After being a little disappointed by "Tea-time for the traditionally built", I was hoping the 11th helping of the No. 1 Ladies would be more to my liking, and on the whole I was not disappointed. I especially enjoyed the first few chapters - as the thoughts of Mr J.L.B. Matekoni feature strongly, and then there is an accident which makes the tone a little darker than it sometimes is. As usual Alexander McCall Smith manages to make minor incidents a prelude to some entertaining Botswanan philosophy, such as Mma Ramotswe's reception of Grace's suggestion that they should exchange the teapots used for brewing the ordinary and red-bush tea. Later on Grace manages to wangle a pair of boots on expenses, which I thought was probably an oblique comment on recent shenanigans in Westminster, but which Precious puts up with with her usual good humour. I suspect that in the next episode Grace will finally get to marry Phuti, as in this one she has to fight to keep (or rather regain) her man, not with Violet, but with an Aunt who has taken agin her and is clearly hoping to prevent the marriage. Grace does have another run-in with Violet however.
Taken as a whole I've no hesitation in giving the series 5 stars, but by now I'm perhaps a little used to the style of the books to give any particular episode 5 stars. And I did feel short-changed on a couple of occasions, when strokes of good very good fortune enable Mma Ramotswe to resolve cases satisfactorily. There were some intriguing loose ends however, for example we learn that the late-lamented little white van has gone to a "natural mechanic" in the north of Botswana so perhaps it may yet return, so I shall no doubt be looking out for the next and perhaps final instalment.