#1 ladies’ detective agency wins the day again

ladies detective

If you haven’t yet read any of the charming little novels in the #1 Ladies Detective Agency Series, what are you waiting for? There’s no better time than now.

Take Alexander McCall Smith’s latest contribution, his 14th, The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon. True to form, Mma (Ms.) Precious Ramotswe, founder and proprietor of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency in Gaborone, Botswana, exercises her special brand of intuition, deductive powers, and an uncanny ability to read people as she takes on two challenging cases. In one, a suspicious lady lawyer has asked her to determine whether the principal beneficiary of a will she has written is actually who he claims to be. In the other case, the proprietor of a newly expanded beauty salon is under attack from a vicious whispering campaign that is scaring clients away, and she asks Mma Ramotswe to identify the culprit.


The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency #14) by Alexander McCall Smith @@@@ (4 out of 5)


Despite the slow pace of the action in The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, McCall Smith manages to pack a lot of activity into this one short novel, musing about friendship and about social change all the while he conveys the measured rhythm of life in a very special African country. Botswana is widely respected for its political stability, its relatively advanced educational and healthcare services, its status as the least corrupt country in Africa, and, with the exception of economic reversals in 2007-9, consistently one of the very highest rates of economic development in the world ever since gaining its independence in 1966.

For any fan of McCall Smith’s work, it’s likely to be a pleasant relief (as it was for me) to encounter all the delightful continuing characters in the #1 Ladies Detective Agency Series: Mma Ramotswe’s husband, always referred to in full as Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, the proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors and “the finest mechanic in all Botswana”; the exasperating “associate detective,” Mma Grace Makutsi, who is pregnant as the story commences; Mma Potokwane, the “traditionally built” matron of the orphan farm outside Gaborone; Phuti Radiphuti, owner of the Double Comfort Furniture Shop and sheepish husband of Mma Makutsi; and even the nefarious Violet Sephotho, bane of Mma Makutsi’s life and predator upon the men of all Botswana. Read a few of these lovely little books, and these characters will populate your imagination for years to come.

Previously, I’ve reviewed three other novels in the series: The Double Comfort Safari Club, The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection, and The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party. They’re all a delight to read.

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