Number three in the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series, this book continues the story of Mma Ramotswe and her private investigation business. Like in previous instalments, there are several cases mixed in with personal developments of the main characters. The essence of Botswana and its people is there in abundance and the descriptive passages are of the same high standard as before.
The cases in this instalment I felt were much improved from Tears of the Giraffe. Poisoning, a wild child and the titular morality of girls in a beauty contest make the investigations varied and interesting. It is also nice to see assistant detective Mma Makutsi taking on a more challenging case and the differences between her detective style and Mma Ramotswe’s.
Mma Makutsi isn’t just taking on tougher cases. As J.L.B Maketoni, Mma Ramotswe’s fiancé, becomes ill with depression, she takes over the running of his garage and also mans the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency single handed for a while. Whilst this might seem to be a lot of growth for one character, it is done in such a way that it feels very natural and Mma Makutsi’s style of management suits her character to a tee.
The reader also gets to see how Mma Ramotswe’s and J.L.B Maketoni’s foster children are settling into their new lives. There are some heart-warming scenes involving the children and although they don’t feature prominently, they are a lovely addition to the long-term narrative. I look forward to seeing more of them later in the series and watching them grow up.
As always with this series, if your interest is in Africa or detective novels (or both) then give this series a try. I do recommend reading the books in order though.