Reading this installment is a big milestone for me. When I first got into the series way back in 2011, this book was just released and I thought ‘My God, am I ever going to get to this book? Will I still be a fan?’ And six years later, here I am!
You guys, I am twelve stories deep in this series. You don’t get this far into a series without liking the writing and plot style and ‘The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party’ is atypical for ‘The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency’ series so of course I love it. This installment has everything I love about this series.
It has a nice solid crime with a morality lesson and an insight into people’s behaviours and motivations all solved with Mma Ramotswe’s good grace and wisdom. I love all the endearing side plots such as Mma Makutsi’s wedding. Watching Mma Makutsi’s uncle try and interfere with her wedding gave me flashbacks to my own family drama since emotionally difficult relatives are like death and taxes, constant and universal. All this is set amongst the backdrop of Botswana.
And this is one of my favourite aspects of this series is Smith’s deep love and appreciation for Botswana. When people write stories set in Africa or Developing Countries, there’s a hint of ‘Savior Syndrome’ about it. Like because they’re still living in backward conditions, they require a big strong Developed Country to modernize them and show them the error of their ways. Smith writes about Botswana in a way that shows to people that Africa can teach the world about something through values that are inherently African.
I also love the writing style. It can come across cloying at times since there’s a lot of talk about good and bad behaviour, and the characters can come across as rays of constant sunshine. But there’s an underlying acidity that isn’t meanness or cynicism, just an understanding that although life can be exhausting and unfair, we must never lose hope or our morals.
I’ve written about this series before so I’ve kept this one a bit on the short side. If you want to get into the series, it’s best to start in chronological order as the character developments won’t make much sense. But if you are a fan of this series, this is another winner.