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IN THE COMPANY OF CHEERFUL LADIES
by Alexander McCall Smith
Pantheon, April 2005
240 pages
$19.95
ISBN: 0375422714


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

IN THE COMPANY OF CHEERFUL LADIES, the latest of the novels about Mma Precious Ramotswe, owner of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith has another winner.

At the beginning of the novel Mma Ramotswe reflects on her life and those around her. She is sensitive to the changes in society. Honesty and kindness were always the Botswana way but now are seldom seen. The events portrayed in the story carry this theme. Though the book starts slowly it builds up to a smashing finish with a hint of delightful possibilities for future books.

Mma Makutsi is discovering she is now a successful woman with a new home, good job, and savings. It is time for her to enjoy life. She begins to take dancing lessons for fun and to meet people. She learns to dance but not all the people she meets are what she expected.

Mma Ramotswe is quite busy trying to find a Zambian financier who has disappeared when her life gets complicated by a man hiding under her bed. Who was he, and how to explain a man running half-naked from her home? Then of course, why did someone steal the man's pants and leave her a huge pumpkin? Or did they? Are these jokes or is her life in danger?

With so much to think about she becomes absorbed and almost kills a man who ultimately is in a position to save her. While all these troubles are weighing her down, Charlie, the apprentice, leaves work with a mysterious woman in a silver Mercedes Benz. Mma Makutsi feels that Mma Ramotswe and she should investigate the matter and save Charlie from himself. However, before this happens someone from Mma Ramotswe's past threatens the very life she has tried to build for herself.

Though it may seem that I am telling the story, I have tried to simply brush lightly on just a few of the high spots. The events in the story are intricately woven and the revelation of character is carefully and delicately peeled back. The resolution of each conundrum, if not always a surprise, at least is very rewarding.

Reviewed by Ginger K. W. Stratton, January 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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