Precious Ramotswe uses her formidable detection talents to track down her tiny white van--sold by her estimable husband Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and stolen from its new owner--while simultaneously helping to explain the dreadful losing streak of a local football team and smoothing out a snag in Mma Makutsi's engagement to Mr Phuti Radiphut.
For TEA TIME for the TRADITIONALLY BUILT is #10 in the series, the first of which was published back in 2008.
Mma Ramotswe and her assistant Mma Makutsi are called upon to investigate why a local football team has begun to lose on a regular basis. Mma Ramotswe's faithful little white van has a terminal illness, and Mma Makutsi's fiance Phuti Radiphuti does not recognise a Jezebel when he comes into contact with one. There is a more detailed synopsis in my earlier posting.
If you are looking for a blood and guts read, then this is not the book for you. As always with all the books in the series, this is a gentle progress, characterised by investigations into the small problems that loom so large in ordinary lives.
While I enjoyed the book, it is not the best in the series. I thought it felt a little padded out, with descriptions and philosophising as Mma Ramotswe ponders the meaning of life.
If you haven't read this series before you should start with The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and you will be in for a treat. These are gentle, cozy mysteries that remind you about what is really important in life. You will come to feel that all the characters are friends and you'll be eager to catch up with them in each new book.
If you've been following the series all along then you won't be disappointed. Its always a treat to see how all my old friends are doing! Mma Potokwane doesn't appear as much as usual, but we get to know Puso, the little white van, and the apprentices a little bit better. I found the book very satisfying and a nice escape from the stress currently in my life.
The book itself as a whole was different from the others in the series. The cases that Mma Ramotswe solves are both slightly anti-climactic in their endings, fizzling out in a rather rushed manner. The focus in the book is more on exploring relationships so the cases are naturally given a back seat; however you are left feeling that the book should be longer in order to fully detail the cases.
Again, other characters are given development - Mma Makutsi continues to have some chapters told from her point of view (the weakest parts in my opinion as I struggle to like her character), and it is nice to get some insight into the character of the second apprentice. I get the impression that his story will be addressed again in future.
However, this slight shortfall doesn't ruin the book and this is a nice continuation of a very enjoyable series.
Audiobook. (I only listen to these books--a charming reading to say the least.) What can I say. Always predictable. Always enjoyable. Meandering narrative. I forgive it so much because of its easy stance. I always have this second sense reminding these books are written by a man. A charming man. But he likes his women charming, moral, feisty. But. . . . Still I'm a Ladies Detective completist. What can I say?
In this volume Mma Ramotswe must face the fact that her ever-faithful tiny white van is probably on its last legs and try as she might she cannot find a way to get it repaired.
Meanwhile Mma Makutsi is faced, once again with her rival from the Botswana Secretarial College, the man-eating Violet Sephotho who has gotten a job working for Mma Makutsi's fiance, Phuti Radiphuti at his furniture store. Will Violet get her claws into Phuti, or will she be exposed for who she really is.
And finally, the owner of the local soccer team employs the ladies to find out why his once winning team is now losing every game they play. Is there a traitor on the team who is deliberately throwing the games or is the problem something else?
With the help of many cups of bush tea and the gentle nature of Mma Ramotswe's understanding of human nature, all things can be solved.
Nothing much happens in these gentle African mysteries, yet I find these books difficult to put down once I start reading. Precious Ramotswe's musings about her beloved Botswana, her late father Obed Ramotswe, and human nature in general, always remind me of the non-material blessings I enjoy in my own small corner of the world – health, a comfortable home, a supportive family, good friends and neighbors, and the companionship of my sweet dog.
The latest and tenth installment in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith, we find the owner and proprietor of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Mma Precious Ramotswe is approached by the proprietor of a local football team to help him discover the reason behind the team's losing streak. Though unfamiliar with the rules and world of football, Mma. Ramotswe and her prickly assistant Mma Grace Makutsi enlist the help of Mma. Ramotswe's football loving and very observant adopted son, Puso. With their gentle prodding, interviewing and powers of deduction, the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is tracks down the cause of the problem.
All the while, Mma Ramotswe is heartsick with a problem of her own. While she is happily married to Mr. J.L.B. Maketoni, one of Botswana's most talented mechanics, she is dismayed to discover that her much-loved and battered white van is finally giving out. Mma Ramotswe is loyal and recalls all the adventures with her white van. She is not ready to retire the van. She calls upon the help of Fanwell, Mr. Maketoni's second assistant, to see if the white van can be brought back to life.
Mma. Ramotswe's assistant, Grace Makutsi is herself distracted by trouble brewing with her fiance, the owner of the Double Comfort Furniture Shop, wealthy and hardworking Mr. Phuti Radiphuti. Mr. Phuti has hired her nemesis from the Botswana Secretarial College, Violet Sephotho, as a new saleslady in his shop. Though Mr. Phuti is oblivious, Mma. Makutsi suspects that the beautiful and scheming Violet is plotting to steal him away. Mma. Makutsi searches for a way to remove the danger without alerting Mr. Phuti.
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built does not disappoint! As the latest in the series, we are happy to find Mma. Precious Ramotswe with her gentle and kind ways unchanged. She still pays respect to the traditional ways. She generously offers help and comfort to those who need it. As she gets to know Fanwell and his circumstances, you are glad to become better acquainted with the characters in her life. The constant sense of pride in Botswana and her love for her father are woven into the narrative but the book never dips to the maudlin, folksy or cute. This book is a very enjoyable way to pass a few hours!
I highly recommend it for fans of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, people fond of detective cozies, and someone looking for a heartwarming glimpse into another culture.
In the meantime, the agency is hired by Mr. Molofololo, the owner of a local football team, to look into why his team has been losing. Is, as he suspects, one of the players sabotaging the games? Neither Precious nor Grace knows a thing about 'football' (soccer) and it takes the help of Mma Ramotswe's foster son Puso to get the answer.
This series is one of my all time favorites. On the surface, it's hard to say why. It certainly is not in the same league of other 'mysteries' or detective stories, but the grace, gentleness, courtesy, and pleasant good writing guarantees that when I pick one up and read it, I will put the book down feeling good about human beings. In addition, McCall Smith's wonderful introduction and explanation of the customs, traditions and culture of Botswana are truly enlightening for someone who has never been there. If you are lucky enough to get it in audio, the cadence of Lisette Lecat's readings adds even more richness. These books were made to be heard, not just read.
Since Precious is still searching for her white van, an 11th book looks like a good bet.
Mma Makutsi contemplated this. “That is a pity, Mma,” she observed. “Because our results are sometimes not very good.”
Mma Ramotswe shook her head. “But I think they are, Mma. Sometimes we do not find out exactly what clients want, but we find out what they need to know. There is a difference, you know.”
Mma Ramotswe is hired by the owner of a local football team the Kalahari Swoopers to find out why his team are no longer winning, while the devious Violet Sephotho takes a job in the bed department at Phuti Rhadiphuti's furniture shop, leaving Mma Makutsi distraught at the thought that Violet is planning to steal her fiance
If you've been enjoying this series, you need to read this book, even if it's only to discover the name of the younger apprentice at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors.
'Tea Time for the Traditionally Built' is no exception. There is a case regarding the local football team and why they are losing all of their games. There is the potential demise of Mma Ramotswe's little white van and the heartbreak attached. Also Mma Makutsi's troubles with he old rival Violet Stephotho,when she plots to steal Mma Makutsi's future husband.
Not at all the stuff of serial killers,fast car chases and thrill-a-minute novels that are the norm these days - but somehow,against all odds,they work,and work well too.
A throughly pleasant and enjoyable read once again. A true joy to brighten this rather gray age that we live in.