The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series is back on form, with Mma Ramotswe searching for a lady’s missing family and dealing with poison pen letters. Meanwhile, Mr J.L.P. Matekoni searching for a miracle cure for their adopted daughter Motholeli and Mma Makutsi dealing with the aftermath of bed buying with fiance Phuti Radiphuti and the arrival of the seasonal rains to Gabarone. In the end everyone discovers something unexpected, which makes them look at other people with fresh eyes.
Amazon.co.uk link: The Miracle at Speedy Motors – Alexander McCall Smith
The latest instalment in Alexander McCall Smith’s No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, The Good Husband of Zebra Drive is a gentle cautionary tale about the grass being greener on the other side, and the power of forgiveness. But slowly told… Perhaps I’ve read too many tales featuring Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and the apprentices of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. Or maybe I’ve just grown more jaded!
Amazon.co.uk link: The Good Husband of Zebra Drive – Alexander McCall Smith
Having loved Mma Ramotswe, I thought I’d see how I got on with Alexander McCall Smith’s Scottish variation on the lady detective theme. The answer is, Very Well. So if like me you’re looking for some light reading in between Botswana-based books, I’d recommend you get acquainted with Isabel Dalhousie, an erudite Edinburgh lady of independent means whose outlook on life is reflects the intellectual and philosophical inheritance of the Scottish setting.
I’d previously been somewhat put off by the The Sunday Philosophy Club title, but the club only features in a supporting role, serving to underline the importance of philosophy in Isabel’s world and to demonstrate that she and her friends and acquaintances have the same foibles and weaknesses as we ordinary mortals; the club hasn’t managed to meet for months.
Indeed, the main plot is more concerned with love and money and Machiavellian motivations as Isabel tries to find the answer to that age old conundrum “Did he fall or was he pushed?” – after witnessing a young man’s fall to his death during an opera concert at the Usher Hall.
Amazon.co.uk link: The Sunday Philosophy Club – Alexander McCall Smith
Another heartwarming tale from Botswana, even if Mma Ramotswe rather surprised me by starting to worry about her traditionally built figure! The crimes and misdemeanours range from staff pilfering to fears of witchcraft to cheeky apprentices, and the philosophical asides cover feminism and offender rehbilitation.
Amazon.co.uk link: Blue Shoes and Happiness – Alexander McCall Smith
Rather annoyingly, realised that I’d picked up the 6th in Alexander McCall Smith’s gentle and enjoyable series featuring the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, and whilst waiting in LHR for my departure to Islamabad I opened In the Company of Cheerful Ladies to discover that Mma Precious Ramotswe and Mr J.L.B. Matekoni are now married and I have to wait until I get back from my holidays to find out the detail!!
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies introduces a new character to Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, after Mma Ramostwe knocks Mr Polopetsi off his bicycle, and Mma Grace Makutsi finds true love at last, after taking up dancing lessons. In the meantime, one of the apprentices find religion, the other gets entangled with an older, married woman and Mma Ramotse first husband, no good Note Mokoti, returns from South Africa, bringing nothing but trouble….
Buy it: Amazon link