Precious Ramotswe runs for public office.
It’s not as if there’s not already enough happening at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency to claim Mma Ramotswe’s full attention. Dr. Marang, an old family friend from her native village of Mochudi, wants her help in identifying the hit-and-run driver who severely injured him and left him with a raft of medical bills to pay. Charlie, her half-time junior detective, gets his first chance to work as a solo operative when he travels to Mochudi in hopes of identifying the car that struck Dr. Marang. At the same time, Charlie, who spends the other half of his not very full professional life working as an apprentice under the benevolent eye of Mma Ramotswe’s husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, is courting Queenie-Queenie, whose position as Senior Sales Consultant at This-Way Fashion House has kept him from noticing how impossibly wealthy her family is. And Mma Grace Makutsi, joint managing director of the Agency, has her first quarrel with her husband, Phuti Radiphuti, who owns the Double Comfort Furniture Store. But none of those complications cost Mma Ramotswe more sleepless nights than the promise that her old friend Mma Sylvia Potokwani, the matron at the orphan farm, has extracted from her to oppose her old nemesis Violet Sephotho in the election for the Gaborone city council, a race that will likely pivot on the plans to build the Big Fun Hotel, which promises to live up to its name, on a parcel of land adjoining the local cemetery.
Readers familiar with this venerable series (The House of Unexpected Sisters, 2017, etc.) will know that the race will be run in McCall Smith’s own patented tempo. But it bears all the quiet weight they’d expect before reaching a particularly appropriate ending.