart. And the old rule, to treat others as you would want them to treat you. It also serves as an excellent introduction of another culture.

I can't wait for my four great-grandchildren to grow enough that I can read this wonderful tale to them. And for myself, now I know how Precious became a detective as well as being a fine person. She had a father who cared.

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