Review of 'Tea Time for the Traditionally Built'

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith
10th book in the 'No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series

tea_time_for_the_traditionally_built.jpg Mma Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency has no interest in football but is hired by the owner of the Kalhari Swoopers to investigate why his team seem to be losing all the time. She takes the case and wastes no time in interviewing all the players, listening to their complaints and petty squabbles…but can she find the truth amongst all of this? Her able assistant Mme Makutsi has troubles of her own as her rival Violet Sephotho sets her sights on Makutsi's fiancé, Mr Phuti Radiphuti, owner of the Double Comfort Furniture Shop when she takes a job in the shop selling beds. Violet makes an impressive first impression selling many beds…but is it all what it seems? Meanwhile, Mme Ramotswe is also forced to admit her little white van is finally on it's last legs with her husband Mr J. L. B. Matekoni replacing it with a much nicer, new van…but it lacks the “character” of her old van, can she grow to love it just as much?

Events of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency continue in Gaborone, Botswana with a much bigger client in an area very much outside of the comfort zone of Mma Ramotswe but she gamely steps in to do what she can. As always, the charm oozes forth in this 10th book of the series though here there is so much going on it seems we often have little time to catch our breath. So on the personal front, very little happens here as our favourite characters deal with the situations put before them. Also as always, the solution the various problems posed here are largely resolved quite satisfactorily and not necessarily in the way the reader might think.

McCall Smith once again conjures up a gentler, simpler world full of African compassion and sensibilities along with interesting, quirky, characters. Sure, we could argue there are a lot of stereotypes here but, somehow, it works and remains incredibly readable. Somehow, McCall Smith draws us into this world that he vividly (and succinctly) describes. There are still some difficult moral questions posed here but they are addressed in a simple but very compassionate way perhaps only possible when looked at with not only complete honesty but also with an eye for the obvious answer. Too often it seems people overlook the obvious, seeking instead the more obscure and in doing so lose sight of the real issue.

Another easy and enjoyable read from the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2024-03-01

Genre: African

Publisher: Abacus

Publication Date: 2009

ISBN: 9780349119977

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

Other reviewed books by Alexander McCall Smith: