From a Far and Lovely Country by Alexander McCall Smith

It’s quite hard to write about these books as there are so many (24) in the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.

The key elements are who do we blame for a problem or who is responsible for fixing it? In the first instance this is based around a red dress that Mma Makutsi bought as present for Mma Ramotswe. Mma Ramotswe tried it on in the shop before Mma Makutsi could give it to her. Unfortunately it ripped. So who should pay for it – whose fault was it? Was it Mma Ramotswe’s fault because she ripped it trying it on when she knew it was a bit too small for her? Was it Mma Makutsi’s fault because she should have known her friend’s size and not ordered something too small? Or should the shop owner foot the bill?

The same conundrum is then repeated with the central problem of the story: should a man lose his day job and pension because he was working for a dubious evening business and having an affair with its owner. What if this man was a pillar of society, the deputy principal of the local secondary school? Would that affect the decision? Whose fault was this? The man who made the rules? The deputy Principal for losing money on cattle and having his head turned by a woman? The woman?

Another thing that I really enjoy in this series is the way that McCall Smith can show a way of thinking that seems to make sense and then contrasts it with a way that the same thinking won’t work. At one point Mma Ramotswe thinks that the world would all be so much better if men just did everything that women wanted and were led by them. We then move over straight away to the main problem of the story where a man had his head turned by a woman and followed her only to end up having an affair with her and running her dubious business.

As usual, a fun read.

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