Review of 'The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party'

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith
12th book in the 'No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series

the_saturday_big_tent_wedding_party.jpg Mma Precious Ramotswe is missing her old truck now replaced with a shiny new one. Mysteriously the old truck reappears like a ghost throughout this latest instalment of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Precious though concentrates on a case involving the mutilation of a cow on a farm. Could the young boy who initially denies seeing anything actually have been responsible? Precious' husband Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni mechanic and proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors is having problems with his assistant Charlie who appears to have been intimately involved in creating several new Botswanans. Will he take responsibility and do what is right? Of course, there is also the matter of the titular wedding of Mma Grace Makuski, graduate of Botswana Secretarial College but also assistant to Precious. At long last she will tie the knot with Phuti Radiphuti owner of the Double Comfort Furniture Store…if she can find suitable shoes, of course.

Another light and fun instalment in the Ladies' Detective Agency that shows no sign of slowing down. In this there is a fair amount of serious topics that Precious shines her sense of justice and fair-play on including unplanned parenthood, oppression of the poor by the rich, child beating, and sexual impropriety. I guess this is why the series is so popular - Mixing fairly weighty topics with a good dose of plain speaking and living (an often quoted maxim here is that if Precious wants information she just asks directly for it). It is clear that the world is not a simple place but seeing it through Precious' eyes is, ironically, eye opening.

To be sure, the wedding to which the title refers features in only a minor way and as a simple coda at the very end of the novel…it is just an excuse for yet another visit to Botswana. Fine by me.

Some might find this book and, indeed, the series over-sentimental and simplistic never mind the fact it will certainly never win any literary awards, but I find it good-natured and, indeed, fun. Easy to read yet full of the sense of hope and the marvel of life itself.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2016-08-09

Genre: African

Publisher: Abacus

Publication Date: 2011

ISBN: 9780349123134

Other reviewed books in the 'No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series:

Other reviewed books by Alexander McCall Smith: