2004-04-18 · in Books, Precious Ramotswe · 262 words

That is natural, said Mr J. L. B. Matekoni. Of course boys love their mothers. Why should they not do so?

Mma Potokwane shrugged. I agree with you. I cannot see what is wrong with a boy loving his mother.

Then why is Dr Freud worried about this? went on Mr J. L. B. Matekoni. Surely he should be worried if they did not love their mothers.

This is the second book about life at The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana. Like the first, it's almost the complete opposite of the stereotypical American detective novel; the tone is more relaxed than hard-boiled, and Mma Ramotswe's cases are usually solved by asking the right questions rather than creeping around with a pistol. The emphasis is very much on developing the characters and painting a picture of life in Botswana rather than telling a thrilling story.

The author's writing style is simple and elegant, which makes the book a real pleasure to read — a fast reader will finish it in one sitting. This is a feel-good story that avoids being condescending or repetitive.

A quick search suggests I wasn't alone in wanting a pronunciation guide for this book — I knew "Ramotswe" and could make a good guess at "Gaborone" and "Molepolole", but I had no idea what "Mma" and "Rra" sound like. (If you're also wondering, the Botswana Department of Tourism have recordings of useful Setswana phrases.)

Strongly recommended, along with the first book in the series. I'll be very surprised if the third and fourth books aren't equally good.