Book Reviews

From a Far and Lovely Country (No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency #24) by Alexander McCall Smith

McCall Smith has written another delightful instalment in this wonderful series. As always, it is full of gentle humour and sage advice. The ‘mysteries’ are almost a side-hustle, as the reader spends time with Precious Romotswe, Grace Makutsi, Mr J.L.B. Matekoni and the other characters we have grown to know and love over the previous twenty three books. And of course, Botswana, which is an integral part of this series. McCall Smith’s obvious love of this country shines as a constant.

I can’t help but notice that none of the characters in this book are attached to their phones. A large part of the appeal of these books is that people stop and listen to each other when they talk, and I mean really listen to each other – a skill that seems to be rapidly disappearing in our world as people can’t drag themselves away from their mobile phone screens.

Here’s a favourite paragraph:

She made her way out onto the veranda, her favourite spot at this time of day, when the sun sank slowly over the line of the horizon, that green line of distant acacia trees, and when small flocks of chattering birds darted across the sky, back to the trees that were to be their home for the night. She thought of this as a time of winding down, when the concerns of the workplace were put aside, and families came together to perform the domestic tasks that would put the day to bed. She often sat there with the children in the evening, before they went off to bed. They would tell her of the events of their day, of the issues that had arisen at school, of the passions and problems of their world – so small to outsiders, but so big to a child. And she would tell them of how she had spent her day, of how Mma Makutsi had said something amusing or of how Fanwell had told a funny story he had heard from one of his friends, or they would just sit and think about things in general, not needing to say anything to one another.

Reviewed by Gaby Meares
Murder on a Monday Reading Group

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From a Far and Lovely Country (No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency #24) by Alexander McCall Smith

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