Monday, April 2, 2012

BOOK: The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith, 258 pages

Series Goals: most recent book in No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series (released April 3, 2012) Thanks to Random House for the review copy.

I thought once Mma Makutsi married Phuti Radiphuti that the series would end. However, just as I was getting caught up with the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, another book was released. The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection checks back in on Tlokweng Road to find things in turmoil. Mma Ramotswe has had a dream of a strange man visiting, Grace and Phuti are dealing with a builder to have their new home built, Mma Potokwane at the orphanage is dealing with a Board of Directors who seem to want to run the orphanage like a business, and Fanwell the apprentice gets in some trouble when an old friend asks for a favor. This was the busiest, and most suspenseful book yet!

There was some actual suspense, as I wasn't sure exactly what was going on in several of the 'mysteries', and because it was all the main characters dealing with problems, I was more worried about what might happen. But the best part was the appearance of Clovis Anderson, the writer of Mma Ramotswe's detective handbook, who may not be exactly as he seems. My only complaint in the book, if it can be called that, is I missed Mr Polopetsi, the part-time worker at Speedy Motors and part-time detective. He wasn't in the book at all.

This edition brings all the qualities that fans of the series look for: words of wisdom, gentle events, and beautiful Botswana dealing with the conflict of past traditions and present progress just like every country. People are the same everywhere, and a cup of red bush tea makes everything a little better.

The Saturday Big Tent  Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith, 213 pages

What's in a Name 5: word found on a calendar in title

Usual fare, although it appears Charlie has had twins, and cattle killing is pretty serious stuff no matter where you are, but especially in Botswana, a big cattle country. Grace and Phuti are planning the wedding, and by the end, with the help of the formidable Mma Potokwane, the organizing gets done. And we haven't seen the end of the little white van.

Reading this book on its own would not seem like much - it's the familiar, gentle characters and lessons that are appealing, like a pair of cozy flannel pajamas and a cup of cocoa on a cold winter day. Start at the beginning, and give it a few books to catch the rhythm.