With the April 15 release of his newest in the series of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, THE MIRACLE AT SPEEDY MOTORS, Alexander McCall Smith begins a US tour this spring. I have two reasons for noticing: first, I got a friendly e-mail from the Harvard Book Store, which hosts the Scottish author on April 16; and second, I just took a mini-vacation by reading its 2007 predecessor, THE GOOD HUSBAND OF ZEBRA DRIVE. It was worth every minute -- McCall Smith is a master of spinning a gentle tale with just enough tension to make a sweet release in the solution to each crumb of mystery and crime. Mma Ramotswe, better known as Precious, and her "good husband" Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni have settled into matrimonial harmony, but it turns out they're not immune from change.
The author tour schedule is at www.alexandermccallsmith.co.uk, and here's a list of this favorite of McCall Smith's several series:
• The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
• Tears of the Giraffe
• Morality for Beautiful Girls
• The Kalahari Typing School for Men
• The Full Cupboard of Life
• In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
• Blue Shoes and Happiness
• The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
• The Miracle at Speedy Motors
I think the books are a great antidote to high-pressure adult life, but at least one of our clients has discovered this is also a good series to offer to teens -- something to giggle about, together. Plus, it's a comfortably homespun introduction to Botswana, a land that few Americans are likely to visit in person.
The author tour rambles across the US, then comes back East for a May 1 finale in Hartford, CT. Pretty darn handy, all things considered! And oh yes: There IS a No. 1 film coming, courtesy of BBC. There are "stills" from the film, on the author's web site.