It is a troublesome fact on which even Mma Ramotswe and her assistant Mma Makutsi agree: there are things that men know and ladies do not, and vice versa. It is unfortunate, for example, when Mma Ramotswe’s newest client is the big-shot owner of the ailing Kalahari Swoopers, that one thing lady detectives know very little about is football. And when the glamorous Violet Sephotho sets her sights on Mma Makutsi’s unsuspecting fiance, it becomes exasperatingly clear that some men do not know how to recognise a ruthless Jezebel even when she is bouncing up and down on the best bed in the Double Comfort Furniture Shop. In her attempt to foster understanding between the sexes and find the traitor on Mr Football’s team, Mma Ramotswe ventures into new territory, drinks tea in unfamiliar kitchens and learns to trust in the observational powers of small boys. And, as wise and warm-hearted as his heroine, Alexander McCall Smith reminds us that we must dig deep to uncover the goodness of the human heart.
Taking a break from my travel with mission theme read, I finished the book while reading NewEurope by Michael Palin.
In this book, Mma Makutsi raise an awareness that people these days tends to be lazy using cars to transport from one place to another and not walk anymore. In response to the observation, Mma Ramotswe walks to work. Along the way, met school principal ,who wants Mma Ramotswe to give a talk on detective as a career option to the boys in school,and a mysterious troubled woman.
Back in the office, Mr. Leungo Molofololo came for a visit and requested Mma Ramotswe to go undercover as the Kalahari Swooper football team masseur assistant to find out who is the traitor in the team who had been causing the team to be defeated. Mr. Molofololo invited Mma Ramotswe and Puso to the football game where the Kalahari Swoopers played with the Township Rollers. Looking for the traitor in the football team prove to be like looking for needle at the haystack. Could it be the captain Rops Thobega who is not happy with Mr. Molofololo? Could it be Quickie Chitamba, the striker, who smiled when Township Rollers scored their first goal? Could it be Big man Tafa, who is a goalie with a small stature, who goes off on the wrong side of the goal, had always wanted to be the captain of the team, who is in debt of 10,000 pula, and hates Mr. Molofololo? Is there any truth in what Oteng Boleleng said, the midfield attacker, about Big man Tafa had a bad eyesight, couldn’t even catch a pencil while he threw at him, and didn’t like Mr. Molofololo because he kept changing things, things like game tactics, plan, sponsors etc.
While solving the case of the traitor in the football team, Mma Ramotswe is struggling to let go of her 20-year-old little white van, which is assessed as beyond repair, and even though JLB Matekoni had bought her a beautiful medium-sized sky blue van. She took Fanwell, one of the apprentice aside and asked if he could fix her van. So it is on one of the evening that she dropped by at Fanwell’s house to know that he is the breadwinner for the family of six, of which includes his grandmother and two other younger step sisters. Fanwell said he may be able to go to Harry Moloso’s backyard to get the parts for Mma Ramotswe’s car parts.
While Mma Ramotswe is busy solving the case, Mma Makutsi is troubled by the news of Phuti, her fiancé, hiring Violet Sephotho as the assistant manager for his furniture shop in the bed section. Violet is out in mission to steal Mma Makutsi’s fiancé away from her. Violet sold more beds than it is possible, Mma Ramotswe sent Charlie to find the reason behind the good sales.
A lady named Lily Sephotho appears in the office of Mma Ramotswe and asked to solve the dilemma of having two husbands, one week-day and another week-end. Husband A went to work for Husband B, and now Husband A is inviting husband B to dinner and both wanted to show off or bring their wives to the dinner, which is the same person! Seen as a trouble brought on by herself, Mma Makutsi said to disclose the truth to the two husbands and the one who would forgive her infidelity would be the kind one. Mma Makutsi thought Lily Sephotho must be the mother of Violet Septotho with the inclination to be promiscuous.
There are some heartwarming part of the story like Mma Ramotswe was anxious and saw her husband arrived safely home from Lobatse and the dinner with Mma Makutsi at President hotel. The first for both Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi.
McCall Smith as usual writes a simple story which reveals wisdom and moral of the human heart. The characters of the books warm the heart so much that now there is a 6-part series running at BBC1 at 9pm on the earlier books of the No. 1 Ladies Detective agency series.
My favourite passage from the book:
I need glasses to see. I am also a lady with a certain skin problem. That is not my fault, and there is not all that much you can do about your skin. We are given a skin at the beginning, and that is our skin. if the skin you have has some blotches, then you have to finds a man who does not mind about these things – a man who looks at you, sees your skin, and then goes under the skin to see what lies beneath; to see whether person inside the skin can cook, or likes to listen to him, or can keep a house and a yard neat and clean, and will be kind to his aged father. That is what you hope a man will look for under a blotchy skin.
But unfortunately men are weak. They may know that they should look for these finer qualities in a woman, but they do not always do it. They see, instead, the clothes that a woman wears, and they look at her figure and the way she walks, and at the bright things she puts in her hair – they cannot help it, poor men, they are dazzled, just as a mouse is hypnotised by the swaying of a cobra.
More about the No. 1 Ladies detective agency in BBC1, click here
(For the answer to some of Mma Ramotswe “teething” problems, see end of this post. If you wish to read the book, perhaps you stop here. 8) )
What I like about the book:
Easy read, likeable characters, simplicity of story line, humourous.
What I like least about the book:
The results of the crimes are more often than not, anti-climax. The inconclusiveness about some of the issues raised and you had a feeling that this series goes on and on and on and on, so that McCall Smith could make a lot more money from his books!
There is no traitor in the team, the cause of the Kalahari Swoopers losing their games was because of the new shoes that Mr. Molofololo made them wear due to the request of the new sponsor. Mr. Molofololo wouldn’t hear any of it, ranting and lamenting, at the end he learnt his lessons. The crime was solved by Puso who had heard the players said that the shoes are uncomfortable and it has been 6 months since they wore their awful shoes.
Violet Sephotho was fired from her job, for using suggestive sales tactics to sell the beds. J Virtuous Phuti wouldn’t have any of it. Lily Sephoto is not related to Violet, although they both had flowers for their names. Like Mma Ramotswe said we shouldn’t assume. Both husbands wouldn’t take Lily back, luckily for Lily she had a third husband. So she is hanging on to this one.
I know, I know this is a silly book, but it should be all taken in good humour. 🙂