Three relatively ordinary cases for Botswana’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency are complicated by an altogether-extraordinary meeting.
Mma Silvia Potokwane, the traditionally built matron of the orphan farm, tells Precious Ramotswe that there’s something not quite right about board member Ditso Ditso, the well-known businessman who’s insisted on building a central kitchen for the facility that will make food preparation and delivery more efficient but less loving. Soon enough, however, the matron has bigger problems to worry about: At the instance of Rra Ditso, she’s fired from the job she thought she’d have forever. While Mma Ramotswe is digesting this sad news, she learns that Fanwell, the more industrious apprentice at her husband J.L.B. Matekoni’s Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, has been arrested for doing illicit (and unwitting) mechanical work on stolen cars. There’s even skullduggery afoot in the construction of the new home furniture dealer Phuti Radiphuti is building associate detective Grace Makutsi, whom he married at the end of The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (2011). All this might well be overwhelming even for Mma Ramotswe, who’s also headed for a rare adventure outside Gaborone, if she weren’t fortified by support and wise counsel from Clovis Andersen. And not just from Andersen’s tome The Principles of Private Detection, her own professional scripture, but from the author himself, who turns up in her office just in time to offer help as sententious and self-effacing as it is effective.
Longer but not better than the 12 earlier accounts of the Agency. Few fans, however, will want to miss the byplay between Mma Ramotswe and her revered mentor.