The Colors of All Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith

Writing: 4.5/5 Plot: 3/5 Characters: 3/5

Another installment (number 19) of the Botswana-based, No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. In this episode, Mma Ramotswe is persuaded to run for a seat on the Gabarone City Council in order to prevent the “Big Fun Hotel” from gaining council approval while simultaneously helping the victim of a hit and run accident— who happens to be an old friend of her father’s.

While this book is as good as all the rest, I admit to experiencing some series fatigue with the Botswana collection. The characters, once lovably simple and straightforward, have begun to feel like stereotypes that do not grow. I am feeling more and more irritated with Mma Makutsi’s rigidity and undeserved arrogance while simultaneously being annoyed with Mma Ramotswe for putting up with it! However, the story is interesting and many of the regular characters are developing — Mma Makutsi and her husband have a rare falling out and the way they come back to a loving center is beautifully done, Charlie manages to fall in love, and the ongoing focus on living an intentionally ethical life is always welcome. As usual, McCall Smith has managed to utilize a new (to me) word in his writing: “persipience: a good understanding of things; perceptiveness.” I consider myself to have a large vocabulary but he puts me to shame every time!