johane's Reviews > The Double Comfort Safari Club

The Double Comfort Safari Club by Alexander McCall Smith
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's review
Jul 11, 2011

really liked it
Read in December, 2010

The Double Comfort Safari Club is the eleventh in the Botswana Mma Ramotswe series. Mma Precious Ramotswe's No.1 Ladies Detective Agency has a couple of cases to solve; a friend of Mma Ramotswe thinks her husband is having an affair and a letter from America sends Mma Ramotswe and Assistant Detective Mma Grace Makutsi out into the Okavango Delta and as usual, Mma Makutsi's enemy Violet Sephotho is up to no good.

This is character driven series, the mysteries are everyday and lightweight. The stories glow with the real life kindness, wisdom and tactful logic of previous times but one that is the daily life of the local Botswana people.

The main characters are the Mechanic Shop Owner Mr J L B Matekoni and his Detective wife Mma Precious Romotswe, a “traditionally built” (a good solid sized African lady), sensible woman who speaks the truth, gently but directly, and after much thought. Her love of red bush tea is typical of her generation in Southern Africa. Red bush tea, or Rooibos tea, is a traditional bushman’s herbal drink, guaranteed to cure all sorts of ailments, so they say. Her everyday logic is gained from just observing and being very, very wise. "She knew the warning signs with middle-aged men - they were like a set of robots (traffic lights) that glowed brightly in the dark. Greater attention to grooming? Bad sign. Pulling-in of the stomach to conceal paunch? Bad sign. Purchase of a more powerful car in bright red? Very, very bad sign."

Mma Ramotswe and her assistant Mma Makutsi are called to a safari lodge in Botswana’s Okavango Delta that has recently had some unexplained events, including the demise of one of the guests. The Okavango swamps make Mma Ramotswe appreciate the beauty of her homeland. In the wet season they are a paradise of wildlife, majestic grasslands and sparkling water. However, it is also home to rival safari operators, cranky crocodiles and disgruntled hippopotamuses. And Assistant Detective Mma Makutsi is feeling rather tetchy herself as she still doesn’t have a date for her wedding to Phuti Radiphuti. Mma Ramotswe knows that with a little patience, just as the wide river will gently make its way around any obstacle, in the end everything will work out for the best. After a hilarious trip on the river for Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi, and a poignant explanation as to why people who have died are referred to as “late”, rather than just dead, there’s the usual happy ending for everyone.

To really enjoy the African theme of this series, my advice would be to listen to the first book on CD and learn how to pronounce the names of the people and places correctly. Then find a shady tree and enjoy reading all 11 books in the series.

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