I think the thing that I like best about books in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith is the universal compassion that runs through the stories. There are special moments and thoughtful exchanges, such as this conversation on page 125 of the latest title The Miracle at Speedy Motors.
Mma Ramotswe introduced herself. You do not know me, Mma. I am Precious Ramotswe."
The woman listened attentively, with the manner that older people have with names. She belonged to a Botswana where names meant something, connected people with places, cousins, events; even with cattle.
"Ramotswe? There was an Obed Ramotswe in Mochudi, I think. He . . ."
"Was my father. He is late now. My father."
The woman lowered her eyes in sympathy. "I am sorry. He was a good man."
Mma Ramotswe felt proud, as she always did when someone remembered her father. Invariably they used the expression good man; and he was. He was the best of men.
Readers everywhere will understand the emotions of the characters in this story set in remote Botswana. The local flavor of the story may draw readers in to the story. The universal themes keep them.
The Miracle at Speedy Motors is the ninth title in the series. Public libraries need to have them all.
McCall Smith, Alexander. The Miracle at Speedy Motors. Pantheon Books, 2008. ISBN 9780375424489.