In case you need a Christmas gift for someone who is following the No. 1 Ladies Detective series, this is the latest and fourteenth instalment. The title made me smile because when we lived in Tanzania there were so many hair salons that had interesting names…in fact many of them were “Saloons”, making we wonder if they offered drinks as well as beauty treatments!
Mma Ramotswe is in fine form once again, even though she is short staffed at the Detective Agency because Mma Makutsi has had a baby! Sometimes it takes an absence to underscore how much someone means to us. It’s not always easy to identify your enemies, a snake can be an ally, and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is just trying so hard to be a modern husband! There is always tension between the modern and traditional ways!
One thing I appreciate about Smith is how he masterfully weaves in earlier points to “catch up” the new reader who may be picking up the 14th as their first instalment. I would imagine that is not an easy thing to do well, but he does it seamlessly, without boring the avid fan.
How much longer can this series go on? To be honest, I was going to comment on whether the books have been getting better or worse. But I just can’t, because these characters have become like family. It would just be wrong to make a judgement. They demand to be read because they have been written and because I want to keep up and spend time with the characters I have come to know so well. This gentle, much-loved series is still relaxing to read, wise about human nature, funny, and very African.