“Spare and neatly crafted, The Kalahari Typing School for Men sparkles with African sunshine and Mma Ramotswe’s wit.” —The Dallas Morning News
“The Kalahari Typing School for Men [is] simply charming in the extreme. . . . This series’ huge appeal lies in its mannerly folk wisdom and wry, gentle humor, full of wit, nuance and caring. It’s an oasis in a genre that too often seems a desert of violence and inhumanity.” —Chicago Sun-Times
“This loosely woven novel is as beguiling as Alexander McCall Smith’s earlier books about the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. His prose is deceptively simple, with a gift for evoking the earth and sky of Africa.” —The Seattle Times
“Get your hands on one of the mysteries from The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series…. Each book is a thinly disguised love letter…to the people and culture of Southern Africa. A great escape.” Elle
The Barnes & Noble Review
The fourth outing in the brilliant Precious Ramotswe series finds Botswana’s intrepid female private detective struggling with a new set of unique difficulties. When Precious’ assistant, Mma Grace Makusi, attempts to open a typing school for men, Precious and her fiancé do what they can to help while the cases and other travails pile up: Precious tries to help a flourishing engineer make up for the cruelty done to two women in his past; she also deals with competition from a new detective -- the arrogant and self-righteous Cephas Buthelezi -- who has opened another local agency. If that isn't enough, Precious also copes with her adopted son's withdrawn behavior and ensures that Mma Makusi's new love interest is on the up and up. No wonder there's no time to plan out her own long-delayed nuptials. Alexander McCall Smith once again approaches his tale with a sure hand and a poetic yet unpretentious voice that will draw you to a unique corner of the world. The engaging narrative calls up a vivid African landscape, and Smith’s easy humor underscores plenty of perceptive commentary on the folly and foibles of society. Precious is a wonderfully charming protagonist who draws on her good common sense and the wise teachings of her family to solve all troubles. As with the other books in this endlessly appealing series, The Kalahari Typing School for Men is a satisfying and supple novel that moves adeptly between mystery and thoughtful study of a part of the world few Americans know well. Tom Piccirilli
The fourth appearance of Precious Ramotswe, protagonist of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and two sequels, is once again a charming account of the everyday challenges facing a female private detective in Botswana. In his usual unassuming style, McCall Smith takes up Ramotswe's story soon after the events described in Tears of the Giraffe. Precious and her fianc , Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, still have not set a wedding date, but they continue to nurture the sibling orphans in their care, as well as the entrepreneurial ambitions of Precious's assistant, Mma Makutsi, who sets out to open a typing school for men. Along the way, Ramotswe handles a few cases and negotiates the arrival of a rival detective in Gaborone. The competition, a sexist detective who boasts of New York City street smarts, proves a delicious foil to his distaff counterpart. A moral component enters the story in the person of a successful engineer who wishes to atone for his past sins. He enlists Ramotswe to help him find the woman he has wronged, and this case comes to a satisfying yet hardly sentimental conclusion. But the real appeal of this slender novel is Ramotswe's solid common sense, a proficient blend of folk wisdom, experience and simple intelligence. She is a bit of a throwback to the days of courtesy and manners, and casts disapproving glances at the apprentices in her fianc 's auto shop who obsess about girls instead of garage protocol. A dose of easy humor laces the pages, as McCall Smith throws in wry observations, effortlessly commenting on the vagaries his protagonist encounters as she negotiates Botswana bureaucracy. This is another graceful entry in a pleasingly modest and wise series. (Apr. 29) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Owner of the (until recently) only detective agency in Botswana, portly Precious Ramotswe, known courteously as "Mma," leads a quietly successful though busy life. Engaged to Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni (an auto repair person); she fosters two troubled orphans, mentors her assistant, Mma Makutsi (a would-be typing school owner); and agrees to help a rather secretive man (who raises ostriches) right some old personal wrongs. Ramotswe takes everything as it comes, reacting to most events with quiet courage and resourcefulness. The fourth title in an internationally popular series first published in England, it features an exotic African setting and charming, memorable characters. Recommended for most collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/02; Anthony Minghella, director of The English Patient, has optioned the first book in the series, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.-Ed.] Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
It’s a good thing that Precious Ramotswe (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, 2001, etc.) has consolidated the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency in anticipation of consolidating her personal lifemoving its headquarters back of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, the establishment owned by Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, her fiancébecause the not-so-mean streets of Gaborone are teeming with problems only she can solve. Mr. Molofelo, a prosperous civil engineer from Lobatse, throws himself on her as a confessor, then asks her to find two women he wronged when he was a young man years ago: Tebogo Bathopi, the nursing student whom he insisted have the abortion he made necessary, and Mma Tsolamosese, the landlady whose radio he stole in order to finance the abortion. While Mma Ramotswe looks for the women, her assistant, Mma Grace Makutsi, looks for men: if not the gentleman friend she pines for, then prospective students for her new typing school aimed at men who want to learn secretarial skills without embarrassing themselves in front of a classful of women. Bumptious Cephas Buthelezi, who’s opened the rival Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency across town, has no chance against these women’s patient resolvesince although men may be tougher than women, they’re clearly not interested enough in other people to make good detectives. Inspector Ghote meets Mr. Parker Pyne. Readers who haven’t yet discovered Mma Ramotswe will enjoy discovering how her quiet humor, understated observation, and resolutely domestic approach to detection promise to put Botswana on the sleuthing map for good.