Review of 'Morality for Beautiful Girls'

Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith
3rd book in the 'No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series

morality_for_beautiful_girls.jpg In this third novel of McCall Smith's “No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency” we find Mr. Marekoni sole proprietor of of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors feeling out of sorts, wracked with guilt for an unspecified sin with lady detective Precious Ramotswe putting her ever-reliable assistant Mma Grace Makutsi in charge of the garage which has an instant effect on the two lazy apprentices there. Precious is given the difficult job of tracking down what is happening at a prominent politician's father's house outside the capital where people have been poisoned. Then there is the mysterious boy who has arrived at the orphanage who appears not to be able to speak and attacks people like a wild animal…just another month in the life of Botswana's foremost lady detective!

Another fun, gentle and light-hearted story from Botswana that somehow manages to uncomplicate the complicated parts of human life. Through the simple prose Smith manages to convey the underlying truths of what is important in life but never completely shying away from it's difficulties. What I have always appreciated was the author's view of the positive side of Africa that we often forget or, perhaps, are not even aware of: “It was a good ting to be an African. There were terrible things that happened in Africa, things that brought shame and despair when one thought about them, but that was not all there was in Africa. However great the suffering of the people of Africa, however harrowing the cruelty and chaos brought about by soldiers – small boys with guns, really – there was still so much in Africa from which one could take real pride. There was the kindness, for example, and the ability to smile, and the art and the music.”

The story is quite light with chapters alternating between the main characters. Here the focus is much on the two woman running the detective agency with Precious' fiancé out for the count. The mysteries are very much a minor story point and are quickly dealt with. It is pretty much like following the story in a soap opera, though in a good way as here we very much care for all of the principal characters and wish to see them succeed.

A light, feelgood read that continues the story of Precious Ramotswe with her unfailing ability to see the important aspects of what it is to be human.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2021-11-21

Genre: African

Publisher: Abacus

Publication Date: 2001

ISBN: 0349117004

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

Other reviewed books by Alexander McCall Smith: