Teatime for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith
Believe it or not this is the first book in the extensive No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series that I have read. I greatly enjoyed a radio play based on the first book, so before commencing this book I did have some idea of the main characters and of course, the white van. Now I wish I had the time to go back and savor the other 9 books.
Precious Ramotswe is having a few problems. First and foremost, her little white van has a very strange knocking noise and she is certain that Mr J L B Matekoni will finally pronounce her beloved car dead once he hears the noise. So for a while she begins to walk to the office, 40 minutes in the hot sun. But very soon her secret is discovered, and a new shiny blue van is bought as a replacement. But somehow she cannot forget her faithful friend of many years.
The second problem is that the owner of the local football (soccer) club has asked her to uncover the traitor on the team that is causing them to lose every week. The team used to be undefeated champions, but now they never win. Surely someone is guilty of match fixing, and he wants to know who it is. But traditional ladies know nothing about football. How on earth is Mma Ramotswe going to know who the culprit is?
And her assistant is no help. Grace Matkusi, who received 98% on her examinations, has doubts about her fiancee. He has just hired a new assistant manager in his furniture store to oversee the beds department. This woman was Grace’s archrival at business school and has most certainly lied about her results. Now it seems that Violet is after more than just Grace’s reputation. This problem requires Mma Matkusi’s undivided attention and there is no time left to help with any other investigation.
But a little willingness to listen to small voices and female logic and ingenuity saves the day. But what about the white van? Tune in next time…
McCall Smith portrays a lovely, peaceful Africa full of gentle people with long traditions. This is so far from the media image of pirates, massacres, and boy soldiers that it seems like a foreign land. I would dearly love to visit his Botswana and even meet Patience and Grace for they are so charming and adorable that I am sure we would be dear friends.
This is not a crime novel. It is book about people and all the things that happen to them in the course of their daily lives. And sometimes people need help. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is there to oblige.