Several books in, No. 1 lady detective remains just as enjoyable

12/01/2013 12:00 AM

08/08/2014 10:20 AM

“The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon” by Alexander McCall Smith (Pantheon, 242 pages, $24.95)

It’s time for another trip back to Botswana to spend some time with No. 1 lady detective Mma Ramotswe, and, as always, it’s a pleasure.

In the latest installment of the series, Mma Ramotswe takes on a case pertaining to a questioned inheritance and another where the owner of the titular salon is the target of an unfounded smear campaign.

Missing her able associate Mma Makutsi, who has just had a baby, Mma Ramotswe does much of the work herself, but soon finds that Mma Makutsi misses her just as much and can’t stay away for long,

Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe’s husband tries out a course on becoming a modern husband, and forever-an-apprentice Charlie takes an unexpected shine to the baby.

Deep into a series, it’s not unusual for the characters or plots to lose their luster, but that’s not the case with this series. Smith’s thoughtful observations on life and human nature, as well as his distinctive writing style and gentle humor, make this volume as enjoyable as the ones that have come before.

Lisa McLendon teaches journalism at the University of Kansas. Reach her at

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