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Sonderbooks Book Review of

The Double Comfort Safari Club


by Alexander McCall Smith


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The Double Comfort Safari Club
by Alexander McCall Smith

Reviewed October 16, 2010.
Pantheon Books, New York, 2010. 211 pages.
Starred Review

This is now the eleventh installment of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Though I think it would be an enjoyable book as a stand-alone, I still recommend that people start at the beginning, and they will be all the more touched by these developments in the lives of old friends.

In The Double Comfort Safari Club, we again have a nice tangle of cases for Mma Ramotswe, Botswana's premiere detective, to solve. One of them necessitates that she and Mma Makutsi take a business trip to a safari camp, which is where the book gets its name. (I love the titles in this series!) As usual, the solutions to the mysteries don't really involve intellectual puzzles, as in traditional detective tales. These are more a chance for Mma Ramotswe and her friends to reflect on human nature and draw wise conclusions about life.

In this book, a terrible accident happens to Phuti Radiphuti, and his aunt tries to use it as an opportunity to keep him from Mma Makutsi. The reader's heart will be touched, but be glad that she has friends like Precious Ramotswe to find a way to help in a bad situation.

As always, reading this book is like spending time with wise and kind friends. And the variety of cases keep things interesting. Always fun.

Mma Ramotswe thought about this. Having the right approach to life was a great gift in this life. Her father, the late Obed Ramotswe, had always had the right approach to life -- she was sure of that. And for a moment, as she sat there with her friend, with the late-afternoon sun slanting in through the window, she thought about how she owed her father so much. He had taught her almost everything she knew about how to lead a good life, and the lessons she had learned from him were as fresh today as they had ever been. Do not complain about your life. Do not blame others for things that you have brought upon yourself. Be content with who you are and where you are, and do whatever you can do to bring to others such contentment, and joy, and understanding that you have managed to find yourself.

She closed her eyes. You can do that in the company of an old friend -- you can close your eyes and think of the land that gave you life and breath, and of all the reasons why you are glad that you are there, with the people you know, with the people you love.