Friday, December 27, 2013

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith

Even a traditionally built woman such as Mma Precious Ramotswe can conclusions, that is. As Botswana's clever detective discovers, even after the most careful investigation, sometimes what seems to be the truth isn't always. 

In the latest book about the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, the detectives are baffled by a case of the anonymous character assassination of the owner of the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon (that gives the novel its title). Then there is the client who hires Mma Ramatswe to verify the identity of a young man who has inherited a farm from his uncle. Could the nephew be an impostor or does the client stand to gain in some way by proving that he is?

There are a few new characters introduced and, of course, there are the regulars that make this series such a delight: the prickly associate detective Mma Makutsi; her gentle husband Phuti Radiphuti; and Mr. J.L.B. Maketoni, husband of Mma Ramostswe, who owns the Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors and is concerned that he is not a 'modern husband'. 

Over the course of the investigation of these newest cases, there is a deepening of the friendship and respect between Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi as each woman learns a lesson or two from the other. Quite a reminder of how valuable some friendships can be.

I love settling in with these citizens of Botswana. Mr. McCall Smith writes with such tenderness for his characters. And, somehow, he can make even an episode of Mma Ramotswe getting stuck in the mud in her little white van amusing and enchanting at the same time.  

As always, during the investigations there are many cups of tea, slices of cake filled with sultanas, talk of cattle, musings on life and human nature, and bumpy rides in the little white van that Mma R. feels such an affection for. I am always happy to be along with her for the ride.

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