Monday, June 30, 2008

The Full Cupboard of Life

The Full Cupboard of Life (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #5) by Alexander McCall Smith
Read: 6/13/08-6/30/08
LibraryThing tags: Mystery, Africa, Sonderbook (click here for Sondy's review)

As Sondy pointed out in her review, Mma Ramotswe really only has one case in this book. It's full of ramblings on the fabric of life, philosophy, whether an engaged couple will ever marry (I'm being vague to avoid spoilers for those who haven't read the series at all), how much Mma Potokwane will be able to push Mr J.L.B. Matekoni around, and the cheating ways of First Class Motors. It hardly even counts as mystery, but I tagged it that way anyway. Habit, I guess. I do like these books. I can put them down, since there isn't exactly pressing suspense. But they remain delightful and charming, like tea (which is "always the solution" -- see, you would like these, Andrea).

“‘When you have finished working on a car, wash your hands before you touch other things. What is so hard about that?’

‘I always do that,’ said the apprentice. ‘It is not fair to talk to me like that, Mma. I am a very clean mechanic.’

‘Then is it you?’ asked Mma Ramotswe, turning to the younger apprentice.

‘I am very clean too, Mma,’ he said. ‘I am always washing my hands. Always. Always.’

‘Then it must be me,’ said Mma Ramotswe. ‘I must be the one with greasy hands. It must be me or Mma Makutsi. Maybe we get greasy from opening letters.’

The older apprentice appeared to think about this for a moment. ‘Maybe,’ he said.

‘There’s very little point in trying to talk to them,’ Mr J.L.B. Matekoni had observed when Mma Ramotswe subsequently told him of this conversation. ‘There is something missing in their brains. Sometimes I think it is a large part, as big as a carburettor maybe.’”

“‘What will happen when they are working somewhere else—somewhere where there is no longer a kind person like you to watch over them?’

Mr J.L.B. Matekoni shrugged. ‘They will ruin cars left, right, and centre,’ he said. ‘That is what will happen to them. There will be great sadness among the cars of Botswana.’”

“‘It is the same with every job, I suppose. Look at hairdressing. You braid one head of hair and then another head of unbraided hair comes along. And so it goes on. You cannot finish your work.’ She paused. ‘Even you, Mma. Look at you. You deal with one case and then somebody knocks at the door and there is another case. Your work is never finished.’

They were both silent for a moment, thinking of the endless nature of work. It was true, thought Mma Ramotswe, but it was not something to worry too much about. If it were not true, one might have real cause to be concerned.”

“‘I have never hit a tree in my life,’ retorted Mma Ramotswe. ‘But I have known many men who have hit trees, Rra. Some of those men are late now.’

‘It may not have been their fault,’ muttered Mr Bobologo.

‘Yes,’ said Mma Ramotswe evenly. ‘It could have been the fault of the trees. That is always possible.’”

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