by Alexander McCall Smith ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 28, 2014
Thanks to that sturdy deus ex machina, Orphan Farm matron Mma Potokwane, all’s well that ends well in perhaps the most...
A slow mystery season in Botswana—there’s only one proper case for the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency—leaves its employees free to pursue all manner of adventures on their own.
The official case, as so often, involves no obvious crime. When an amnesiac Indian lady carrying no identification wanders into the home of Mr. Sengupta and his widowed sister, “Miss Rose” Chattopadhyay, they naturally take her in but tell Precious Ramotswe that they’d feel better if they knew who their uninvited tenant was and where she’d come from. Putting aside the strategic plan (“The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency: Challenges Ahead and Options for the Future”) furniture salesman Phuti Radiphuti has developed for the agency, Mma Ramotswe (The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, 2013, etc.) is able to put an unexpected operative on the case: Charlie, the chronically underachieving apprentice her husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, has finally let go from Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. The episode in which Charlie, rescued from despair by Mma Ramotswe’s offer of a job as an apprentice detective, stakes out the Sengupta home in the hope of following his mysterious visitor provides the comic high point of this gentle tale. It’s not giving too much away to say that things don’t exactly work out as planned for Charlie—or for Mma Ramotswe’s partner Grace Makutsi, whose venture into the hospitality business, The Handsome Man’s DeLuxe Café, runs into sadly predictable problems. If only her husband had drawn up a strategic plan.Thanks to that sturdy deus ex machina, Orphan Farm matron Mma Potokwane, all’s well that ends well in perhaps the most tranquil and unruffled entry in this renowned series.
Pub Date: Oct. 28, 2014
Page Count: 256
Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.
Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.
A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.
Pub Date: March 17, 2020
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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by C.J. Box ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2015
A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be...
Box takes another break from his highly successful Joe Pickett series (Stone Cold, 2014, etc.) for a stand-alone about a police detective, a developmentally delayed boy, and a package everyone in North Dakota wants to grab.
Cassandra Dewell can’t leave Montana’s Lewis and Clark County fast enough for her new job as chief investigator for Jon Kirkbride, sheriff of Bakken County. She leaves behind no memories worth keeping: her husband is dead, her boss has made no bones about disliking her, and she’s looking forward to new responsibilities and the higher salary underwritten by North Dakota’s sudden oil boom. But Bakken County has its own issues. For one thing, it’s cold—a whole lot colder than the coldest weather Cassie’s ever imagined. For another, the job she turns out to have been hired for—leading an investigation her new boss doesn’t feel he can entrust to his own force—makes her queasy. The biggest problem, though, is one she doesn’t know about until it slaps her in the face. A fatal car accident that was anything but accidental has jarred loose a stash of methamphetamines and cash that’s become the center of a battle between the Sons of Freedom, Bakken County’s traditional drug sellers, and MS-13, the Salvadorian upstarts who are muscling in on their territory. It’s a setup that leaves scant room for law enforcement officers or for Kyle Westergaard, the 12-year-old paperboy damaged since birth by fetal alcohol syndrome, who’s walked away from the wreck with a prize all too many people would kill for.A suspenseful, professional-grade north country procedural whose heroine, a deft mix of compassion and attitude, would be welcome to return and tie up the gaping loose end Box leaves. The unrelenting cold makes this the perfect beach read.
Pub Date: July 28, 2015
Page Count: 272
Review Posted Online: April 21, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015
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