The Colors of All the Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith: A review

It's been quite a while since I traveled to Botswana, land of eternal sunshine and many-colored cattle, to have red bush tea with Precious Ramotswe. I was feeling a bit thirsty for that tea and so I decided to check in with Precious and see what was happening in the little town of Gaborone.

It turned out Precious had gone into politics! It was a most un-Precious-like thing to do but she had been pushed into it by her great friend Mma Potokwane, head of the local orphanage and a woman who knows how to get people to do her bidding.

An opening had come up on the Gaborone city council and the word was out that the council was to soon vote on whether to allow the building of the flashy Big Fun Hotel next to the city cemetery. Mma Potokwane was appalled at this effrontery and disrespect to the "late" people who reside in the cemetery. Mma Ramotswe was equally appalled when her friend told her about it, but she didn't see that there was anything to be done about it. That's when Mma Potokwane explained her plan; Precious would run for the empty seat and turn the council away from this very bad decision.

Precious was adamantly against the plan, but when Grace Makutsi learned who was also running for the council seat (her hated enemy Violet Sepotho), she added her voice to the insistence that Mma Ramotswe run and save the town from ignominy. No way could she withstand the pressure from these TWO determined women!

And so Mma Ramotswe ran and to her great surprise, she won! Meantime, she continued to do her day job as the No. 1 detective at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Botswana's one and only detective agency.

In that latter capacity, she cleared up a hit and run mystery in which an honored doctor had been injured; she supported her "apprentice detective" Charlie as he struggled with ethical issues and helped him with sorting out his love life; and she assisted other members of her team as they solved minor mysteries, the stock-in-trade of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. 

All in all, it was a very satisfying and relaxing Botswanan holiday for me and the red bush tea was delicious.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


  1. Replies
    1. It is that. It also gives the reader quite a lot to think about in regard to how humans deal with their fellows.

  2. It's good that you enjoyed the mystery, the holiday, and the tea. :-) Hopefully one of these days I'll watch the HBO adaptation; then I'll let you know how I liked it.

    1. I saw the HBO series but thought it really didn't do justice to the books, and apparently it didn't find an audience because it didn't last long.


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