How to Raise and Elephant ~ by Alexander McCall Smith

I was so looking forward to this book – until I saw the name of a strange narrator.  This series has been read by Lisette Licat since book 1 (and this is book #21). I’ve been following via Audible since maybe 2005 but have paperbacks and hard covers from before that.

How to Raise an Elephant
by Alexander McCall Smith 
2020 / 257 pages
Read by Adjoa Andoh 8h 38m
Rating: 10 -book (4 -narrator)
(#21 in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series)

A new reader is jarring and Andoh’s voice is a horrible screeching for Charlie and Grace Makutsi. It’s okay for Precious Ramotswe and some others, but I want Lisette back!

Fortunately, I found the book available in audio format at my library. YAY!!!! (I do get one or two library books a month. Adjoa Andoh is still narrating but at least I didn’t have to pay for it.

Botswana is the same as ever,  living halfway in the past while the other half is almost in the 21st century.  Precious still has her little white van – probably a 1985 – (lol).  The workers at   the garage and detective agency and the residents on Zebra Drive are tending to their lives as usual.    

The ladies have several interests going. There is a woman who wants to borrow money from Precious saying she’s a distant cousin and her husband has been in trouble.  A strange smell turns up in her van.  Violet, an old annoyance, is up to something. 

These are gentle books and it’s been the story arc of the series which has kept me buying the books as they come out.  I got the first one back in 1999 – when I read a review in Time magazine, I believe and, for some reason, had to get the book. 

The setting is almost always in or near Gaborone, Botswana which is just north of the country of South Africa.  Mma Precious Ramotswe, the owner of the detective agency, is a woman of “traditional proportions,” but she’s smart and independent.  Her assistant, Mma Grace Makutsi is not nearly so clever or intelligent but she thinks she is and she was the top student at a local secretarial school – quite a rise for a girl from poverty.  

Modernization is a kind of theme stressed more in some novels than in others. It usually concerns society and standards in Botswanan society.   
Over the course of the novels these two very different women along with a few other characters go through big changes in their lives with romance, marriage, babies, new employees, etc.  It’s so thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable. (Fwiw, I’ve not cared for Smith’s other books and series.) 

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