Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith

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Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Like putting on a much beloved, comfortable cardigan on a chilly autumn day, or a hot bath on a cold evening, or even just a nice cup of tea after a stressful morning at work, starting a new story about Precious and Grace is relaxing and heartwarming, leaving you feeling better than when you began.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: September 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781408708125

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Friendships can be funny things, and that is often the case with Precious and Grace. This is their seventeenth book now, and so we have seen their friendship grow and develop a great deal over the years. Both women have grown to understand, respect and love each other, through business hardships, personal difficulties and all their many and varied cases. In their current case the pair have a strong difference of opinions, and yet all is not quite what it seems with their investigation, and so perhaps it is a case of neither one of them being right, and the situation being something else entirely?

With a case involving past history and differing ideas keeping them busy, Mma Ramotswe is also taangled up with Mr Polopetsi's problems as he has found himself embroiled in a pyramid selling scheme. As well as financial troubles there is the difficulty of rehoming a dog that Fanwell ran over and, delightfully, the arch enemy of Precious and Grace, Violet Sepotho, is back on the scene! As is the way in these stories, the pace is gentle and easy, and I found myself slipping back into the Botswanan way of life within moments of starting the book. The story does have some excitement too, however, as there's a rather exciting (and worrying) snake bite encounter to deal with as well as deep, philosophical ponderings about whether dogs have souls or not.

What I enjoyed most, however, were the moments between Precious and Grace themselves. Right at the very start of the book Mma Makutsi challenges Mma Ramotswe on how she always tends to say that something is 'well known' but, as Mma Makutsi declares I think that you are just saying what you think. Then you say that it is well known so that people will not argue with you. They work so delightfully together, these two characters, with Mma Ramotswe being more even-tempered and thoughtful, and Mma Makutsi much more gung-ho and reactionary in her responses and reactions. Mma Ramotswe, in this particular instance, manages to soothe the situation easily by suggesting that it is time for tea! I often find Mma Makutsi's pronouncements awkward and difficult, and I often feel uncomfortable with her take on situations, and yet Mma Ramotswe understands her so well, and forgives her for her foibles, and so I find myself also seeing the best in Mma Makutsi too. Mma Ramotswe is someone I'd very much like to be friends with, and I do see her as something of a role model, especially whenever I am reaching across a plate for a second slice of cake…! I love reading their progress with the case in this book, and the small, thoughtful asides that we are privy to in Mma Ramotswe's ponderings.

I also enjoyed Mma Ramotswe's list making towards the end of the story, as she is thinking of all the many things she needs to do. She puts the hardest things to the top of the list, to get them over and done with. It's an idea I have been trying to put into place too, though of course the trouble with putting a problematic item at the top of your to-do list can then be that nothing gets done because you keep putting off getting anything started at all! Still, Mma Ramotswe has such a good understanding of people that she somehow manages to resolve any number of issues very smoothly with just a little forethought and planning. I did wonder, through the book, how Mma Makutsi's baby boy was doing, and there were no talking shoes to entertain us this time, but the book was still, above all, just a really good story that caught my imagination and sat within my heart as I read. It was, as it always is, like visiting with old friends, and it left me smiling and peaceful, looking forward to the next installment about Precious and Grace.

Seventeen books in a series means it can be hard to figure out where you've got to! The book prior to this one is The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine.

Alexander McCall Smith's The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series in Chronological Order

Buy Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith at

Buy Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith at


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