Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Miracle at Speedy Motors: More Tea Talk

I don't want my African adventures to end. I may try and make this one last, the final book in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith. On the other hand, I may just have to read this book at my normal speed, because it's so absorbing. In this book, there are many things to be pondered. At the detective agency we meet Mma Sebina, who wants to find out who her family is, no easy feat. Associate detective Mma Makutsi, who scored a 97 percent at the Botswana Secretarial College, gets a fancy new bed, but is not getting any sleep. There's also the matter of a miracle cure for Motholeli, who uses a wheelchair--is it too good to be true? And how many cattle constitute a fair dowry or bogadi? (Even Mma Ramotswe and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, who hold traditional Botswana values, think it would be better if a man did not have to pay for his wife, because a wife is not a thing to be bought or possessed.) I'm not quite half-way through The Miracle at Speedy Motors, and am once again enjoying the company of Mma Ramotswe and her entourage. With each book, the characters become more real, more fleshed out, showing their various human strengths and shortcomings. It must have been rather challenging for the author to write a series of nine books without boring the reader--just from blogging about them I face a similar challenge to a much lesser degree--but these books remain intriguing because the characters are more fully developed, and you really care about them. You also care about something important to them which they drink quite frequently, tea:

"Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni smiled. They were always having tea, as far as he could work out. There was the first cup, served shortly after they arrived in the office in the morning, and then there was the ten o'clock cup, which was sometimes taken at nine thirty in the hot weather. That was followed by the tea which was brewed at eleven thirty (the mid-morning tea), and of course there was tea immediately after lunch and again at three in the afternoon. He thought it was a good thing that the red bush tea contained no caffeine, or Mma Ramotswe would surely find it difficult to get to sleep at night, with all that caffeine in her system. Yet Mma Makutsi drank ordinary tea, which had ample quantities of caffeine in it, he believed; indeed he thought that this might explain why she was sometimes so tetchy with the apprentices, especially with Charlie. Mind you, anybody might be forgiven for being irritated by Charlie, with his constant boasting and that endless silly chatter about girls; even one with no caffeine at all in his system could find himself snapping at such a young man."
~The Miracle at Speedy Motors, Alexander McCall Smith

Just as a good TV series eventually must end at the right time, so must this series of books, I suppose, although I certainly wouldn't object to a tenth book. I will greatly miss this fine cast of characters, beautiful Botswana, and all the references to tea. Even when they sit around drinking tea, or perhaps especially when they sit around drinking tea, their world is warm and inviting.


  1. As I read each book in this series I think that the one I'm reading is going to be my favorite. Miracle at Speedy Motors was no different. I laughed, sighed and even teared up a bit. These books are a wonder and delight!

  2. I can't believe that I'm nearly finished with this series. Each book has been enjoyable, and I hate to end my relationships with the characters.

    Thanks for your comment, Christie!


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