Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Miracle at Speedy Motors (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series #9)

The Miracle at Speedy Motors (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series #9)

4.2 71
by Alexander McCall Smith

See All Formats & Editions


Fans around the world adore the best-selling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series and its proprietor, Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s premier lady detective. In this charming series, Mma  Ramotswe—with help from her loyal associate, Grace Makutsi—navigates her cases and



Fans around the world adore the best-selling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series and its proprietor, Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s premier lady detective. In this charming series, Mma  Ramotswe—with help from her loyal associate, Grace Makutsi—navigates her cases and her personal life with wisdom, good humor, and the occasional cup of tea.

Under the endless skies of Botswana, there is always something Mma Ramotswe can do to help someone and here she finds herself assisting a woman looking for her family. The problem is the woman doesn't know her real name or whether any of her family members are still alive. Meanwhile, Mma Makutsi is the recipient of a beautiful new bed that causes more than a few sleepless nights. And, at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni has come under the influence of a doctor promising a miracle cure for his daughter's medical condition, which Mma Ramotswe finds hard to accept. Nonetheless, Precious Ramotswe handles these things in her usual compassionate and good-natured way, while always finding time for a cup of red bush tea.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Not even several cups of bush tea can calm things down in this No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novel. Mma Ramotswe's latest case brings her to a Botswana game preserve where an elderly American tourist has met his untimely demise. (Are any demises timely?) Meanwhile, back at home at the agency, Mma Makutsi has insisted on the creation of Complaint Half Hour to air grievances, especially her own. And the estimable J.L.B. Matekoni has just informed his detective wife that he plans to mortgage the garage. Can our mild-mannered, philosophical sleuth bring peace on all fronts? Settle down with a fragrant steeping beverage and find out.
Marilyn Stasio
Before this touching case is solved—with the twist of folk humor that makes the whole series irresistible—there will indeed be miracles.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Lisette Lecat is the ideal reader for Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. A native of South Africa (which borders Botswana and shares Setswana language roots), Lecat's perfect accents and delightful characterizations are charming and entirely believable. Smith's detective plots are always secondary to the common sense and often witty psychological and philosophical discussions and internal musings that constitute the better part of the book, but Lecat manages to keep listeners engaged and focused throughout, and to feel comfortable in the Botswanan landscape. Teaching law at Botswana University, Smith obviously developed great admiration and love for the nation and its people, and it is this that makes his detective ladies so popular. Lecat's reading will delight both veteran and new fans of the series. Simultaneous release with the Pantheon hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 25). (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

This ninth "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" novel is one of the strongest entries in a consistently strong series. Like its predecessors, it is a gentle, warmhearted mix of loosely interwoven narrative threads that reaffirm Botswana detective Precious Ramotswe's philosophy of serving others. The book also offers enough intrigue, mystery, and uncertainty to keep listeners guessing-particularly about what the title's "miracle" will be. The answer is at once surprising and wholly believable. As always, South African reader Lisette Lecat brings a perfect accent and intonation to her narration, making Smith's books a treat to hear. With a new BBC miniseries adapted from the novels coming to HBO, American interest in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency should soon be greater than ever. Strongly recommended for general collections.
—Kent Rasmussen

Kirkus Reviews
Mma Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's foremost detective, witnesses a miracle, though not the one she was hoping for. In their deceptively quiet way, things are bustling at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Mma Manka Sebina, an adopted woman from the village of Ootse who does not know her blood relatives, begs Mma Ramotswe: "Please find me a birthday, and find me some people." Mma Grace Makutsi, the formidable assistant who clearly has her heart set on becoming the No. 1 Agency's Chief Detective, arranges with her fiance Phuti Radiphuti, owner of the Double Comfort Furniture Shop, to have a connubial bed-and what a bed!-delivered to her house. Mma Ramotswe's husband Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, the proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, is excited to hear Dr. Mwata suggest that, against all earlier medical opinion, he may be able to help the couple's foster daughter Motholeli to walk again. Although Motholeli has always accepted with rare grace the spinal injury that has kept her in a wheelchair, she can't keep herself from hoping too. The only cloud on the horizon is a series of spiteful anonymous letters in which Mma Ramotswe is warned: "Fat lady, you watch out!"If there are fewer funny moments than in Mma Ramotswe's previous cases (Good Husband of Zebra Drive, 2007, etc.), there's a deepening gravity and sweetness you won't find anywhere else in the genre.
From the Publisher

“Utterly charming and compulsively readable.” Newsweek

“Before this touching case is solved–with the twist of folk humor that makes the whole series irresistible – there will indeed be miracles.” The New York Times

“Whether you’re making your first visit to McCall Smith’s fictional Botswana or your ninth, it’s an irresistible destination.” The Scotsman

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series , #9
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
580 KB

Read an Excerpt

We Are All Care of One Another

The correct address of Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s foremost solver of problems—in the sense that this was where she could be found between eight in the morning and five in the afternoon, except when she was not there—was The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, c/o Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, Gaborone, Botswana. The “care of” was a matter of some disagreement between Mma Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi, her assistant and “right-hand lady,” as she put it. Mma Makutsi, with all the dignity of one who had received ninety-seven per cent in the final examinations of the Botswana Secretarial College, took the view that to say that the agency was care of Speedy Motors was to diminish its importance, even if it was true that the agency occupied a small office at the side of the garage. Those who really counted in this life, she maintained, were usually not care of anybody.

“We are the ones they come looking for,” she argued, with perhaps less than perfect logic. “When people come to this place, Mma, they look for us, not for the garage. The garage customers all know where the garage is. So our name should be first in the address, not the other way round, Mma. If anything, Speedy Motors should be care of us.”

She looked at Mma Ramotswe as she said this, and then quickly added: “That is not to say that Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and his garage are not important, Mma. That is not to say such a thing. It is just a question of . . .”

Mma Ramotswe waited for her assistant to complete the sentence, but nothing further came. That was the trouble with Mma Makutsi, she thought; she left things hanging in the air, often the most important things. What was it a question of? It must be a question of status, she decided; Mma Makutsi could be very prickly about that. There had been that business about her being described as “senior secretary” when she had only been in the job for a couple of months and when there was nobody junior to her in the firm; in fact, when there was nobody else at all in the firm. Then, once she had been promoted to assistant detective, it had not been long before she had asked when she could expect to be an “associate detective.” That promotion had come, as had her earlier advancement, at a time when Mma Ramotswe had been feeling guilty about something or other and had felt the need to smooth ruffled feathers. But now that she was an associate detective it was difficult to see what the next step could be. She had a suspicion that Mma Makutsi hankered after the title of “chief detective”—a suspicion which was founded on Mma Ramotswe’s having found in the waste-paper basket a crumpled piece of paper on which Mma Makutsi had been trying out new signatures. Not only were there several attempts at Mma Grace Radiphuti, Radiphuti being the surname of her fiancé, Phuti, but there was also a scrawled signature, Grace Makutsi, under which she had written Chief Detective.

Mma Ramotswe had re-crumpled the paper and tossed it back into the basket. She felt bad about having read it in the first place; one should not look uninvited at the papers of another, even if they have been discarded. And it was entirely understandable, normal even, that an engaged woman should practise the signature she will use after her marriage. Indeed, Mma Ramotswe suspected that most women secretly experimented with a new signature shortly after meeting a man they looked upon with favour—even if that man had not expressed any interest in them. A handsome and eligible man might expect to have his name tried out in this way by many women who fancied themselves on his arm, and there was no harm in this, she thought, unless one believed that women should not prepare quite so willingly for their hearts to be broken. Women, thought Mma Ramotswe, are sometimes like plump chickens in the yard, while outside, circling the fence, were the hyenas, the men. It was not a happy way of envisaging the relation between the sexes, but time and time again she had seen this particular drama played out in exactly that way. And hyenas, one had to admit, were surely destined to break the hearts of chickens; they could do nothing else.

Mma Ramotswe saw nothing undignified in being in the care of anybody. In fact, she thought it was rather reassuring to be in another’s care and, more than that, it was a very convenient way of describing how to find somebody, a way which we used in our everyday lives when talking about those we knew. There were people who were always to be found in the company of one particular friend, and to say, “Oh, you’ll always find him walking around with that other man, you know, the one who lives next to the store,” was surely the same as saying that one was care of the other. Yes, we were all care of one another in the final analysis, at least in Botswana, where people looked for and valued those invisible links that connected people, that made for belonging. We were all cousins, even if remote ones, of somebody; we were all friends of friends, joined together by bonds that you might never see, but that were there, sometimes every bit as strong as hoops of steel.

But, Mma Ramotswe thought that morning as she drank her first cup of red bush tea during her walk about her garden, perhaps this did not apply to everybody; perhaps there were some who were lonely in the middle of all this profusion of friends and relatives, who had lost their people. And that very morning, she would be seeing a woman who had written to her with exactly that problem, a woman who wanted to trace her relatives. Tracing people was bread and butter to somebody in Mma Ramotswe’s profession; at least once a month someone would come into the office and ask her to find somebody—an errant husband, a lover, a child who had drifted away from the family and stopped writing home. Sometimes it was lawyers who contacted her and asked her to find those who stood to inherit cattle, or land, and did not know of the good fortune that awaited them. That was the sort of case that Mma Ramotswe most enjoyed, and when she succeeded in finding such people, as she usually did, she relished the moment when she disclosed to them what was in store. Earlier that week she had found a young man who did not know that his uncle in the north had died and left him three trucks and a taxi. She had forgiven him the speed with which his expression of sorrow at the news of the uncle’s demise was replaced by one of incredulity and then joy when he heard of the vehicles awaiting him under a shade-netting awning somewhere up in Maun. Young men were human, after all, and this young man, she learned, had been saving to build a small house for himself and his bride-to-be. He needed to save no more.

“Three trucks, did you say, Mma? What make?”

Mma Ramotswe had no idea. Trucks were Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni’s concern, not hers. She was not even sure she could identify the manufacturer of her tiny white van; there had been a name painted on the back at one stage, but over the years it had been obliterated by the wind and clouds of dust and the scratching of thorn bushes. Now there was nothing, just ridges in the metal where there had been letters. Not that it mattered, of course: the tiny white van was too old to remember its maker, too ancient to be taken back.

Missing names, missing persons—how remarkable it was, she thought, that we managed to anchor ourselves at all in this world, and that we did so by giving ourselves names and linking those names with places and other people. But there were people, she imagined, whose names said nothing about them and who had only the haziest idea of who they were, people who might never even have known their parents. Mma Ramotswe could not remember her mother, who died when she was a baby, but at least she had known her father, the late Obed Ramotswe, whose memory seemed undimmed by the passage of the years. She thought of him every day, every day, and believed that in due course—but not too soon, she hoped—she would see him again in that place that was Botswana but not Botswana, that place of gentle rain and contented cattle. And perhaps on that day those people who had nobody here would find that there were indeed people for them. Perhaps.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and was a law professor at the University of Botswana. He lives in Scotland.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Brief Biography

Edinburgh, Scotland
Date of Birth:
August 24, 1948
Place of Birth:

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Miracle at Speedy Motors (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series #9) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 71 reviews.
Nellie-Grace More than 1 year ago
What do you do when you're feeling low? Read one of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books! Learn a little about Botswana. Enjoy the company of a woman of traditional build who treats others with respect and gentility. No foul language. No sex. No graphic description of gruesome crime scenes. Just pleasant reading that always helps me feel better about the world.
1DANA3 More than 1 year ago
I have become a huge fan of McCall Smith's work. This is an amusing, touching, and gentle look at ordinary people who search out a meaningful connection with others and a purpose to their existence. Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are back, solving new problems for their clients, but the investigations don't go quite as well as planned. There are small glitches along the way that add philosophical light to what the right thing to do could possibly be. The simple and charming events that happen in this book make it a true pleasure to read. Smith's gentle, realistic mystery books are a relaxant to the busy, worrisome world we live in and are full of values that encourage "good" in people. This is one of the best "pick-me-up" books, or any of Smith's books, that you can read. GENTLE. HEARTFELT. HUMOROUS. COZY. WARM. A TREAT FOR THE HEART!
BGLK More than 1 year ago
This book was another of the series that I find to be relaxing and enjoyable. Great series to read when you are wanting to read just for the joy of reading. This book (The Miracle at Speedy Motors) is imaginative and full of humor. I am so glad the author continues to be able to find these quality stories to write about very simple people.
grandmapenny More than 1 year ago
This author does a wonderful job of pulling a multilayered plot and several characters together without giving in to a syrupy ending or making it all fairy tale. McCall Smith just has that wonderful touch to a story that nudges you gently along. He takes you in one direction and "poof", a surprise here, a wake-up call there. But nothing is overboard or in your face. He has a way of making me love Mma Ramotswe more and more and embrace her staff and family. I treasure every read and savour my time with them.
Joyous-Reader More than 1 year ago
I was so enthralled after reading the first three books in the series that I had to purchase all of them. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire series. The series would make good discussion books for a book club.
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
Reading book 9 of Alexander McCall Smith's Number one Ladies' Detective Agency is every bit as enjoyable as you'd expect after reading 1 to 8. I know I'm behind. I know real addicts are already on book 11, but I'm catching up. Botswana continues to enthrall the reader with its beauty, the gentle pace of its culture, the quiet way it reflects a different version of ourselves in might-have-beens. Precious Ramotswe continues to seek and learn, from quiet mountain-side splendor that calms, to flustered concerns of secrets only half-uncovered. Mma Makutsi continues to grow into her role, slowly learning that secrets are better when set free and shared. And the promised miracle that threads throughout the tale? Well, you'll have to read to find out, but the author assuredly doesn't cheat to pull it out of the bag. Even the obdurate apprentices are growing older in this series, where everything changes with time but stays just as sane, just as wise and real and interesting as it was in the beginning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book like the previous 8 books in this series places Mr. Smith's characters in situations in which miracles are the experiences in life that can often be taken for granted. These miracles are not preached to the reader but enjoyed with the main character as she copes, appreciates and values her life in an African village and country which are her roots. Whether enjoying the peacefulness of an early morning cup of tea, the bonding of a friendship, her love of family or confronting worrisome problems, mysterious cases to be solved, she shows an awareness of these quiet often unspoken miracles. She is a true heroine with a sensitivity to her world which reflects our world. There's much to relate to in these very charming books which above all are very very entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago