Friday, February 25, 2022

The Joy and Light Bus Company (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #22), by Alexander McCall Smith (author), Bianca Amato (narrator)

Recorded Books, ISBN 9781980094074, November 2021

Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are finding that their tiny detective agency is slowly growing more profitable, and there are some steps they can take to improve that (such as improving their billing practices!) They also have a new client coming in, a wealthy businessman who thinks his father, declining in health, has been manipulated into changing his will to leave the family farmstead to his nurse. The case turns out to be more complicated than it seems on the surface.

Meanwhile, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni goes to a one-day business course, not certain it will be of any use, but willing to give it a try. One of the speakers turns out to be an old school friend from his home village. That friend recognizes him, and later approaches him with a business proposal. He wants J.L.B. Matekoni to join him in starting a bus company. They'll go 50-50 on the initial investment, and on the profits when they have them. But to raise his share of the investment capital, Mr. Matekoni will have to mortgage Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors.

Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi find themselves investigating the complicated family history of their client, while also being handed another distressing puzzle by Mma Ramotswe's friend, Mma Potokwane, matron of the local orphanage. They've been brought a young girl who was working, involuntarily and for no pay, in a house in a very prosperous part of Gaborone. She says there are two other young people also being forced to work there, but an ill-planned police investigation didn't find them.

But Mma Ramotswe's biggest worry is Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's new business plan, a plan to enter an industry he knows nothing about, possibly putting at risk both his own successful and respected car repair business, and the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, whose climb toward greater profitability to no small degree rests on the very affordable, in fact free, office space provided by Tlokweng Roads Speedy Motors. If he goes ahead with this, and it fails--if his old school friend is in fact the scammer the two ladies suspect him of being--Mma Ramotswe and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni could both lose the things that giving meaning and purpose to their lives.

As regular readers of the series know, there's no thriller material here, no life and death dangers. It's gentle meditation on family, friendship, and decency, with a lot of good tea. And I love it. Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

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