!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> Review: How To Raise An Elephant
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How To Raise An Elephant
The No1 Ladies Detective Agency – Book XXI
BY Alexander McCall Smith

Little, Brown
3 September 2020/ ISBN 9781408712825

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde 


It is a hot, dry summer in Botswana and everybody is praying for the rains to come. Business is slow at the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, but there are always other things to deal with. Why does Charlie want to borrow Mma Ramotswe’s tiny white van? What about her new neighbors who appear to have a less than harmonious marriage (and single beds)? And does her distant cousin Blessing’s request for help conceal a darker purpose?

I do hope that Mr Smith continues to write these books for many more years; I do look forward to their annual appearance so much. This year particularly we all need a bit of escapist comfort and spending a few hours in the company of Mma Ramotswe and her friends is a special joy. Despite being filed in the crime section this series is less about detection (although this is featured of course) and more about other things. Such as pondering the human condition, trying to be more tolerant of other’s failings and not making snap judgements based on scanty evidence. Charlie has a rather unexpected reason for needing the van, Mma Makutsi has a lesson in not seeing everything in black and white and Mma Ramotswe gets to spend an evening without her family which proves rather more interesting. I am used to seeing Africa portrayed in a very negative light in the media so it is good to read about a country with a far more stable government, albeit one where a lot of people are still very poor. This is one of those rare books whose contents linger in the mind long after the end. A positive treat with no calories. Dig in and enjoy.

Reviews of other titles in this series:

Blue Shoes and Happiness, #7
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, #8
The Miracle at Speedy Motors, #9
Tea Time For The Traditionally Built, #10
The Double Comfort Safari Club, #11
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party, #12
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon #14
The Handsome Man’s DeLuxe Café #15
The Woman Who Walked In Sunshine #16
Precious and Grace
The House of Unexpected Sisters #18
The Colours of all the Cattle #19
How to Raise an Elephant #21

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and www.craftsuprint.com/rachel-a-hyde/
Reviewed 2021
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