Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Review: Tea Time for the Traditionally Built

This is the first Number One Ladies' Detective Agency novel that I have read with my own eyes. All of the other books in this series, I have experienced through audio books, mostly because I LOVE listening to Lisette Lecat's narration. Indeed, I would have desired to listen to this one as well. I checked out The Double Comfort Safari Club, only to discover that I had missed the 10th book, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built. Upon further enquiry, I made the sad discovery that our library does not have book ten in an audio format. Thus, I bit the bullet and read it on my own. Having listened to nine of these books already, I can assure you that I did, indeed, hear Lisette Lecat in my mind, but still stumbled over a few names and locations, unsure how they would be pronounced.

I found myself wondering what it is that attracts me to these books, since in some ways the books are guilty of the very things I recently criticized another book for - things like redundancy and belaboring main points. However, the character of Precious Ramotswe is so finely drawn that it is easy to sit back and allow those redundancies to play out because it is all in keeping with the voice of the story. Every book emphasizes Mma Makutsi's fine accomplishments at the Botswana Secretarial College, reminds us that Mma Ramotswe is rather traditionally built, speaks of Mma Ramotswe's respect for her esteemed father Obed Ramotswe, "who is late," and waxes eloquent about the laudable ways of the old country. Yet, those repetitions are never tedious. They are truly a delight.

I imagine it sort of like a blind person reading the face of an old friend. She reaches up and feels, thinking in her mind, "ah yes, the wide forehead, the over arching nose, the sagging flesh of cheek and the supple lips." That is how I experience these little quirks of the Number One Ladies Detective Agency books. I look forwarding to hearing again about Mma Ramotswe's fondness for red bush tea. In this particular book, I grieved with her for the loss of her tiny white van (another object deeply embedded in the series). I was outraged with Mma Makutsi at the bold underhandedness of Violet Sephotho when she took up a position selling beds in Phuti Radiphuti's Double Comfort Furniture Shop.

At the moment, I am now listening to The Double Comfort Safari Club. Plus, I was thrilled to note that the 12th book in this series has been released, with a title of The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party. Now to convince my library to purchase the audio version of the 12th book, so I can once again enjoy Lisette Lecat's fine narration. Whenever there's a new Number One Ladies Detective Agency novel, I'm game!

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