Dan Sandman

22: The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith

In Books, Crime, Fiction on 29/05/2015 at 12:00 pm

The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall SmithAh, time for another visit to the wonderful world of Alexander McCall Smith’s Botswana. It’s a magical place where Africa’s problems can all be wiped away by a nice cup of red bush tea and a friendly consultation with the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency; where readers are encouraged to feel that a little human kindness can go a very long way; and where life’s moral problems can be handled with ladies intuition and common sense. Of course, the real world is not quite so simple, but who said that fiction should be a facsimile of reality anyway?

So, in this perfectly paced book (210 pp), the forth in the series, Mma Ramotswe and her trusty sidekick Mma Makutsi are back: turning a patriarchal society on its head whilst still fighting for the old Botswana ways. Just as things were getting comfortable, and Mr. J. L. B. Maketoni was getting over his depression illness, Mma Ramotswe’s business is threatened, when she discovers that she has a competitor. The Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency is run by a man with a Zulu sounding name (Zulu people are always too loud), who promotes his experience in Johannesburg and New York. Will Mma Ramotswe loose business, as clients are attracted by such exotic sounding city names, in such exciting sounding countries as South Africa and America? And will people go to the new face in town because he’s a man, and you can trust a man, especially a man who has worked in the CID? All will be revealed.

Meanwhile, Mma Makutsi sets up her own typing school business, and, seeing a gap in the market, she decides the classes will be run solely for male students. This clever idea is a great success, meaning that Mma Makutsi now has three jobs. And when she meets an older man with unusually shiny shoes, everything seems to be on the up. But is the diamond company man all that he’s cracked up to be? Only Mma Ramotswe can find the answer.

This series always makes me smile with pleasure.

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