This book begins with Mma Ramotswe (Precious) driving her beat-up white van in to work at the Ladies Number One Detective Agency and thinking of all the categories of people in her life. First, she divides the group into those who are still present, and those who are late. Among the latter is her dear departed father, whose death she likens to the sun going out of the sky. Then she divides the group into various subgroups, family, friends and colleagues. She is fortunate to have a wonderful husband and two foster children. Then she considers enemies, which she admits she does have at least one, but with whom she would rather be friends than not. She decides she is really an enemy by association, by virtue of her colleague, Mma Makutsi (Grace), who willingly accepts the adversarial status of Violet Sephotho. All of this while driving in to work and to an appointment with a new client who has come to the Ladies Number One Detective Agency on a matter of some delicacy.
The client, Susan is a young woman who was born in Botswana but whose Canadian family moved back to North America when she was eight years old. She is trying to find the woman who was her childhood nanny when she lived in Botswana. She only has a blurry photograph taken thirty years ago, and a general idea of the neighborhood. She does not know the nanny’s name nor the address or even the name of the street of her old home, nothing besides the poor photograph. Decades have passed and many changes have come to the area but Precious and Grace do not say no to this woman, even though the odds are heavily against finding much after such a long period of time. All that Mma Ramotswe will say is that they will try. And try they do, but Mma Makutsi expresses her doubts about the motives of their new client as well as some of the women who answer their ad regarding the nanny of old.
The Ladies Number One Detective Agency shares a building with Mma Ramotswe’s husband’s business, the Tlokweng Speedy Motors Garage. One of his employees, Fanwell runs over a dog out on the road, and since it is only slightly hurt and not late, brings it to the garage to make sure it is alright. What is to be done with him? She and Fanwell try finding the owner but with no positive results. Precious adds this problem to her list of responsibilities. And what is to be done for poor Mr. Polopetsi, her part time employee who has gotten involved in a money making scheme which smells fishy at best.
This is the second book in the series I have read by this author and I enjoyed both of them. One thing that I especially like is the slower pace of life in these books. Time is taken to speak to neighbors and to have tea. This is a land where traditional teas, like traditionally built ladies, are held in high esteem. Tea is a good time to sit down with a friend just to chat or talk about more serious matters, such as advising against Mr. Polopetsi’s investment proposals. The ladies of the Number 1 Detective Agency, Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are hard at work again with surprising ingenuity, patience, and gracefulness when dealing with all the troubles which have landed on their doorstep.
Precious and Grace, by Alexander McCall Smith
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