Mma Ramotswe has been engaged to Mr. J.L.B Matekoni for quite some time, and still they have no weeding date. But she doesn't want to be too pushy, for Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni has much on his mind. Mma Potokwani, who runs the orphan farm, has tricked him into a parachute jump to benefit charity.
Like the rest of the series so far, the most apt word for this one -- and I mean this in the best possible way -- is "gentle." It's a gentle story about gentle people (mostly), featuring gentle ruminations, the gentle suggestion of a plot, and a gentle sense of humor. Actually, that last thing is very much in evidence this time out, and I found myself smiling or even laughing (gently!) quite a few times as I read. Which is enough to make this probably my favorite of the series so far.
My only complaint is that the book cover needs to make it clearer which number this is in the series. There is no number on the cover, and the books are frequently listed out of order on the inside cover. Particularly important as the stories are starting to concentrate a lot less on detecting and a lot more on the personal lives of the central characters. I would say that given the content, you would really not want to read this book out of sequence.
This being McCall Smith we already know that all the answers will be positive, the women worthy and the men weak, however it is still a joy to read. I suspect this may in parts be almost auto-biographical - told as the life and times of Mr JLB Matekoni. Still very enjoyable.
Like the others in the series, this is a quick, fun read. There is something very heart-warming about the quick-witted and ever-practical Mma Ramotswe.
With an obvious lack of exciting plot lines, the reader focuses completely on the characters-- beautifully drawn, sometimes flawed, and always forgiven their faults. In a leisurely pace, McCall Smith recreates the colorful everyday lives of these ordinary people, who treasure friendships, treat each other with respect, and possess inherent good sense. Honoring the values that contemporary readers sometimes do not take the time to preserve, McCall Smith portrays complex social relationships in very simple and direct prose. Warm, gently humorous, and loving, McCall Smith creates a kind of vicarious nostalgia for this way of life, a nostalgia which readers will continue to indulge and treasure as the series continues. Mary Whipple
lived here in this dry country, and had always lived here. Mma Ramotswe had once described the traditional plants of Botswana as loyal and yes, that was right, thought Mma Makutsi, that is what they are - our old friends, our fellow survivors in this brown land that I love and love so much.
In this, the fifth instalment of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, Mma Potakwani, the matron of the orphan farm at Tlokweng, manoeuvres Mr J.L.B. Maketoni into doing a charity parachute jump, Mma Makutsi moves house, and Mma Ramotswe investigates a rich business-woman's suitors to find out if they are only after her money.
While reading this book, it occurred to me that Mma Ramotswe would be perfect for a Botswana version of the "Grumpy Old Women" television series, since she is always lamenting how the old Botswana ways and traditional values are in danger of being lost in the modern world.