The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith is the 14th instalment in the popular The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. It was, however, the first of the series that I had read so I was able to read the book without any preconceptions or expectations about what to expect from the travails of Mma Precious Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi. My lack of knowledge about the characters’ histories did not hinder my enjoyment of the book as the narrative was an easy read, and the description of Botswana transports the reader to Southern Africa – with the sights and sounds of Gaborone and its surrounding area. However, I did feel that McCall Smith laboured the point that the book was set in Botswana, as it was referred too often, and it made it somewhat unrealistic.
Mma Ramotswe has been asked to investigate two matters – a so called imposter believed to be trying to secure an inheritance – Liso Mulapo, as well as the suspected matter of someone trying to cause trouble and misfortune for the proprietor of the ‘Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon’ – Mma Sethi. As someone new to the series, the sleuthing element was lacking and the book seemed to be more about Mma Ramotswe adjusting to life in her agency by herself, as she coped without Mma Makutsi, as a result of her being busy with motherhood.
This book will most probably satisfy fans of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, who are invested in the characters. For novices like myself, it is an easy and pleasant read – which explains the popularity of the series – but it did not compel me to want to read the previous 13.