The being swamped by paperwork but luckily
The Full Cupboard of Life is the fifth book in a delightful series of books by Alexander McCall Smith. The series started with The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency.Situated in Botswana, a country where the traditional values are slowly diminishing but life, as a whole rolls on. There are three main characters in the book; Mma Ramotswe, Mr J.
L.B. Matekoni and Mma Makutsi. Mma Ramotswe is the star of the series and Botswana’s No.1 Lady Detective.
She started her agency after her father Obed Ramotswe, who was a good man and knew cattle like no other, died and left her the herd. She sold most of the cattle which enabled Mma Ramotswe to buy a house in Zebra drive and start her ‘world famous’ No.1 Ladies detective agency.Mma Ramotswe was in danger of being swamped by paperwork but luckily Mma Makutsi (who scored the unbelievably high score of 97% in her final exam at Botswana Secretarial College) arrived and saved the day.
She has now been promoted to assitant detective no less. Mma Ramotswe had a brief an unhappy marriage to Note some years ago but she has largely put that behind her and is engaged to Mr J.L.B.
Matekoni…mind you it has been a very long engagement.
Mr J.L.B. Matekoni is the propietor of Tlokweng Speedy Motors.
The Name refers to the speed with which clients have their cars returned rather than the speed at which the cars are made to go; but try explaining that to the apprentices. The characters are all very gentle, have strong morals and have a ‘relaxed’ attitude to the days work..
..getting to 10 o’clock wihout a good cup of Bush Tea is very hard. Mma Ramotswe has a good deal of common sense and cunning and uses her intuition and ability to read people to solve many of her cases.
Mma Makutsi is a loyal friend and companion who is very organised (they taught her to make plans at the college…
and did I tell you she scored 97%)and is a perfect addition to the offices of the No1 Ladies Detective Agency.Mr.J.
L.B. Matekoni is someone who really understands cars, they talk to him, they sing to him and he cares for them. His two apprentices do not ‘understand’ cars and it frustrates him no end.
The main characters fit well together and their lives gently intertwine as they live their life in Gabarone. The pace is slow but for the ‘traditionally built’ Mma Ramotswe that suits. There should always be time to sit under the acacia tree and look out on the world. The supporting characters are also a delight; Mma Holonga the inventor of the Special Hair Braiding Preparation, Mma Potokwani the dedicated but rather terrifying Matron of the Orphan Farm, Mr. Bobologo who set up the House of Hope for ‘bad girls’ and would be suitor of Mma Holonga.
The cases that Mma Ramotswe solves are almost a bye line but they do allow the writer to involve the reader in the rich tapestry of life in Gabarone.The book is an easy read and well worth the effort. You don’t have to read the other 4 books first, it stands up on its own pretty well.