Diamonds, Cheaters, and the Undead
In this newest installment of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency (book 20), private detective Precious Ramotswe deals with an assortment of events. To The Land of Long Lost Friends first brings the intrepid detective face to face with an old friend who she had heard was deceased. Imagine her amazement to find the lady in question a guest at the same wedding that Precious is attending. To further complicate the situation, this old friend confides in Precious that her daughter has ceased communications because of her prestigious job in a diamond sorting house. Add to that a new case of a cheating husband and Precious and her sidekick, Grace Makutsi, have their hands full.
Assistant detective Charlie has been dating a girl named Queenie-Queenie who comes from a well-off family. He is very dejected because he wishes to marry Queenie-Queenie but he has no money when it comes to the bride price. How can he solve his problem when he has no money?
True to form, Precious involves herself in the case of the diamond-sorting daughter who, it seems, is driving a new Mercedes-Benz and is the cause for much speculative gossip; Grace and Charlie handle the case of the cheating husband. And in a well-written chapter Charlie goes to Queenie-Queenie’s house to ask her father for her hand in marriage. Readers will chuckle in delight at how this plays out.
Throughout the book, Precious Ramotswe offers reminds us of her love of life in general and her love of Botswana in particular. There is much commentary, from the characters, on changing times and attitudes.
Although I enjoyed this book, there are several trends in Mr. McCall-Smith’s writing that have become obvious; some of this is due to the growth of the characters. Mma Ramotswe has become more of a philosophizer while Mma Makutsi’s views have become even more jaded than when we originally met her. While she has always thought highly of herself and her accomplishments, her tendency to look down at others is becoming overt. Charlie, former assistant to Mma Ramotswe’s husband, is coming into his own as an assistant detective and is learning more respect for women. My favorite moments were when the young orphan Daisy is introduced and Mma Ramotswe opens her heart and her home to foster the girl.
I look forward to the next book and hopefully we’ll be treated to Charlie’s wedding and learn more about young Daisy.
Rating: 4 stars