The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, #14) By Alexander McCall Smith

4th read:

This was my second time reading this book in 2019, and fourth all-time read. Enough said. 💕

3rd read:

Reasons to read this book, or any of the books in this series:

If you've had a bad day and need to be reminded there is good in the world
If you need a smile, a laugh, or a hug
If you have a cold or the flu. Or any type of illness
If you want to feel warm inside
If it is wintertime
If you are feeling in any way not good

If I were a book doctor, this series would be frequently prescribed. This volume is one of my favorites.

I don't reread series fiction as a rule, but rules were made to be broken.

Long live AMS! I hope I get to meet you one day. 💙🌞💙

2nd read: Once again, just love this series! I'm going to skip the next couple so that I can read the new one before I have to return it to the library.

This series is a book prescription for happiness.

1st read:
4.5 stars. How does a series in its 14th volume keep getting better? When it's written by Alexander McCall Smith.

I am a little in love with this series, and with AMS himself. The more I learn about these characters, the more I love them. When you are looking to escape the crazy news and rush hour traffic, this is a wonderful series to fall into. It's like a long bubble bath with a glass of wine and your favorite music playing. There is just nothing better. And if you can listen to the audiobook, even better. The entire series is narrated by Lisette Lecat, and she can't be outdone. When you're laughing out loud listening at 3am, that's a pretty good thing.

It is a joy to spend time in Botswana with Mma Ramotswe and her friends and family. Their lives grow and change, and it truly is a delight to see how they develop. I'll be starting on the 15th volume tonight. The author is pretty prolific, but I'm catching up to him. And when I do, I'll start back on the first book: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. It will be so much fun to revisit these stories now that I know the characters so well.

The sun was copper-red, a great ball, and it floated down so gently, as if to nudge us into night, to let us take the garments of the dark about us slowly and deliberately, without haste and without fear.

If you've not tried this series, you owe it to yourself. Thanks again to Jon, Jeane, Fiona and everyone else who pushed these books on me for years before I finally started reading them. I've been hooked ever since. Alexander McCall Smith Another solid, reliable and entertaining instalment in the 'No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency' series - but I can't help thinking that Alexander McCall Smith is now coasting with this book series, it does feel somewhat like he is treading water. Alexander McCall Smith I feel a little like a voice in the wilderness, but I was distinctly underwhelmed by the latest outing in this much loved series. Much like Precious Ramotswe herself over the course of the story, I felt like something was missing. It had the air of having been written to fulfil a contractual obligation for another instalment rather than having arisen from a central idea. I have rated it three stars, which to me is not a negative review, but a neutral one. It's not a terrible book at all, but nor does it sparkle with the wit and energy that other books in the series have had.

As the book opens, Mma Ramotswe is about to discover that her long term offsider Mma Makutsi is expecting a child. The baby arrives without much delay, which means that Mma Makutsi is absent for much of the novel. Mma Ramotswe has two cases to investigate: a series of threats against the proprietor of a new beauty salon, and a question over the identity of the heir to a large inheritance. The arrival of a baby also gives Mma Ramotswe and Mr J.L.B. Matekoni reason to think about their own family and the dynamics within it. There is also an appearance by Phuti Radiphuti's meddlesome aunt, which I enjoyed.

This is a sweet book, but as I mentioned above, it didn't really come to life for me. Usually I read the books in this series quite quickly, but I kept losing interest in this one. Both of the mysteries were quite predictable and for whatever reason the charm was largely absent. Alexander McCall Smith Know that, no matter how bleak things seem or how sad you may be, after reading a No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency book, life and the world will seem much better. With genuine warmth, sympathy, and wit, Alexander McCall Smith can be counted on to explore difficult questions about life, marriage, parenthood, grief, and the importance of the traditions that influence and guide our lives.
Modern ideas get tangled up with traditional ones in the fourteenth installment in the much-loved, best-selling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. The conflict between new ways and old ways is a major theme in The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon. Mma Ramotswe manages, as she does so well, to blend the two for a fulfilling life for her husband and children and all the others in her world.

In The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, Precious Ramotswe takes on two puzzling cases. First, she is approached by the lawyer Mma Sheba, who is the executor of a deceased farmer’s estate. Mma Sheba has a feeling that the young man who has stepped forward may not be who he says he is. Then the proprietor of the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon comes to Mma Ramotswe for advice. The opening of her new salon has been has not been successful. Someone is spreading damaging rumors about her shop. Could someone be trying to put the salon out of business?

Meanwhile, at the office, Mma Ramotswe has noticed something different about Grace Makutsi lately. Though Mma Makutsi has mentioned nothing, it has become clear that she is pregnant . What will happen to the agency without the associate detective?

Does anyone know how to pronounce Mma or Rra? For the answer, check . There Smith informs us that: “Mma and Rra are the formal terms of greeting and respect in Botswana. Mma is pronounced ‘Ma’, with a gentle m sound and a shortish a. Rra is exactly as it is spelt, with a rolling R.” (Unfortunately, I have never learned to roll my R’s!)

HBO had a series based on the first few books in this series. I tried to watch but never really got
into it, not because it wasn’t well-done, but because the actors and the setting didn’t fit the mental picture I had formed while reading the books. That’s always the problem with bringing a book to a screen.

Did you know that there are Alexander McCall Smith-approved tours of Gaborone in Botswana? Smith’s books do much to introduce the reader to the customs, history, and society of this country. In the same website, Smith answered the question “Why did you choose to write about Botswana?”

I suppose that the main reason is that I find Botswana a very interesting and admirable country. I respect the people who live there – they have built up their country very carefully and successfully. I admire their patience and their decency.

I thought, too, that it was a great pity that there are so many negative books and articles about Africa. I wanted to show readers in the rest of the world that there are many great and remarkable people living in southern Africa – people who lead good lives, with honour and integrity. Mma Ramotswe is one such person. There are many people like her – fine people, people with great gifts of intuition, intelligence, and humour. This is not to say that there are not many problems in that part of the world – there are. But the problems are only one side of the story – there is another, more positive side.

If you have not read any books in the series, I strongly suggest that you begin at the beginning. The books build on each other; you won’t get all the allusions unless you have read the other books. Never fear, though the effort is well worth it.
Alexander McCall Smith I've read all of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books. Not sure why. Not much happens. And absolutely nothing happens fast. They are full of tidbits of wisdom. Wait ... that's why I read them! No rush; nothing too bad is going to happen; and I get so spend a few hours with some wonderful people. Thanks Alexander McCall Smith for continuing Mma Ramotswe's quiet adventures. Alexander McCall Smith


Characters The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, #14)

Modern ideas get tangled up with traditional ones in the latest intriguing installment in the beloved, best-selling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.
Precious Ramotswe has taken on two puzzling cases. First she is approached by the lawyer Mma Sheba, who is the executor of a deceased farmer’s estate. Mma Sheba has a feeling that the young man who has stepped forward may be falsely impersonating the farmer’s nephew in order to claim his inheritance. Mma Ramotswe agrees to visit the farm and find out what she can about the self-professed nephew. Then the proprietor of the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon comes to Mma Ramotswe for advice. The opening of her new salon has been shadowed by misfortune. Not only has she received a bad omen in the mail, but rumors are swirling that the salon is using dangerous products that burn people’s skin. Could someone be trying to put the salon out of business?
Meanwhile, at the office, Mma Ramotswe has noticed something different about Grace Makutsi lately. Though Mma Makutsi has mentioned nothing, it has become clear that she is pregnant . . . But in Botswana—a land where family has always been held above all else—this may be cause for controversy as well as celebration.
With genuine warmth, sympathy, and wit, Alexander McCall Smith explores some tough questions about married life, parenthood, grief, and the importance of the traditions that shape and guide our lives.
This is the fourteenth installment in the series. The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, #14)

3.5 stars

In this 14th book in the 'No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series, Mma Ramotswe has two cases to solve. The book can be read as a standalone but knowing the characters is a bonus.


Mma Ramotswe's first case, brought by a lawyer named Mma Sheba, concerns the inheritance of a local farm. The deceased farmer's heir, a nephew, has shown up to claim the property. However Mma Sheba fears 'the nephew' may be an imposter, and asks Mma Ramotswe to investigate.

The second case involves Mma Soleti, owner of The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon. When Mma Soleti moves her salon to a desirable new location she receives a package containing the feather of a ground hornbill - a symbol of bad luck. Soon afterward a rumor campaign starts, claiming that women who get facials at Mma Soleti's salon suffer irreparable damage. Mma Ramotswe agrees to look into the matter.

Normally, Mma Ramotswe's associate, Mma Grace Makutski, assists with investigations. But Mma Makutski is pregnant and about to take maternity leave. Thus, Mma Ramotswe has to tackle most of the inquiries alone.....though Grace offers valuable advice. As always, Mma Ramotswe uses her intuition and insight (along with a bit of luck) to solve the cases.

Like all books in this series, the story is more about the characters than the cases. Mma Makutski and her husband, Phuti Radiphuti, have moved into an elegant home. Unfortunately, venomous snakes like it too!

And Phuti's unpleasant elderly aunt is determined to enforce 'the old traditions' when Mma Makutski gives birth, which clashes with Grace's modern views.

Other ongoing characters make an appearance as well. Mma Ramotswe's husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, decides to be a 'more modern' husband and help with the cooking. (His heart is in the right place, but he tries to mash the potatoes before he cooks them. LOL 😃). Apprentice mechanic Charlie, known for chasing girls, takes an unexpected shine to Mma Makutski's new baby. (Can he be thinking of settling down?) Orphanage manager Mma Potokwane offers tea, fruitcake (and serendipitously.....a valuable witness). And so on.

In the course of the story Mma Ramotswe realizes how much she appreciates Mma Makutski's friendship, intelligence, and help. So, at the end of the book, Mma Ramotswe gives her employee a nice surprise.

I'd highly recommend the book to readers who like cozies, especially fans of Mma Ramotswe. I wouldn't suggest reading this book as a standalone though. It's best to start at the beginning and 'grow' with the characters.

You can follow my reviews at Alexander McCall Smith This series is No. 1 in promoting the Botswana life. A baby on the way? Snakes in the house? A whisper campaign killing business at the newly opened beauty salon? All will be well in Botswana time. Our favorite characters all return as well as villain or two. Could Violet Sipotto be up to new tricks? What about that lawyer who asks the ladies to help prove a beneficiary of a will is an imposter? Precious and Grace are becoming an unbeatable team. The bad boys (and girls) don't stand a chance. Mr. JLB Matakoni attempts cooking potatoes after attending a cringe-worthy class for modern husbands. His attempts to mash the potatoes before cooking. . . Well, it was good for a laugh. This 14th episode does not disappoint. Such a delightful series! Alexander McCall Smith It is hard to imagine that I first met Precious Ramotswe 15 years ago, when reading The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Each time I visit this cast of characters, I smile with the familiarity of their interactions and read aloud the amusing passages to anyone who will listen. The honesty with which they approach life, the way in which they embrace simple pleasures is inspiring. In this latest edition in the series, themes of friendship and loyalty are explored. Characters grapple with tradition versus modernity, all with humor and poignancy. Mma Ramotswe and her associate Mma Makutsi work together to solve several mysteries, and as always discover that human nature and its complexity is the most mysterious thing of all. Reading the book, several quotes resonated with me; one in particular in which the pair of detectives contemplate their good fortune, ...for a few minutes, they sat together in complete silence, each with the thoughts that such a moment will bring. There was no need for words, for there are times when words can only hint at what the heart would wish to say. It is these musings on life that most endear me to McCall's writing and The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon was no exception. Alexander McCall Smith This might be the most sentimental book of the series and that's fine with me. I especially liked the scene when Grace and Precious are admiring the new arrival. I laughed out loud at Rra Matekoni's first night at the modern husband class. Some of the other reviewers complained about this series not being relevant to modern western life. Really? Do we not have warm feelings towards each other and our homes? Do we always have to dwell on the modern, usually nasty, world? I need these books like I need fresh air to breathe. They are good for my soul. Alexander McCall Smith I cannot tell you how much I love this series. It's true there's not much of a mystery but so what. There's plenty of other good things including the birth of Mma Makutsi's child who has such a wonderful name, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's attempt to be a better husband, and the appreciation of friendship. Throughout all of the story is the love of Botswana and when you close the book you'll feel better than you did when you started. Alexander McCall Smith