This is the fourth installation of the successful and widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. There's 15 books in series with 2 of them a novella for young readers and another novel to be released this year.
The author is Alexander McCall Smith, PhD in Law. He is an Emeritus Professor at University of Edinburgh. And, he is brilliant.
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I was introduced to the series by a very good friend who I shall be calling Baby Love. You see, Baby Love is a very big fan of the series and could not help gushing about it every time it was mentioned. I love well written and well researched books. Since this series was highly recommended, and the author has a PhD, I didn't pass up the chance to purchase a copy of the first book (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) when I found one at Book Sale. The narrative of the first book was superb. It was emotional yet delivered in a very intelligent manner. If that doesn't make sense, let me explain. I love emotional narrative. I like getting into the "feelings" of the character. I don't want to see a character react to situations without "thinking" about them. In the real world, it doesn't always work like that. People do things for the heck of it, without taking time to think things through. I am guilty of this stupidity most of the time, which is why I like reading about "feelings" to get the bottom of my own motivations. I find books that are pushed by events less appealing. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading Terry Pratchett very much. Terry's books are all about thinking. This is also the reason why I didn't enjoy the Twilight series, which is all about emotion. And, for a first person narrative, I wish she would do more cognitive thinking away from the heart.
In this book, we see the lovely Precious Ramotswe who was still not married to J.L.B. Matekoni. The end of the first book had them engaged, and I was little disappointed that they haven't gotten hitched for realsies. But their relationship has grown much, and they have even adopted orphans. I missed a lot not reading the two books in between.
This book didn't have the riveting mysteries we had in the first one. There's only two main cases here: the Molefelo Case and the Selelipeng Case. Both cases are very personal, drawing on emotions. This book is driven by the characters, with relationships being the main focus. Although I enjoyed this book immensely and would recommend it to anyone, I feel like it's an in-between book. Much of the elements that I enjoyed in the first book was also here. I loved how Botswana was presented. It's a third world country, clinging to its traditional values as much as the Philippines. Mma. Ramotswe loves Botswana. I feel like the writer share the same sentiments and the end result is highly believable.
In tune with the 4th of July celebration, Mma. Ramotswe's patriotism stems from faith in Botswana and its people and its values. We each love our mother land in our own way. It shows how patriotism can be strong without being violent.
At some point, this is a coming of age book. It is shown through the Molefelo Case and through Puso. Both were quite heart warming. Of course, it had a happy ending.
Alexander McCall Smith is a genius. I feel that the world could use more intelligent books that teaches readers the "how" and "why".