Mma Ramotswe is not one to sit about. Her busy life as the proprietress of the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency gives her little time for relaxation. Nonetheless, she is persuaded by her co-director Mma Makutsi to take a holiday.
But Mma Ramotswe finds it impossible to resist the temptation to interfere with the agency's cases - secretly, she intends . . . This leads her to delve into the past of a man whose reputation has been called into question. It also leads her to an orphan named Samuel. Meanwhile, Violet Sephotho, Mma Makutsi's arch-enemy, has had the temerity to set up a new secretarial college - one that aims to rival that great institution, the Botswana Secretarial College. Will she get her comeuppance? It will be a close-run thing.
Precious Ramotswe goes on vacation in Smith's enchanting 16th No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novel (after 2014's The Handsome Man's De Luxe Caf ). Her second in command, the prickly Grace Makutsi, is glad to take charge in her absence. Mma Ramotswe, who's basically staying home on Zebra Drive in Gaborone, can't help worrying about how things are going at the office. Her concern grows when Mr. Polopetsi, a part-time chemistry teacher who also helps out at the agency, confides that Mma Makutsi has failed to make progress on a new case involving a late government official. With Mr. Polopetsi's blessing, Mma Ramotswe discreetly investigates. Meanwhile, she comes to the assistance of Samuel, an abused boy she encounters on the street, and discovers that scheming Violet Sephotho, Mma Makutsi's rival from the Botswana Secretarial College, has started the No. 1 Ladies' College of Secretarial and Business Studies. As usual, Smith's blend of gentle humor and insights into human nature is irresistible.