Tuesday, 25 March 2008

The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith

Little, Brown €14.99

THE soft word turneth away wrath, and in the world of Mma Precious Ramotswe, proprietor of the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana, it's also good business practice.

The ninth in the series has the same gentle charm as the others. There are no surprises here, but a happy story with some kindly humour.

In The Miracle at Speedy Motors Mma Ramotswe is commissioned to find the family of a woman whose parents have become late - as they say in Botswana - and so cannot be questioned.

The woman is certain, however, that the woman who brought her up was not the one who gave her birth.

Meanwhile, some sick person is sending frightening threats to Mma Ramotswe and her deputy. "Fat lady: you watch out! And you too, the one with the big glasses. You watch out too!" says the first.

The one with the big glasses, Mma Ramotswe's ambitious deputy Grace Makutsi, has personal difficulties that need tactful resolution: she's engaged, but her family are seeking a spectacular dowry of almost 100 cattle, when the proper rate would be more like eight.

And Rra JLB Matekone, Mma Ramotswe's husband and the owner of Speedy Motors, has found a doctor who thinks he can cure their adopted daughter's incurable paralysis.

This isn't a book that's going to knock anyone off their perch, but it's a nice story, told beautifully.

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