Friday, 15 May 2009
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith
I’ve lost my job!
Oh, pet! Here, have some tea… and cake, quick, cake.
I’m going to be back in work in a week - determined
Of course you will. But you need to recoup your forces after a shock like that. Comfort reading is what you need.
And you recommend?
Things are tough here, no question - but in Botswana, bordering on Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, the AIDS epidemic has cut life expectancy from 65 years to 35. They know about hard times.
This is supposed to cheer me up how?
The ‘traditionally built’ (22 stone) ladies of the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency sail through life, oiling the wheels with kindness and courtesy. These are truly life-affirming babes.
Funny, actually - a gently ironic humour based on Botswana’s sweet-natured way of doing things. In the 10th in the series, detective-in-chief Mma Precious Ramotswe and her trusty sidekick Mma Makutsi are trying to find out why the Kalahari Swoopers football team has lost its swoop and is losing every game.
Not a thriller, I’d say?
In its way. A ruthless man-stealer is moving in on Mma Makutsi’s fiance with her effective bed-selling skills. A client’s husband has invited his boss to dinner - not knowing that his boss is her husband too - she’s a woman rich in husbands. And Mma Ramotswe finds out that her own husband’s apprentices are more than they seem.
The writer is, um, Motswana?
Alexander McCall Smith was born in Zimbabwe, not Botswana, and is now Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. But these books are gorgeous, just the thing to read when you’re in trouble.
Go to bed with a pot of tea, a big box of chocolates and this book, and it will salve your wounded soul. By the time you’re finished, you’ll be ready to leap up and get that work.