How to Raise an Elephant
By Alexander McCall Smith
(242 pages, mystery, 2020)
Precious Ramotswe, owner of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, loves her little white van, even though it is old and doesn’t go very fast. It gets her to where she needs to go and is like an old friend.
When her assistant Charlie asks her for the loan of her van, she lends it willingly. But Charlie is evasive about what he needs the van for. He says that he is helping a friend move some things. When Charlie returns the van there is some slight damage to it, and it has an odd smell, almost like cattle.
Mma Ramotswe’s husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, decides to get the truth from Charlie. But he is astounded to find out what was moved in the little van! This discovery leads to an even bigger problem, and Mma Ramotswe must ask the advice of one of her oldest friends to solve it.
Mma Ramotswe is approached by a distant cousin, Blessing, who is asking for money. They have a common relative, Tefo Kgomo, who needs a hip operation. Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are suspicious about Blessing and Tefo, and go out to visit them.
And at home, Precious watches new neighbors moving in, and then hears a heated argument coming from next door. Mma Ramotswe is tested by all these troubles, but goes about solving them in kind and compassionate ways, using her common sense. Sometimes the solutions are unexpected, but Precious always tries to do what is right. This is another charming book in the series, filled with lovable characters and a vivid sense of place.
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