Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Review: Tea Time for the Traditionally Built

Being a 'traditionally built' woman myself, I've always loved Alexander McCall Smith's Mma Precious Ramotswe of 1st Ladies Detective Agency fame. This 10th book in the series is as gentle and delightful a read as the previous ones. In this episode, Mma R's little white van finally bites the dust, and she is in mourning. Her side-kick Grace Makutsi is busy keeping her fiance Mr. Phuti Radiphuti out of the evil clutches of her nemesis from the Botswana Secretarial College, Violet Sephotho. In the meantime, the agency is hired by Mr. Molofololo, the owner of a local football team, to look into why his team has been losing. Is, as he suspects, one of the players sabotaging the games? Neither Precious nor Grace knows a thing about 'football' (soccer) and it takes the help of Mma Ramotswe's foster son Puso to get the answer. This series is one of my all time favorites. On the surface, it's hard to say why. It certainly is not in the same league of other 'mysteries' or detective stories, but the grace, gentleness, courtesy, and pleasant good writing guarantees that when I pick one up and read it, I will put the book down feeling good about human beings. In addition, McCall Smith's wonderful introduction and explanation of the customs, traditions and culture of Botswana are truly enlightening for someone who has never been there. If you are lucky enough to get it in audio, the cadence of Lisette Lecat's readings adds even more richness. These books were made to be heard, not just read. Since Precious is still searching for her white van, an 11th book looks like a good bet.


  1. Being a "traditionally built" woman myself, I've been curious about this book too. I like your review and now must read it. I have only read the first book a long time ago but a book club is going to read this so I will re-read it and then start in on the rest.

  2. Nice review! I've read the other books in this series - still have to buy this one.

    Did you read Corduroy Mansions when it was recently published in serial form on telegraph uk?

    Link is as follows: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/corduroymansionsbyalexandermcca/


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