Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon (2013) is the 14th book in the Alexander McCall Smith The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. If you want a traditional mystery or detective story you won't find it here, but these books are wonderful explorations of character and scenery. There's even a little mystery included. These must be read in order to understand and appreciate what's going on. I love this series and look forward to many more to come.

from the back of the book:
Precious Ramotswe has her hands full with two puzzling cases. The first concerns a young man hoping to claim his inheritance at his uncle’s farm. The farmer’s lawyer fears that this self-professed nephew may be falsely impersonating the real heir, and asks Mma Ramotswe to look into his identity. The second involves the just-opened Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, which has been shadowed by misfortune, from bad omens in the mail to swirling rumors that its products are dangerous. The salon’s proprietor fears that someone is trying to put her out of business —but who? Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe has come to suspect that her intrepid associate Grace Makutsi is pregnant —though Mma Makutsi has mentioned nothing.

With genuine warmth, sympathy, and wit, Alexander McCall Smith explores marriage, parenthood, and the importance of the traditions that shape and guide our lives.
favorite quotes:
And with that, she felt that most exquisite, and regrettably rare, of pleasures -that of welcoming back one who has left your life. e cannot do that with late people, Mma Ramotswe thought, much as we would love to be able to do so, but we can do it with the living.
She looked out of the window. Sometimes it was important simply to get out. It did not matter where you went, as long as you got out of the office, or the kitchen, or any other place where duty required you to be, and went to some other place that you did not have to be. So she did not have to be in Mochudi, or in her garden, or on the verandah of the President Hotel. If she were in any of these places, it would be because she had chosen to be standing at the top of the hill in Mochudi looking down over the village and hearing the sound of the cattle bells; or tending a plant that needed moving from one spot to another so as to get the beneft of a patch of shade; or simply drinking tea in the presence of others who were doing the same thing.
It was an exchange they had had countless times before -one of those rituals between friends that never change very much yet never seem to grow stale.

The Washington Times has a positive review. The Boston Globe concludes a positive review with this: "Precious Ramotswe’s adventures, as inconsequential as they may seem, do not so much offer an escape from life’s woes as a suggestion for how to make the whole deal more palatable -fragility, fruit cake, and all." Publishers Weekly says that "the book’s appeal lies less in deduction than irrepressible characters, intriguing local lore, and bone-deep love of Africa."

The CS Monitor calls it "a particularly endearing entry in the long-running series, which has lost none of its gentleness or its love for Botswana, of which McCall Smith clearly has fond memories." Kirkus Reviews closes by saying, "A little slower-moving and more diffuse than many of the 13 preceding volumes in this celebrated series ..., but it’s no more than you’d expect from a heroine whose fleetness has never been as big a draw as her wisdom."

I've read these others from this series:

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Tears of the Giraffe
Morality for Beautiful Girls
The Kalahari Typing School for Men
The Full Cupboard of Life
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
Blue Shoes and Happiness
The Good Husband from Zebra Drive
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
The Miracle at Speedy Motors
The Double Comfort Safari Club
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party
The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection


  1. It's odd I don't remember you reviewing any of these before. So glad you enjoy this series, and apparently this one is no different.

    1. I do find them consistent. I'd think that if you like the first one, you'd like them all.

  2. I haven't read this particular book but I have read quite a bit of series. Its a great set of stories. :) Erika

    1. I enjoy them, too. I'm sad the tv series didn't last past that one season. I thought the casting was spot-on.