First, a REVIEW:
The Miracle at Speedy Motors by Alexander McCall Smith.
I cannot say that I have read Smith’s No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series in order---- nor have I sped through the series one after another. I read them now and then. Usually if I am in the mood or if I happen to stumble upon a copy at a used bookstore.
I find this is one series you can read out of order. Though the characters and plotlines continue throughout, the sparse, happy prose moves in such a way that you can catch up. You will easily clutch Smith’s sweet wisdom in the same way that the traditionally-built Mma Ramotswe clutches a cup of her beloved bush tea.
As is usually the case in the series, The Miracle at Speedy Motors opens in a slow, languid, yawn of a fashion with beautiful Africa spread as a canvas and the colourful characters of Mma Ramotswe, Grace Makutsi and JLB Matekoni ( now, like old ,tried friends) inching along the coloured backdrop like figures on a felt Sunday School board.
Yes, there is a mystery--- this one involving a woman and her family. Yet, like the best detective fiction ( and by “best” I mean the stories I hanker toward most often ), it is not so much the problem or its solution rather the characters and how they intertwine with the problem that keeps me dappling in the genre.
There are two major subplots to this absolutely charming novel: Mma Makutsi and her fiancé have found a suitable and comfortable bed for their upcoming life together but strange happenstances find Mma Makutsi’s bed ruined by an onslaught of rain. JLB Matekoni has met a doctor who he believes can heal the spinal injury of his adopted daughter Motholeli.
The scenes in which Rra Matekoni expresses his assured hope in Motholeli’s certain miracle are so touching you just want to sit and deliciously sniff at how sweet and warm and wonderful these characters and their world are.