Monday, 10 August 2009

Tears of the Giraffe

Time to return to Botswana, to see what the No.1 female private detective, Precious Ramotswe, is up to. In the first book of this series, so far there are 10, Mma Ramotswe said yes to Mr. J. L. B. Maketoni's proposal. Love is definitely in the air. The two 40-something lovebirds are busy preparing for their upcoming matrimonial union.

Over at the office, things have slow down a bit. With the exception of the case of a missing American youth, Mma Ramotswe is more occupied with planning and thinking about her future life. This calls for a bit of delegation. And who better to fill the shoes of 'assistant detective' than the secretary, Mma Makutsi.

Tear of the Giraffe is very much as spirited as the first book. Mma Ramotswe looks into a suspicious death, Mr. Maketoni becomes an accidental parent and Mma Makutsi learns what it takes to be an ethical detective. McCall Smith appears to enjoy landing his characters in confounding and sometimes comical circumstances.

He also uses witticism to draw the readers' attention to issues affecting society both in Botswana and everywhere else. Here is Mma Makutsi discussing with her friend about women's career prospect during an economic recession.

'It is men who gives out these jobs, am I right?' she had said.

'I suppose so,' said Mma Makutsi. 'Men run these businesses. They choose the secretaries.'

'Well,' said her friend, smiling wryly, 'I can tell you do think that... Men choose women for jobs on the basis of their looks. They choose the beautiful ones and give them jobs. To the others, they say: We are very sorry. All the jobs have gone. We are very sorry. There is a world recession, in a world recession there are only enough jobs for beautiful girls. That is the effect of a world recession. It is all economics.'

Sure. Blame it on the economy.


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