Precious and Grace (The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency) – Alexander McCall-Smith




Imprint: Little Brown Group

ISBN13 9781408708118

RRP $32.99

From one of my favourite authors comes a new instalment in the quirky and endearing lives of the characters that revolve around The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.  Last Saturday night I took myself to bed early and read this in one sitting and what a joy it is – as always.

There is something so refreshing to the spirit when we can join Precious in her beloved Botswana and walk among her friends and share her daily life as well as her cases.  When we visit the orphanage for tea and cake or watch the children with their simple activities or when we listen to the wisdom of Mr J. L. B. Matekoni we are immediately transported to a land of wide spaces and vast blue skies.

Precious begins this tale with some considerations of relationships and their nature – family, friends, not friends, late and not late – and reflects on their various differences. This thread of connections runs throughout the narrative.

Of course it’s not all daily routine life with Mma Ramotswe. She takes on a rather strange client in this episode. A woman who was raised in Botswana but then moved to the Canadian colony – about as different as possible to the African country she had loved as a little girl. She seeks out the help of Precious to locate people and places from this childhood but there is something quite strange about some of her reactions.

For those of us who have followed Precious’ journey throughout there is a huge amount of joy in the rise and rise of Grace, Mma Makutsi – erstwhile agency secretary but who somehow manages to elevate her position within the firm until she now ranks as co-director, much to Precious’ bafflement!

Indulge yourself with some vicarious visiting to a simpler life (though Botswana is certainly moving with the times to the regret of older characters). As one who is most definitely traditionally built I can assure you this will be a joyful time out from your everyday life.

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