When I received the latest novel in the Alexander McCall Smith Series I felt I had been given a ticket to my favourite holiday destination! What a joy The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon has been to read and this fourteenth book in the series did not disappoint.
Following on from The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection we see the main protagonist, Mma Ramotswe – Botswana’s only female detective and owner of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency – face uncertain days ahead. Her distinctive secretary and trusty confidante, Mma Grace Makutsi, the only graduate from the Botswana secretarial college to achieve 97 per cent, has embraced motherhood and we see new developments in many areas of Precious Ramotswe’s daily dealings with matters of detection. Alarming problems involving a will, possible fraud, revelations of a scandalous nature, and the possible link of Mma Makutsi’s archenemy in a smear campaign which threatens to defame the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon.
Meanwhile Mma Ramotswe’s husband, Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, mechanic and proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, also has new pastures to explore. Fired by total devotion to his wife he embarks on an unusual mission, leading him into the uncertain territory of ‘modern man’!
Peppered with delightful humour and appearances from secondary characters including incorrigible mechanics, uninvited snakes and a smattering of a disapproving Aunt bent on sabotage, this whole novel is unadulterated joy. For those of you who are not ‘au fait’ with the No 1 Detective series, this and every other book in the series are equally satisfying as a stand-alone read. McCall Smith effortlessly weaves the intricacies and salient backgrounds of the main characters into each separate novel, allowing the unfamiliar reader to feel immediately at home with them.
The essence of Botswana is captured beautifully. I really felt the slower pace of life, the extreme heat and the long, suffocating build up whilst waiting for the rains to finally arrive. The main characters understand the importance of respecting tradition and have a real connection with their land.
I am a number one fan of the series, and The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon once again embraces the essence of humanity with a refreshing tolerance, which makes me feel the world is a great place. I wait with anticipation for the next book!