Review published on September 21, 2017.
This is the eighteenth book in The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series and it is the usual blend of charm, gossip, philosophical musings and a little bit of detecting. A lot of tea is drunk, cake is eaten, Mma Makutsi is forthright, while Mma Ramotswe is thoughtful and more tactful. If you haven’t read any of these books (or any of McCall Smith’s other two series set in Scotland) then be prepared for comfort reading at its best. There are enough sly references or digs at current events to prevent them from being too sentimental. When he began the series, McCall Smith said he wanted to ‘convey something of the special nature of Botswana’ and his love for the country shines through all the books. The books have sold over 20 million copies in the English language and been translated into 46 languages so he must be doing something right.
In this book, the detective agency is investigating what appears to be an unfair dismissal, but during the course of the investigation, Mma Ramotswe uncovers a family secret. It is a secret that threatens everything she holds dear.
I have read all the books in this series (and most of the ones set in Scotland too) and I love them. However, I would not want them to be my only reading matter. They are good to read in between more meaty books. If chosen for a reading group book, I think a good point for discussion would be why they are so popular.
Maddy Broome 4/3
The House of Unexpected Sisters by Alexander McCall Smith
Little, Brown 9781408708149 hbk Sep 2017
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