The next book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series sees Precious Ramotswe calling upon all her maternal instincts when she's faced with a two-ton case. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but can Mma Ramotswe and the rest of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency come together to raise a pipsqueak pachyderm?
McCall Smith’s storytelling provides great charm as he unravels the experience and thinking of his rural but increasingly wise protagonists ... Mma Ramotswe and her allies practice that love of land and courtesy to each other in gently amusing ways that eventually resolve the mysteries, potential crimes, and tensions of their lives. In a time of pandemic, there could be few more rewarding and soothing tales to read than How to Raise an Elephant.
Smith holds a deep and abiding love for Africa, which we sense in every word he writes. He taught and practiced law there for decades and writes wistfully of the changing ways, the courteous behavior and the Kalahari Desert, all of which all seem to be shrinking, even vanishing with the urbanization of Botswana ... Alas, we who live in these dangerous times, like peoples of many nations, must soldier on. We are blessed with philosophers like Alexander McCall Smith, who look gently and longingly back at our own past good fortunes. I once added his name to my imaginary list of authors with whom I would like to share dinner and maybe a drink. The list is short and sadly grows shorter with time. Here’s to powerful writers who bring out the best in others. And, perhaps, in us.
The effort to find a permanent home for the animal generates a little suspense, along with some comment on the plight of the desperate people who kill elephants for their ivory. Minimal detective work leads to the resolution of all three situations. Series fans will be charmed, as usual, by the conversations between Mwa Ramotse and her friends on such topics as the usefulness of men and the benefits of bush tea, but this isn’t the place to start for newcomers.