Friday, November 04, 2005

Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith

Mma Ramotswe and her assistant Mma Makutsi are moving up in the world. They are hired by two very important men to solve cases, and become responsible for the Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors business when Mma Ramotswe's fiance, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, is overcome by depression.

Thanks to the Burnaby Public Library, the third installment in the "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series made its way to me yesterday. These books are such a delightful treat - nice quick reads, engaging characters who are becoming very familiar but not at all dull.

For some reason (perhaps as a way of prolonging the engagement?), Mr McCall Smith appeared to want to get Mr J. L. B. Matekoni out of the way for this book. So he made him depressed and exiled him to the "Orphan Farm" for most of the book. I'm not disappointed that we got to spend more time with Mma Makutsi, whose role has moved far beyond that of secretary. She's every bit as fun as her boss, and just as prone to moments of philosophical reflection.

Speaking of which, I thought I'd share one of Mma Ramotswe's internal monologues from p. 78. She is really big on morality and values, and has very decided opinions about the way people ought to think and live.

"Mma Ramotswe had listened to a World Service broadcast on her radio one day which had simply taken her breath away. It was about philosophers who called themselves existentialists and who, as far as Mma Ramotswe could ascertain, lived in France. These French people said that you should live in a way which made you feel real, and that the real thing to do was the right thing too. Mma Ramotswe had listened in astonishment. You did not have to go to France to meet existentialists, she reflected; there were many existentialists right here in Botswana. Note Mokoti, for example. She had been married to an existentialist herself, without even knowing it. Note, that selfish man who never once put himself out for another -- not even for his wife -- would have approved of existentialists, and they of him. It was very existentialist, perhaps, to go out to bars every night while your pregnant wife stayed at home, and even more existentialist to go off with girls -- young existentialist girls -- you met in bars. It was a good life being an existentialist, although not too good for all the other, nonexistentialist people around one.

Mma Ramotswe did not treat her maid, Rose, in an existentialist way..."

Other books I've read by this author:
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Tears of the Giraffe
Portuguese Irregular Verbs

No comments: