Tag Archives: Alexander McCall-Smith

The House of Unexpected Sisters – The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series – Alexander McCall-Smith




Imprint: littlebrown.co.uk

September 2017

ISBN 9781408708156

RRP: $29.99

When you’ve spent the first week of your holidays sick, trying to do much-needed spring-cleaning in short bursts between resting you tend to feel pretty dreary. So to sit in my comfy  bed with fresh clean sheets, a lovely new doona cover in soothing colours, and read the latest No 1 LDS from cover to cover was doubly a treat.

It is always a joy to revisit Botswana, Precious and her life, family and friends. In this new adventure of course there is a case to be solved. It is brought to the attention of Precious and the indefatigable Grace Makutsi by meek and mild Mr Polopetis and concerns the wrongful dismissal of a widowed young mother. Grace rather forcefully (surprise!) manages to make herself into the ‘Primary Investigating Officer’ – she does love an important sounding title – and also succeeds into reducing Mr P into even further submission.  In normal circumstances Precious might have stepped in more assertively but she has much to occupy her mind of a more personal nature and it is this that really is the main focus of this book.

First there is the revelation that her scurrilous ex-‘husband’ has been seen back in Gabarone. Precious wonders what further dramas he will manage to instigate for herself and her family.

More demanding on her emotions however is the discovery of another woman who bears the same surname as her own. Her investigations lead to the completely unexpected development that this woman is her sister (half-sister) and it is her desperate fear that her father was not the good man he always seemed. Precious suspects that Obed may have been unfaithful to her late mother before she died. Her unravelling of this complication consumes her until at last the revelation lies spread out in front of her and her newly found sister Mingie.  Then at last they can begin to build their relationship.

This was exactly what I needed to occupy an hour or so of resting while feeling poorly. Not too demanding, interesting in its plot, always fascinating in character studies – and above all invoking the images of a beautiful country, culture and people.

I don’t need to recommend this to fans of McCall-Smith – but should you be wanting to add some more mystery titles to your collection this would be a fine addition.

For readers from probably around 14 years upwards.


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.