Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
Alexander McCall Smith
AFRICA. When we think of Africa we are often drawn to images from the television news; appalling savagery, endless civil wars, famine and misery, but this is not the whole picture. Under the leadership of the African statesman Sir Seretse Khama the old British Protectorate of Bechuanaland emerged as a stable society; the Republic of Botswana.
Botswana is the setting for Alexander McCall Smith’s successful series of books featuring the formidable Precious Ramotswe and her Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency. Mma Ramotswe is a ‘traditionally built’ African lady. Less kind people would call her fat. With her assistant Grace Makutsi, she seeks to help her clients and works to uncover secrets that bad people wish to keep hidden. Ma Ramotswe is thoughtful and reflective. Her assistant tends to impetuousity and quick judgements, but in combination they make an effective team.
In this unputdownable story the lady detectives investigate the reasons for the local football team’s drop in form. Why are they losing every match? Is a traitor throwing the games? Mma Ramotswe learns the pitfalls of walking to work as she tries to sort out her ailing tiny white van and Mma Makutsi suspects that her old rival is trying to steal away her fiance.
Reviewed by David Kerr