cover image The Colors of All the Cattle

The Colors of All the Cattle

Alexander McCall Smith. Pantheon, $25.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4780-0

Mwa Ramotswe considers entering politics in Smith’s excellent 19th No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novel (after 2017’s The House of Unexpected Sisters). She’s not at all sure she’s qualified, but her friend Mwa Potokwame, who heads the local orphan farm, persuades her it’s her duty to run for a seat on the Gaborone City Council, especially since her opponent is Violet Sephotho. The mercenary Violet, the nemesis of Grace Makutsi, Mwa Ramotswe’s prickly partner in the detective agency, is sure to support the controversial proposal for the construction of a splashy hotel next to a cemetery. Meanwhile, agency assistant Charlie takes the lead in investigating a hit-and-run case in the town of Mochudi. A serious romance between Charlie and a young woman he’s dating shows his growing maturity. Amusingly revealing of Mwa Ramotswe’s character are the relentlessly honest answers she gives to a reporter who interviews her before the election. Smith continues to bring joy to his readers through his insights into the human heart. Seven-city author tour. Agent: Robin Straus, Robin Straus Agency. (Nov.)