Wednesday, May 28, 2008

50BC08 #11: The Miracle at Speedy Motors

The Miracle at Speedy Motors (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Book 9) The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith
rating: 4 of 5 stars

The real mystery in this series is how the author manages to continue the charming adventures of Precious Ramotswe, Grace Makutsi and Mr. JLB Matekoni well past the original seven volumes he had originally intended. Now on Book #9, McCall still manages to breathe new life into his characters, even if they still maintain habitual bush tea drinking or conversations with their shoes!

One of the gifts or major frustrations of this series (depending on your preference) is the slow rate of character development (at least in terms of their interpersonal relationships). While Mma Potokwane can still be relied upon to supply fruitcake and charm Mr. JLB Matekoni into doing odd jobs, other characters begin to grow and mature, even if only by inches. The changes are subtle, but this is what keeps readers coming back for yet another volume.

I have to admit to skipping over some of the repetitions (Smith writes so that you can pick up any volume in the series, but I do recommend reading them in order) but I found the plot coherency better in this book than in the Good Husband of Zebra Drive, for example. There is still a sense that perhaps he sets up too many loose ends and feels a pressure near the end to tie them up, but it doesn't detract from the general enjoyment of the novel.

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