cover image The House of Unexpected Sisters

The House of Unexpected Sisters

Alexander McCall Smith. Pantheon, $25.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-101-87137-9

The case of Charity Mompoloki, who claims she was fired unjustly from her job at an office supply company in Gaborone, Botswana, preoccupies Precious Ramotswe and her ambitious assistant, Grace Makutsi, who now styles herself principal investigating officer, in Smith’s pleasing, leisurely paced 18th No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novel (after 2016’s Precious and Grace). Charity was charged with having been rude to a customer, but might her male boss have had devious reasons for getting rid of her? Meanwhile, Precious’s disreputable ex-husband, trumpet player Note Mokoti, has resurfaced in Gaborone. And Precious’s chance discovery of a hitherto-unknown relative, a nurse named Mingie Ramotswe, initially causes her a great deal of angst. Precious, who’s so good at helping others in need, suddenly has serious personal problems, and her gentle husband, Mr. J.L.B. Maketoni, can provide only limited solace. On the way to the surprising resolution, Smith delivers some important lessons about human frailty and the value of charity. Agent: Robin Straus, Robin Straus Agency. (Nov.)