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IN THE COMPANY OF CHEERFUL LADIES by Alexander McCall Smith Kirkus Star


by Alexander McCall Smith

Pub Date: April 19th, 2005
ISBN: 0-375-42271-4
Publisher: Pantheon

The finest hour yet for Botswana’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, which is tracking a defalcating Zambian financier even though it “preferred to deal with more domestic matters.”

Her marriage to Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, agrees with Mma Precious Ramotswe, but if anything it’s increased her caseload. The trousers left behind by a housebreaker who hid under her bed have been replaced by a ripe pumpkin. Charlie, the older apprentice at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, has gone off to live with a rich woman who drives a Mercedes-Benz. The tenants in Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni’s rental property have set up an illegal bar. Worst of all, Mma Ramotwse’s first husband, abusive jazzman Note Mokoti, has reappeared with some most unwelcome news. Though all these problems are miles from the mysteries typical of the genre, all of them except for one rather big unresolved question yield to the patient wiles of Mma Ramotswe and her assistant, Grace Makutsi, the pride of Botswana Secretarial College, whose methods emphasize solving problems over fixing guilt. Along the way, Mma Makutsi will find love in an unexpected place; Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni will find a replacement for Jimmy; and the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency will almost find that Zambian financier.

Smith maintains the most civilized standards in the annals of detective fiction. But now, for the first time, he plots as if he actually means it.