Smith’s latest novel has darker mysteries

THE LIMPOPO ACADEMY OF PRIVATE DETECTION. By Alexander McCall Smith, Pantheon. 257 pages. $24.95.

Anyone who has read one of Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels will instantly recognize the name Clovis Andersen.

He is the author of the much referred to, and highly revered, “The Principles of Private Detection,” the resource manual often quoted by Mma Ramotswe, founder and head of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency of Gaborone, Botswana, and her assistant/associate detective, Mma Makutsi.

In this latest installment, the ladies meet Andersen, and the effect is delightful. He is shyly embarrassed by their frequent quoting of his book but thrills them by his interest in their casework.

The ladies are faced with darker mysteries, with potentially more serious outcomes than in previous books. But as is usually the case, simple human nature lurks at the bottom of the evil.

Reviewer Anne Moise, a writer based in Charleston