Monday, November 30, 2020

How to Raise an Elephant (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency #21), by Alexander McCall Smith (author), Adjoa Andoh (narrator)

Recorded Books, ISBN 9781980094040, November 2020

Charlie is lured by one of his "friends" into providing temporary care for a baby elephant--and borrowing Mma Ramotswe's tiny white van to transport the elephant. He's hiding the elephant at his uncle's house, in the rather stark back yard, chained to a metal pole in the ground. But Charlie is doing his best to take good care of the baby, feeding formula from a bottle, and having his young cousin watch the elephant to be sure he doesn't get tangled up while Charlie is at work.

He did not, of course, tell Mma Ramotswe what he was planning to move in her van. The strange, earthy odor and the slightly bent tailgate, though, do arouse the curiosity of Mma Ramotswe and, especially, her husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni.

What Charlie doesn't  know is what his young cousin overheard Charlie's "friend" and another man talking about: their plans to sell the baby elephant to a butcher. Charlie can be feckless, but he's never cruel, and would not agree if he knew what the plan was. When this information reaches Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi, they have to act. And who do you ask for help with an orphan? Mma Potokwane, matron of the (human) orphan farm, of course.

As always, there are other threads in this visit with Mma Ramotswe and her friends. A distant cousin of Mma Ramotswe, Blessing Mompati, makes an unexpected visit to seek financial help for her neighbor, who needs a hip replacement. Mma Makutsi thinks things may not be exactly as they appear, and they decide to make a visit to Blessing and her neighbor.

And one set of quiet neighbors on Zebra Drive have moved, and the new neighbors have a shockingly loud and unpleasant argument almost immediately on moving in. Is the peace of Mma Ramotswe's neighborhood going to be shattered for good?

These books are not about their plots, and there is no violence, and no high crimes. They're about people dealing with the ordinary difficulties of life, in ways that emphasize kindness, understanding, mutual support.

I love this series, and this book is a welcome new addition to it.

I bought this audiobook.

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