Sunday, September 11, 2016

Review of "The Handsome Man's Deluxe Café" by Alexander McCall Smith




As the story opens Mma Precious Ramotswe has made her assistant, Mma Grace Makutsi - now happily married with a new baby - a partner in the "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency." This makes little difference to Grace's job duties however since business is sparse. Economic problems also make it necessary for Mma Ramotswe's husband, Mr. J.L.B. Mateconi - who owns a garage - to fire his lackadaisical apprentice Charlie. Feeling bad for Charlie, Mma Ramotswe offers him a position in her detective agency - a chancy proposition since Charlie would rather put on flashy outfits and chase ladies than do his work.

Meanwhile Mma Ramotswe is looking into the case of an Indian woman, called "Mrs." who apparently has lost her memory. Mrs. has been taken in by a kindly Indian brother and sister who hire Mma Ratowswe to find out who Mrs. is before the authorities deport her to South Africa.

Also on Mma Ramotswe's mind is a new project of Mma Makutski, who has decided to open a café and call it "The Handsome Man's Deluxe Café." Unfortunately Mma Makutski has little knowledge of the restaurant industry and makes some unfortunate hiring and menu decisions.

As always in this series the story meanders along, with many cups of tea and homey chit-chat among the characters. Mma Makutski, a strong-minded lady with definite opinions, is her usual abrasive - though amusing - self and Mma Ramotswe does her best to smooth things over as always.

As a heads up to mystery lovers I'll say there's little mystery or detective work in this book. It's more of an update about what the familiar, well-liked characters are up to. The author's relaxed method of story-telling is what makes these books charming and enjoyable and fans of the series will probably like this book.

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