Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Precious and Grace (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective agency #17), by Alexander McCall Smith (author), Lisette Lecat (narrator)

Recorded Books, October 2016

Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi have been working together at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency for several years now. Over that time, Mma Makutsi has gone from secretary to co-director, largely through her own determination and assertiveness. Charlie, originally one of Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's apprentices, has been let go from that position, and is now Mma Ramotswe's very part-time assistant--and is starting, at last, to grow up. Fanwell, the other apprentice, is on track to be a qualified mechanic, and is also maturing. Mr. Polopetsi is a volunteer part-time assistant, contributing his special skills when he's needed and not filling in as a chemistry teacher in the schools. Then one day Mma Ramotswe finds out from her friend Mma Potokwani, matron of the orphan farm, that Mr. Polopetsi has a new money-making business scheme, the Fat Cattle Club, which sounds very much like a pyramid scheme. She's got to find out what's really going on before he gets himself into serious trouble.

A new client also appears, a Canadian woman named Susan Peters, who spent part of her childhood in Botswana, and would like to find her old home, and her old nursemaid. She paints an idyllic picture of her memories of her early years there, and Mma Ramotswe is happy to help her.

As always, this is a slower-moving, quiet story, more focused on the characters and relationships than intense mystery-solving. It's what I love about these books, and why they remain popular after seventeen entries in the series. Mma Ramotswe is wise and kind but not infallible;  Mma Makutsi is difficult, often insecure and suspicious, but ultimately loyal and sound.

I love these books for their gentleness, their character development, and the recognition that people can be good even though we're all flawed.

Recommended.

I bought this book.