The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith
In this ninth instalment of The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, we encounter many of the same familiar characters- the indomitable Grace Makutsi with the unfortunate complexion, pushy Mma Potokwani and gentle Mr Polopetsi, against the backdrop of the big open skies, the red dust and the space and tranquillity of Botswana. Life on Tlokweng Road is much the same as ever, with little dramas and mysteries punctuated by the advice of Clovis Anderson from The Principles of Private Detection and frequent cups of tea.
This time the agency has to deal with finding some missing relatives and investigating an anonymous letter- whose writer could just be a little close for comfort. What is new about this book is the development of Mma Ramotswe’s personal life. She is always portrayed as a larger-than-life (and traditionally built), dependable and big-hearted woman, whose traditional values and simple but profound philosophies of life are liberally scattered throughout the books.
The disappointments of her past are referred to in every instalment, but we never see her betraying much emotion. In this ninth instalment, this changes, as she realises she has to let go of the past and let her relationship with her foster children, Motholeli and Puso, begin to develop.
Ironically, in reading about this Botswana so close to Mma Ramotswe’s heart and so far away from us, you see a bit of the England we all think is long gone- the respect, the values and the simple morality, with stories which restore your faith in the human race. And as ever, peace and contentedness emanate from Alexander McCall Smith’s simply but perfectly constructed language- sit down, make yourself a cup of bush tea and begin to read, and wait for all your troubles to melt away.
If you like this, you may also like:
‘The Sunday Philosophy Club’, also by Alexander McCall Smith.