Mma Ramotswe, "the accomplished founder of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" has agreed to marry "Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors", but first there is business to be conducted and mysteries to be solved. Specifically, where is the couple going to live? In Mr J.L.B. Matekoni's house or in Mma Ramotswe's clean cottage? Mma Ramotswe is going to take care of Mr J.L.B Matekoni. Just listen to her tell his maid "A man who is well looked-after becomes fatter. They are just like cattle That is well-known." And what about an engagement ring with a large diamond? First, though, there are the cases Mma Ramotswe has to solve - an American student, missing for ten years from an experimental collective. The mother accepts that he might be dead, but wants to know why. Then there is the butcher with a wife who has suddenly enough money to send the son to an expensive private school. The orphanage just outside the city needs help with the troublesome pump and before he knows it, Mr J.L.B. Matekoni is charged with the care of two orphans without consulting Mma Ramotswe first, Oh, and the promotion of her assistant and .... there is so much information packed into these books. I love McCall Smith's language, descriptions of the country and it's people! The relentless heat comes off the page when reading the description of cars parked so that the least bit of shade wards off the sun, or the Commissioner's Land Rover entrusted to Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, or the university lecturer. Wonderful series!
I discovered this series only recently and I can understand why, as I found out, it is such a world-wide success and why Mma Ramotswe has become such an icon. It is not great, ponderous literature -- it is much more than that! The plots are simple but well done; the writing very pleasant. However, in my opinion neither plot nor style, perfectly unobjectionable as they are, are these books' main attraction. The characters are, and their interaction. The people come to life all the time: wise, funny, loyal, weak -- completely human. There are great life lessons to be learned in these apparently simple books, from love for humanity, to the need for forgiveness and respect. Objects, and the land, also play an important and unforgettable role. I barely knew where to find Botswana on the world map before, and now it is so vivid in my mind as if I lived there for ever. One warmly given suggestion: read these books chronologically. You will enjoy them even if your read them in an hapazard order, but if you read them as they were written you will be drawn even more into this jewel of a world.
This sequel stands alone if read without the previous book but adds to its predecessor's story seamlessly. I have not been to Africa and had no particular interest in going, but reading these books while working with a number of Africans has kindled a desire if not to visit Africa, at least to know more. The experience of being called "my sister" is now even more powerful - which I did not think was possible.
This is an amazing series. So touching, so evocative. Beautifully drawn characters and a lovely insight into a part of life and into a remarkable country that would have missed out on otherwise. Thank you, Alexander McCall Smith. This man has a wonderful gift for conveying "spirit of place", as is also evidenced in his 44 Scotland Street series set in Edinburgh.
I have read each & every book in the Number One Ladies Detective series and eagerly await each new addition to the series. The characters are endearing, the mysteries soft-peddled and the affection for Botswana lovingly obvious.
I ordered this entire series of 12 previously published books to replace my collection loaned to a friend who then gave the collection away. Lady Detective Precious, her friends & family provide an uplifting read to be enjoyed again & again.
In Alexander McCall Smith's second book in the series of the exploits of Mma Ramotswe the only "Lady Detective" in Botswana, he again delights us with Mma R's simple but elegant solutions to her detective work. Each of her adventures are well illustrated and wonderfully narrated. And yet, Smith gives us more in this book than in his first with respect to the cultural elements of Botswanian society. He clearly points out the traditional Botswanian approach to life versus the modern day approach. The loss of certain values within the society are elucidated. And the reaction of those who still hold to more traditional values is described. And yet, once again, Smith paints a truly wonderful and revealing picture of a proud country, that sees itself on the leading edge of Democracy in the African continent. The book is extremely fine in its genre and a recommended read of all observers of human behavior.
This wonderful book takes the promise of the first in this series and turns it into a fully realized novel. The reader arrives at the end of the book with a sense of satisfaction and simple happiness.
The characters in this book feel absolutely real-- so real, in fact, that I almost have to struggle to accept that if I traveled to Botswana I would not be able to find them. Gentle humor, kindness, unique culture, truly good and decent values, yet human mistakes... this book has everything required for a wonderful read. The reader will finish this book wanting to immediately begin the next in the series.
Wonderful dialogue, fascinating settings, real human dilemmas, and above all the most endearing characters ---- you will adore this book and feel lifted up by it.