Review of 'In the Company of Cheerful Ladies'

In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith
6th book in the 'No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series

in_the_company_of_cheerful_ladies.jpg Another instalment in the ever-popular “Ladies' Detective Agency” books from Alexander McCall Smith sees Precious Ramotswe's life settling in quite well with business for her agency and a happy marriage to Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. A near accident with a bicyclist brings a new face to the agency and garage, Mr Polopetsi, an ex-convict with a kind, generous heart. Meanwhile, Precious' assistant Mma Grace Makutsi is seeking a life outside of the agency so joins a dance class where she partners with an awkward, though kindly, Phuti Radiphuti who has two left feet. At Speedy Motors Charlie, a young apprentice, begins a relationship with a wealthy older woman then decides to resign from the garage, but what is really going on here? Things take a darker turn with the return of the violent Note Mokote, who Precious rashly married when she was young who has returned demanding money to avoid telling the world of a dreadful secret…

Another light, easy read from Smith. I think the magic of these books are that they are written in such a simple, naïve manner that you can't help but take them into your heart. From the familiar repetition of common elements such as Makutsi's score of 97 on her final exam at the secretarial college, to the description of the various characters, we are wrapped in Precious' cosy world in Gaborone, Botswana. But for all this comfort the books take on some fairly serious subjects such as physical abuse and prejudice but then pragmatically distilling such complex social issues into a simple and accurate simplicity. Some may see these books as trivialising such matters in the way they are dealt with but, on the contrary, these are insightful commentary into the heart of the issues involved without the needless complexity that many tend to add. Indeed, most of these books tie up a number of complex problems surprisingly quickly in their closing chapters thanks to the talent of Precious Ramotswe…and Smith.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2021-04-02

Genre: African

Publisher: Abacus

Publication Date: 2004

ISBN: 9780349117423

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

Other reviewed books by Alexander McCall Smith: