Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Published: October 27, 2015 by Pantheon
Genre: philosophical fiction, mystery
Obtained through: library
Summary: Mma Ramotswe is encouraged by her friends and family to take a vacation from her job at the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. This proves to be a challenge for her. Not only does she wonder what is going on at the agency in her absence, but she encounters a boy named Samuel who needs help from her and her agency. We also find out how the agency fares in her absence.
Thoughts: This is a light book full of life and moral lessons told through clever anecdotes, humor, and the daily lives of the characters. It is a delightful book that I thoroughly enjoyed, although I did find some things that readers may not like.
Although the book is about a detective agency, there are no mysteries presented until over halfway through the book, which may be disappointing to hard core mystery lovers. Also, when I first started reading this series, it bothered me that I did not know how to pronounce the names of the characters and some of the places. Mma and Rra (formal terms of greeting and respect) were hard to get used to as well. At first I just made up my own names for each of the characters. Then, I listened to an audio version of one of the books. I quickly learned the pronunciations, so this is no longer bothersome to me. Knowing how to pronounce the names adds to the story, making you feel as if you are in Botswana.
I really enjoyed this author's writing style. The flow of the story was easy to follow even through time hops. His characters come to life, and I felt like I was in Botswana, Africa. I not only learned what the land was like, but I got a good grasp of the Botswana culture. The author can be repetitive at times. For example, hearing about cattle over and over got a little annoying, but the author was obviously showing how cattle are an important part of Botswana life. Also, there is a lot of tea drinking in this book. I can see how this may become dull for some readers, but this was enjoyable for me since I am a tea lover.
This is one of my favorite series and authors. By the sixteenth book, most series have petered out, but this one is still strong. The author always has new personal problems for the characters to solve along with mysteries for the detectives.
This is the perfect book to read when you want to relax with a cup of tea.
Tea: Rooibos (South African Red Bush)
Company: Grace Tea
According to their website, Grace tea, founded in 1959, is a small family run company in Athol, Massachusetts.
The Rooibos tea that I brewed was packaged in a good quality black tin with a hinged cover. The back of the tin describes this tea as follows: "Commonly known as red bush tea, Rooibos (roy-bos) is a unique herbal plant indigenous to South Africa. Rooibos is naturally caffeine free, low in tannis and high in antioxidants, thus making it beneficial to your body's health and well being. When brewed, Rooibos produces a reddish cup, tasting similar to a mild black tea. However, it drinks very smoothly with little after taste."
When I opened the tin, there was a light, somewhat nutty scent. The tea leaves were reds and browns. They looked like finely ground bark rather than leaves. There is a lot of tea in this tin!
I followed the directions to brew on the back of the tin, adding one teaspoon of leaves to my tea ball and steeping for four minutes (directions said 4-5 minutes).
There were many tea leaves left in my cup after removing the tea ball, so I poured my cup of tea through a tea pot with a very fine sieve. I hate tea leaves in my cup of tea!
The liquid was a pretty reddish color that was quite appealing. I had to lift the cup up toward my face for the mild aroma which was earthy.
I did not add anything to this tea. It tasted as it smelled- light and earthy, but the taste was somewhat sweet. It had very little after taste (just like the tin says). This really stood out for me. It did not taste like "a mild black tea" to me. It had a distinctive taste.
I tried brewing another cup for 5 minutes later on and liked this tea even more when brewed for the 5 minutes. The one minute did make a difference. I recommend using an extra fine tea infuser for this tea.