Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tea Time for the Traditionally Built

Precious Ramotswe is back in Tea Time for the Traditionally Built, the latest installment in Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. This time, she is investigating a flagging football (soccer) team and facing the possible demise of her little white van. Meanwhile, her assistant, Grace Makutsi, has a rival for her fiancé’s affection.

Tea Time is a fine addition to the series. Like the other novels, it has a gentle, relaxing, and rhythmic tone and pattern to it. Smith unravels the tale at a leisurely pace that never seems to drag and rarely fails to entertain. However, the conclusion feels rushed. Within a few pages, most questions and problems are resolved. Such haste is unnecessary and inconsistent with the previous 200 pages. The series is enchanting, and most readers would be willing to invest time in an extra 20 pages.

In another twist, at one point in the novel, Smith hints at darker possibilities for the future. This foreshadowing leads me to wonder if the next novel may have a shift in tone. I am not sure whether I am for such a move or not. The reason I like the series so much is because it is light and easy, yet still realistic-ish. I see enough tragedy in my actual life—I have no need for it in my pleasure reading. For now, though, Tea Time is exactly what I needed for my summer reading.

1 comment:

notaconnoisseur said...

I am so into mystery novels that I often ignore perfectly good reading because of my bias. I have enjoyed the No. 1 Ladies' Detective stories just because they are full of humanity, fun and there are seldom any dead bodies. I too do not want the books to lose their warm flavor with serious problems that they ladies cannot solve.