Another Review at MyShelf.Com

To the Land of Long Lost Friends
The No1 Ladies Detective Agency – Book XX
BY Alexander McCall Smith

Little, Brown
22 October 2019/ ISBN 9781408711101

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde 


Mma Ramotswe has a shock when she spots an old friend at a wedding, as she had read in the paper that she had died in a road accident. But Calviniah is very much alive, and has two mysteries that need solving. Her daughter, Nametso, is refusing to have anything to do with her, and her friend, Poppy, has lost all her money. It looks as though Poppy has become embroiled with a mechanic turned reverend whose congregation has a lot of ladies in it, but nobody is actually paying to have these cases solved. Meanwhile, Charlie’s lack of funds is a major problem if he wants to marry rich man’s daughter Queenie-Queenie.

I know I am always saying it, but these wonderful life-affirming books ought to be available on prescription. You don’t need to be a mystery reader to enjoy them, as this is not really what they are about; they concern the human condition and how we navigate our way through life. In this they have done what very few books manage and transcend their own genre, rather in the way Terry Pratchett did. Mma Ramotswe gets to ponder on the nature of goodness and tolerance, and how important it is to keep these in our hearts. She meets a new orphan at the farm, and her assistant, Mma Makutsi, delves deeper into a case where a man might or might not be having an affair. We get to see how little Charlie has and see how he ekes out an existence, we get to look inside the local diamond sorting office, and attend a wedding where there is a world of difference between those under shelter and those left outside in the hot sun. Botswana is portrayed as a stable country that might not have the conflicts that benight some other parts of Africa, but we also see the grim reality of lives affected with poverty and AIDS. This is not a long book but there is a lot in here, much of which will linger after the final page has been turned.

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
To the Land of Long Lost Friends #20

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2019