AUS: 1300 630 488    NZ: 0800 1477 6287

Book Review: The Colours of All the Cattle

Christina Callinan of the Probus Club of Mount Beauty reviews The Colours of All the Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith, published by Little, Brown Great Britain 2018.

Alexander McCall Smith has been my favourite author since I first read The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. The Colours of all the Cattle is the latest in his series of 19 novels set in the African state of Botswana.

Characters include:

  • Mma Precious Ramotswe, Director of the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
  • Obed Ramotswe (late) father of Mma Ramotswe
  • Mr. J.L. B. Matekoni, owner of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors and Mma Ramotswe’s husband
  • Charlie, part time mechanic and detective in training
  • Queenie Queenie, Charlie’s current girlfriend
  • Fanwell, mechanic and friend of Charlie’s
  • Eddie, friend of Charlie’s
  • Mma Grace Makutsi, now Joint Managing Director of the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
  • Phuti Radiphuti, owner of the Double Comfort Furniture Store and husband of Grace Makutsi
  • Mr. Polopetsi, Assistant Detective
  • Mma Potokwantim, manager of the Orphans’ School
  • Mpilo, small boy from the Orphans’ School
  • Violet Sephotho, candidate for the vacant Council position
  • Dr Marang and his daughter Constance

All combine to continue the story of Mma Ramotswe’s Detective Agency and her reluctant nomination as a candidate for the local Council’s vacant position.

Chapter One gives us the thoughts of Mr J.L. B. Matekoni’s for his wife Mma Ramotswe, “There is no other lady quite like Mma Ramotswe in all Botswana.”

For the first time Obed Romatswe, who is late, communicates with his daughter Precious to assure her that all would be OK with her election to the local Council. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “You never were, you know – you were never afraid. Remember this, my Precious; remember this – you have Botswana.”

Alexander McCall Smith’s skill as a storyteller reaches its pinnacle with the first Council meeting where a vote has to be taken for the acceptance of a local builder’s plan to erect the Fun Hotel next to the local cemetery. The result of the vote surprises even Mma Ramotswe.

The last chapter, which in the words of Shakespeare, “All’s well that ends well,” brings a happy conclusion to the many lives of these delightful people of Botswana.

I gave this novel a score of 5 out of 5.





Do you have a book review that you'd like to share with Probus South Pacific? If so, email it to [email protected] along with your name and Probus Club, and you could be published in a future issue of the Active Retirees and Staying Connected e-newsletters. We'll also send a $20 voucher to anyone whose book review we publish.