Everyone’s a detective in this eighth peek into the files of Botswana’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (Blue Shoes and Happiness, 2006, etc.).
Mma Precious Ramotswe’s distant cousin Tati Monyena, who’s almost (but not quite) an administrator at the Dutch Reformed Mission Hospital in Mochudi, wants her to look into the thorny question of why three patients should suddenly die on the same black Friday. Although Mma Ramotswe tells him that the Agency doesn’t usually get involved in such cases—“we may be detectives, but not that sort”—she agrees to question the hospital staff, only to find a disconcerting lack of evidence that there’s been any foul play. Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe’s husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, the proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, has inadvertently intercepted a case—the suspected adultery of bossy Faith Botumile’s accountant husband—he promptly claims as his own, brandishing some deductions worthy of Sherlock Holmes in support of his status. And Mma Grace Makutsi, the assistant who’s shaken Mma Ramotswe by quitting the Agency for an entire afternoon, is rewarded on her return by her own investigation: chronic pilferage from Mma Teenie Magama’s Good Impression Printing Company.
Only Mma Ramotswe’s case ends up amounting to anything. But the outpouring of mercy it provokes casts a welcome new light on Smith’s beloved Botswana, where everyone is honest and polite, except for the ones who aren’t.