From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. As in 2009's Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
, the previous entry in this beguiling, bestselling series, a personal crisis for one of the leads, rather than a mystery, drives the plot of Smith's superb 12th novel set in Botswana featuring his infinitely understanding sleuth, Precious Ramotswe. When a delivery truck backs into Phuti Radiphuti, the fiancé of Mma Ramotswe's prickly and insecure assistant, Grace Makutsi, and crushes his leg against a wall, Phuti's rude aunt won't allow Grace to visit her beloved in the hospital. Meanwhile, the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency tries to help the executor of an American woman, who wished to leave some money to a kind tour guide, but couldn't recall the guide's name. The resolution to the problem of another client, who was cheated out of his home by a gold-digger, might strike some as unduly fortuitous, but it makes sense within the framework of these books, which are more about humanity than logic. (Apr.)
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*Starred Review* New challenges and an exciting adventure await Botswana lady detective Precious Ramotswe in this eleventh entry in the much-beloved series. As usual, there are multiple plotlines. There’s Mma Mateleke, who suspects her husband of being unfaithful (turns out, he harbors the same suspicions about her). Mr. Kereleng falls prey to the wiles of Violet Sephotho, who manipulated him into putting his house in her name. (Readers will remember Violet as the conniving classmate of Mma Makutsi at the Botswana Secretarial College, where Mma Makutsi earned an impressive 97 percent.) Mma Makutsi copes with bad news about her fiancé, Phuti Radiphuti, who undergoes a serious leg operation following an accident at his furniture store. A more pleasant assignment involves the search for a kindhearted safari guide, who was bequeathed a nice sum of money by an American tourist. This brings the two ladies to the stunning Okavango Delta, positively fraught with feral creatures. With snakes in abundance, proper footwear is a must, much to the delight of Mma Makutsi, who has a well-known weakness for new shoes. As always, wrongs are righted and all is resolved, thanks to the wit and wisdom of these two shrewd Mmas. Even after nearly a dozen installments, McCall Smith manages to keep his series engaging and fresh. Expect much demand: the release of a new No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novel is always cause for celebration among the author’s many fans. --Allison Block
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