Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Alexander McCall Smith: Tea Time for the Traditionally Built

This brand new book in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series could not have come at a better time for me. Sorting through, giving away, selling my car – it all takes a toll. It’s a little like dying, this moving. I know I will be “resurrected” in another life, but in the meanwhile, I have so much grief, and I just stuff it away and keep going. These books are my carrots; they are my reward at the end of the day.


I have a stack of books and I am going through them like a locomotive – just chugging along.

Mma Precious Ramotswe and her totally different world in Botswana sweep me away totally. I love the sweetness of the way she thinks, her love for her country, and her tolerance. In Tea Time for the Traditionally Built, several things are going on at once, not the least of which is that she, also, must part with her dearly loved little white van, which has gone as far as it can go, and can go no further. The engine cannot be revived, not even one more time, by her dear husband, mechanic J.L.B. Matekoni.

Just in time, just when they need a new customer, comes Mr. Molofololo, the owner and manager of the Kalahari Swoopers, who hires Mma Ramotswe to find the traitor who is causing the Swoopers to lose their games.

Last, but not least, Mma Makutsi’s fiancee (she is the Assistant Detective now, remember?) Phuti Radiphuti, is being assaulted by Makutsi’s old rival from the secretarial school, Violet Sephotho, who is looking for a rich husband, and would love to steal Grace’s fiancee away, for all the worst reasons. How can plain Grace, with her big glasses and her unfortunate complexion, compete with the glamorous and seductive Violet? Can Phuti resist her wiles?

When I reached the last ten pages of the book, none of these crises had been resolved, and I thought “Oh no! How can the book end with all these loose ends out there?” but in a deft drawing together, McCall vanquishes the devils, finds simple solutions, and leaves us with Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi having tea together at the President Hotel.

This book is a great way to end the day with a smile on your face. 🙂 I bought this book for $21 in a bookstore, but Amazon has it for $14.37 plus shipping. I don’t buy a lot of hardcover books, but this one was worth every penny.

May 16, 2009 - Posted by | Botswana, Character, Communication, Community, Crime, Cultural, Detective/Mystery, Family Issues, Fiction, Financial Issues, Food, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Marriage, Relationships


  1. Reading McCall is like a delightful, satisfying cup of tea.

    Comment by jewaira | May 16, 2009 | Reply

  2. I love those books and am now watching the movie versions on HBO every Sunday. Signed up with HBO for the very purpose! What I love about the stories is the upbeat, positive feel you get from it and yes, Mma Ramotswe always makes me smile.

    Comment by Miss Footloose | May 16, 2009 | Reply

  3. I agree, Jewairi. I feel like Precious Remotswe is a good friend, and I get to live her life for a few hours, instead of my own. 🙂

    Oh! Miss Footloose! How I would love to see it on TV, although the review in the Friday Kuwait Times showed a Precious that did not fit my idea of what she looked like at all! Lucky lucky you!

    Comment by intlxpatr | May 17, 2009 | Reply

  4. Ooh -thanks for the tip that the new book is out. I love the series and have all the previous books. Lived in Gabarone in Botswana for 18 months which makes reading the books even more special!
    May you be Blessed in your new home and thanks for your wonderful blog.

    Comment by Micky | May 17, 2009 | Reply

  5. You lived in Gararone, Micky??? WOW. What a wonderful experience that must have been, wonderful, and eye opening. We loved Botswana; loved the gentle culture, and we are eager to go back. I was wondering how a white Englishman can capture the voice of a black Botswanan woman so clearly and authentically. What do you think? How does he do?

    Comment by intlxpatr | May 17, 2009 | Reply

  6. I loved the time we spent in Botswana! I am obviously no expert having lived there so short a time but I believe he captures the way of life beautifully.

    Comment by Micky | May 18, 2009 | Reply

  7. You know tea has a way of making everything better. This book looks like it is awesome. Adding it to my list to read.

    Comment by ItsAboutTea | May 18, 2009 | Reply

  8. It’sAboutTea – You sound just like Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi! Do you drink Red Bush (roibuus) tea? 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | May 19, 2009 | Reply

  9. I drink rooibos tea every day! As a matter of coincidence I am sitting here at my computer drinking my first cup of the morning. It’s very popular in Holland, but in the US it is expensive and not well known.

    Drink up!

    Miss Footloose Tales of the Globetrotting Life

    Comment by Miss Footloose | May 19, 2009 | Reply

  10. I drink it sometimes for good health, Miss Footloose. The Germans have something similar, red fruit or red berry tea, lots of vitamins, but when I fixed it for my friends in the office in the US, they were all horrified by the smell. I thought it smelled good!

    Comment by intlxpatr | May 20, 2009 | Reply

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