Karen Valby
April 23, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Full Cupboard of Life

Current Status
In Season
Alexander McCall Smith

We gave it a B+

The fifth installment of the best-selling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series brims with the same old-fashioned charm as its lovely predecessors. Mma Ramotswe, a fine, traditionally built Botswana woman, must employ her keen instincts and unwavering sense of morality to the assorted scandals of village life. Unlike most detective novels, the cases here are mild in drama: A wealthy hairdresser wants Mma to suss out which of her four suitors is truly after her heart. Some crooked mechanics, rivals of her dear, plodding fiance, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, need to be taken down. And will her marriage to Matekoni ever take place? No reason to worry — Mma will make everything right in the quick course of this mild, engaging read. Perfect for the bath.

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