Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith: A review

It's always such a pleasure to pick up a new No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel. Spending time in the company of Precious Ramotswe is like being with an especially kind and understanding and positive old friend who may know your faults and weaknesses but who loves you anyway. It is like a refreshing cup of tea at the end of a trying day.

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection is the thirteenth in this series, and, in my opinion, it is one of the very best. The pages slipped by much too fast for me. I was very sorry to bid goodbye (for another year or so anyway until Mr. McCall Smith can crank out another one) to Mma Ramotswe at the end.

As always, the mysteries that beset Precious here are of a commonplace nature. A young man, the best of the apprentices at her husband's Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors garage, is wrongly accused of dealing in stolen goods and is arrested. Mma Ramotswe's old friend, Mma Potokwane, who has devoted her life to caring for the orphans of Botswana, is suddenly and unjustly dismissed from her position. And it appears that her assistant - er, associate - detective Grace Makutsi and her new husband may be being cheated by the contractor who is building their new house. 

In the midst of these upsetting events Mma Ramotswe has a dream of a tall man waiting for her under an acacia tree. Then one day, the tall man walks into her life! It is her great hero and role model Clovis Andersen, who wrote the book The Principles of Private Detection, the manual that has inspired and guided Precious' professional life. 

Mma Ramotswe can hardly believe her good fortune in having this paragon walk into her life just when she is overwhelmed by problems that need solving. Surely with Mr. Andersen's help she will make short work of the mysteries that confound her. But something is not right. Mr. Anderson seems very depressed and sad. Perhaps he will simply be another problem for Precious to solve.

This story rambles along, frequently in Precious' ancient tiny white van, as she searches for answers to the problems afflicting her friends. We know that, in the end, all will be well and that she will find a way to return order and justice to her world. There really is no mystery here, just the sheer joy of spending time with this good and decent woman.

6 comments:

  1. Can't wait to get the new book! Each time I read one I feel like I have been reunited with old friends. Then there is the sad farewell as a turn the last page. Between books I find myself longing for their conversations. My favorite series of all time!

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    1. I think this one is especially good, Anonymous. Enjoy!

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  2. Great that you linked in, thanks.

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    1. I'm happy to, Carole, and I look forward to visiting the other participating blogs.

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  3. This sounds like another McCall Smith masterpiece. I can't wait. I understand that it is available as an audio book. Elaine Charles will be reviewing it on her radio show The Book Report on 13 May. I look forward to hearing what the narrator does with the various voices. You can listen on www.bookreportradio.com

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    1. Thanks for the heads-up and the link, Francis. This book really is a gift to all McCall Smith fans or to anyone who just enjoys a good read.

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