In the Company of Cheerful Ladies is the sixth book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. However, this is a series that you could jump right in to without having read books 1-5. I totally enjoy this series and recommend that you at least give them a shot!
I feel like In the Company of Cheerful Ladies has even more mystery in it than the previous five books. There's the mystery of a man under Mma Ramotswe's bed; the mystery of the pumpkin on the porch; the mystery of the missing Zambian financier; the mystery of Charlie the apprentice and his flashy lady; and the mystery of the missing tiny white van.
The man under Mma Ramotswe's bed: this was hilarious! One hot day, Mma Ramotswe comes home from work a little early and decides to relax on her bed for an hour before it's time to cook dinner for the family. Suddenly she hears a strange noise coming from under her bed and next thing she knows a pants-less man is wriggling out from under it and sprinting out the door! Who was he? And why did he leave his pants behind? (This is where I laughed so very hard: he had to leave his pants because he was getting squashed under the bed, under Mma Ramotswe's "traditional build" weight!)
The pumpkin on the porch: one morning Mma Ramotswe discovers a beautiful pumpkin left on her porch. Most people would just accept the gift and go on... but not the No. 1 Lady Detective in Botswana! She begins an investigation.
The missing Zambian financier is the case that the ladies are actually getting paid to solve.
Charlie and the flashy lady: who on earth is this glamorous woman who's picking up Charlie from work in a Mercedes Benz? It's Charlie, for goodness' sake!
The missing tiny white van: Mma Ramotswe's precious tiny white van breaks down one night. When she returns the next day with Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni to tow it back to the shop, it's gone! Where did it go?
This book is so jam-packed. Mma Makutsi embarks on a new endeavor in her evenings, which (of course), unfolds to much more than she originally thought. And there's a new face at the garage, who I guarantee you'll like as much as the enduring characters.
Unfortunately, I do have one kind of downer note... I feel like I may be tiring of the audiobooks. The pacing is starting to feel a little slow. I think I'd fly through the print books, but the audiobooks progress at their own slower pace. But then, that matches the feel of life in Mma Ramotswe's corner of Botswana, so maybe this is actually a good note.
I think this series is getting better as it goes! Looking forward to starting Blue Shoes and Happiness (book #7) soon!
*I checked out my copy of In the Company of Cheerful Ladies from my local library.