The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series #13)

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series #13)

by Alexander McCall Smith


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Fans around the world adore the bestselling 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.
Alexander McCall Smith’s beloved, bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series continues as Botswana’s best and kindest detective finds her personal and professional lives have become entangled.
Precious Ramotswe is very busy these days. The best apprentice at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors is in trouble with the law and stuck with the worst lawyer in Gaborone. Grace Makutsi and Phuti Radiphuti are building the house of their dreams, but their builder is not completely on the up and up. Most shockingly, Mma Potokwane, the orphan farm’s respected matron, has been dismissed from her post. Mma Ramotswe is not about to rest when her friends are mistreated.  Help arrives from an unexpected visitor.  He is none other than the estimable Mr. Clovis Andersen, author of The Principles of Private Detection, the No. 1 Ladies’ prized manual.  Together, Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi, and their colleague help right injustices that occur even in their beloved Botswana, and in the process discover something new about being a good detective. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307472991
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/05/2013
Series: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series , #13
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 75,938
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith is also the author of the Isabel Dalhousie series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, the 44 Scotland Street series, and the Corduroy Mansions series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh and has served with many national and international organizations concerned with bioethics. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and taught law at the University of Botswana. He lives in Scotland.


Edinburgh, Scotland

Date of Birth:

August 24, 1948

Place of Birth:


Read an Excerpt

In Botswana, home to the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency for the problems of ladies, and others, it is customary—one might say very customary—to enquire of the people whom you meet whether they have slept well. The answer to that question is almost inevitably that they have indeed slept well, even if they have not, and have spent the night tossing and turning as a result of the nocturnal barking of dogs, the activity of mosquitoes or the prickings of a bad conscience. Of course, mosquitoes may be defeated by nets or sprays, just as dogs may be roundly scolded; a bad conscience, though, is not so easily stifled. If somebody were to invent a spray capable of dealing with an uncomfortable conscience, that person would undoubtedly do rather well—but perhaps might not sleep as soundly as before, were he to reflect on the consequences of his invention. Bad consciences, it would appear, are there for a purpose: to make us feel regret over our failings. Should they be silenced, then our entirely human weaknesses, our manifold omissions, would become all the greater—and that, as Mma Ramotswe would certainly say, is not a good thing.
Mma Ramotswe was fortunate in having an untroubled con-science, and therefore generally enjoyed undisturbed sleep. It was her habit to take to her bed after a final cup of red bush tea at around ten o’clock at night. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, her husband and by common consent the finest mechanic in all Botswana, would often retire before her, particularly if he had had a tiring day at work. Mechanics in general sleep well, as do many others whose day is taken up with physically demanding labour. So by the time that Mma Ramotswe went to bed, he might already be lost to this world, his breathing deep and regular, his eyes firmly closed to the bedside light that he would leave for his wife to extinguish.
She would not take long to go to sleep, drifting off to thoughts of what had happened that day; to images of herself drinking tea in the office or driving her van on an errand; to the picture of Mma Makutsi sitting upright at her desk, her large glasses catching the light as she held forth on some issue or other. Or to some memory of a long time ago, of her father walking down a dusty road, holding her hand and explaining to her about the ways of cattle—a subject that he knew so well. When a wise man dies, there is so much history that is lost: that is what they said, and Mma Ramotswe knew it to be true. Her own father, the late Obed Ramotswe, had taken so much with him, but had also left much behind, so many memories and sayings and observations, that she, his daughter, could now call up and cherish as she waited for the soft arms of sleep to embrace her.
Mma Ramotswe did not remember her dreams for very long once she had woken up. Occasionally, though, an egregiously vivid dream might make such an impression that it lodged in her memory, and that is what happened that morning. It was not in any way a bad dream; nor was it a particularly good dream, the sort of dream that makes one feel as if one has been vouchsafed some great mystical insight; it was, rather, one of those dreams that seems to be a clear warning that something special is about to happen. If a dream involves lottery tickets and numbers, then its meaning is clear enough. This dream was not like that, and yet it left Mma Ramotswe feeling that she had somehow been given advance notice of something out of the ordinary, something important.
In this dream she was walking along a path in the stretch of bush immediately behind Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, the building that the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency shared with Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni’s garage. She was not sure where she was going, but this did not seem to matter as Mma Ramotswe felt happy just to be walking along it with no great sense of having to reach a destination. And why should one not walk along a path, particularly a comfortable path, without any idea of getting anywhere?
She turned a corner and found herself faced with a large acacia tree, its foliage extending out like the canopy of a commodious umbrella. To dream of trees is to . . . to long for trees, and finding herself under the shade of this tree would have been enough to make the dream a satisfactory one. But there was more to it. Underneath the tree, standing in such a position that the mottled shade of the leaves all but obscured his face, was a tall, well-built man. He now stepped forward, held out a hand and said, “I have come at last, Mma Ramotswe.”
And that was the point at which Mma Ramotswe awoke. The encounter with this stranger had not been threatening in any way; there had been nothing in his demeanour that was suggestive of hostility, and she had not felt in the slightest bit anxious. As for what he said, she had simply thought, even if she had not had the time to say it, Yes, it has been a long time.
For a few minutes after waking, she had lain still in bed, mulling over the dream. Had the man been her father, then the dream would have been easy to understand. She knew that she dreamed of her father from time to time, which was only to be expected, given that not a day went past, not one day, when she did not think of that great and good man, the late Obed Ramotswe. If you think of somebody every day, then you can be sure you will dream of him at night; but it was not him whom she encountered under that acacia tree—that was very clear. It was somebody quite different, somebody she sensed was from a long way away. But who could that be? Mma Ramotswe did not really know anybody from a long way away, unless one counted Francistown or Maun, where she knew a number of people. But those towns, although several hundred miles from Gaborone, are both in Botswana, and nowhere in Botswana was the abode of strangers. That was because Botswana, to those who lived there, was home, and familiar, and comfortable, and no place in such a country will seem far away. No, this man under the tree was from somewhere outside the country, and that was unusual and puzzling and would have to be thought about at some length.
“I had a very unusual dream,” she said to Mma Makutsi as they attended to the morning’s mail in the office.
Mma Makutsi looked up from the envelope that she was in the process of slitting open. “Dreams are always unusual,” she said. “In fact, it is unusual to have a usual dream.”
Mma Ramotswe frowned. She thought that she understood what Mma Makutsi meant but was not quite sure. Her assistant had a habit of making enigmatic remarks, and this, she suspected, was one such remark.
“Phuti,” Mma Makutsi continued, referring to her new husband, Phuti Radiphuti, “Phuti has many dreams, every night. He tells me about them and I explain what they mean.” She paused. “He often dreams about furniture.”
“That is because he has a furniture shop,” Mma Ramotswe said. “So perhaps it is not surprising.”
“That is so, Mma,” agreed Mma Makutsi. “But he can dream about different pieces of furniture.” She paused, fixing Mma Ramotswe on the other side of the room with the cautious look of one about to reveal sensitive information. She lowered her voice. “Some nights he dreams about beds; other nights he dreams about dining room tables. It is very strange.”
Mma Ramotswe looked down at her desk. She did not like to discuss the intimate side of anybody’s marriage—particularly when the marriage was as recent as Mma Makutsi’s. She thought of new marriages as being rather like those shy, delicate flowers one sees on the edge of the Kalahari; so small that one might miss them altogether, so vulnerable that a careless step might crush their beauty. Of course, people talked about their dreams without too much embarrassment—most dreams, after all, sound inconsequential and silly in the cold light of day—but it was different when a wife talked about a husband’s dreams, or a husband about a wife’s. Dreams occurred in beds, and what occurred in marital beds was not a subject for debate in the office—especially if the dream related to beds, as it appeared that some of Phuti Radiphuti’s dreams did.
But if Mma Ramotswe was reluctant to probe Phuti’s dreams too closely, the same was not true of her assistant. The topic had now been broached, and Mma Makutsi pursued it enthusiastically.
“There is no doubt about a dream about beds,” she continued. “The meaning of that dream is very clear, Mma. It should be very obvious, even to a person who does not know much about dreams, or other things, for that matter.”
Mma Ramotswe said nothing.
“Yes,” said Mma Makutsi, “if a person says I have been dreaming about beds, then you know straight away what the dream means. You can say to them, I know what that dream means. It is very clear.
Mma Ramotswe looked out of the window, which was high, and gave a view from that angle only of a slice of blue; empty blue; blue with no white of cloud; nothingness. “Is the meaning of dreams clear, Mma? Do any dreams make sense, or are they just like . . . like clouds in the sky, composed of nothing very much? Maybe they are clouds in our mind, Mma; maybe that is what they are.”
Mma Makutsi was having none of this. “The meaning is often clear,” she retorted. “I have no difficulty, Mma, in understanding a dream about beds.”
Mma Ramotswe sighed. “Well, they do say, don’t they, Mma, that men have such things on their minds most of the time. They say that men think only of that, all day. Listen to the way Charlie speaks when he thinks you can’t hear him. That shows you what men think about—or at least, young men. I do not think that Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni has thoughts like that in his head all day. I do not think that, Mma.”
It was as if Mma Makutsi had not heard her. “Yes, Mma. The meaning of a dream about beds is very simple. It means that you are tired. It means that you need more sleep.”
Mma Ramotswe stared at her assistant for a few moments. Then, with some degree of relief, she smiled. “Well, there you have it, Mma. That must be what such a dream means.”
“On the other hand,” went on Mma Makutsi, “a dream about a dining-room table is different. That does not mean that you are tired.”
“No, it does not mean that, Mma. A dream about a dining-room table means that you are hungry. I think that is very obvious.”
Mma Ramotswe looked first at the teapot, and then at the clock. She would wait, she decided; if one kept bringing forward the time at which one had tea, then the period after teatime would become far too long. Tea had to be taken at the right time; if anything was clear, it was that.
She decided to steer the conversation back to her own dream. But just as she was about to do so, Mma Makutsi came up with a further observation on Phuti’s dreams. “When he said to me one morning that he had dreamed of dining-room tables, I was worried. Was I giving him enough to eat, I wondered?”
“And what did you decide, Mma?”
“I think I’m giving him enough food. I believe in demand feeding. I think that is what it’s called. I always leave some food out in the kitchen so that Phuti can pick up a snack if he feels hungry. There are other women who believe that you should only feed your husband at set times, so that he gets used to it. But I am not one of those women, Mma. I leave food out.”
Mma Ramotswe suppressed a grin at the thought of demand feeding for husbands. The conversation, although potentially sensitive, had proved to be more amusing than anything else, and she knew that it could drift on indefinitely. It was her own dream that had started it, and it was to her dream that she now returned.
“I had a very strange dream last night, Mma,” she said. “As I was saying.”
“Please tell me what it was, Mma,” said Mma Makutsi. “I cannot guarantee that I will be able to tell you what it means, but we shall see.”
“I dreamed that I was walking along a path,” Mma Ramotswe began. “And—”
Mma Makutsi interrupted her. “That means you are going on a journey, Mma. There can be no doubt about that.”
Mma Ramotswe acknowledged this. “Possibly. But then the path came to a place—”
“That is your destination,” announced Mma Makutsi. “Thatplace that you saw in your dream was your destination in life. That is very clear indeed. What was it like, Mma? Was it a very good place?”
“There was an acacia tree—”
Again there was an interjection. “Then that means you are going to end up under a tree, Mma. That is where you will find yourself, under a tree.” She looked at Mma Ramotswe sympathetically.
“That is not too bad, Mma. There are many worse places to end up.”
“But the tree was not all that important,” said Mma Ramotswe, raising her voice slightly to prevent further interruption. “There was a man standing under the tree. It was as if he was waiting for me.”
“That will be Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni.”
Mma Ramotswe shook her head. “It was not him. It was a man I had never seen before. And he did not come from here. He was a stranger.”
Mma Makutsi’s glasses flashed in a slanting band of sunlight. “Not from Gaborone?” she asked. “Not from Botswana?”
“No. He was from somewhere else. He was not an African at all.”
Mma Makutsi was silent. Then she delivered her judgement. “You are going to meet a stranger,” she said, with an air of gravity. “You are going to meet a stranger under an acacia tree.”
“I thought it might mean something like that,” said Mma Ramotswe. “But then I thought that it probably didn’t mean anything at all. That it was just a dream, and I would forget about it by this afternoon.”
Mma Makutsi looked doubtful. “I don’t think you should forget it, Mma Ramotswe. I think that you should remember it, so that when it happens, when you meet that stranger under the acacia tree, you will be prepared.”
She said nothing more, but gave Mma Ramotswe an oblique look; a look that Mma Ramotswe interpreted as a warning. But she had not understood—for all her claims to understanding dreams, Mma Makutsi had missed the point. This stranger was not threatening; this stranger, for whom Mma Makutsi said she should be prepared, was not somebody to be dreaded or guarded against. On the contrary, this stranger was a good man, a kind man, and his arrival—if he were ever to come, which was highly unlikely—was something to be welcomed, something to be celebrated. And there was something else—something that was hard to put into words. The man in the dream might have been a stranger in that she had never seen him before, but somehow she felt that she knew him. She knew him but did not know him.
She glanced at her watch again. Resolve can be weakened by time, and by talk about dreams and by heat.
“I know it’s a bit early, but I think that we should have tea now,” she said to Mma Makutsi. And Mma Makutsi, who had removed her glasses to clean them, looked up, finished her task of polishing the lenses and said that she completely agreed.
“On a hot day,” she said, “we dream of tea.”

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“In Mma Ramotswe, [McCall Smith] minted one of the most memorable heroines in any modern fiction.”

“Enthralling. . . . Mma Ramotswe is someone readers can’t help but love.”
   —USA Today

“If you’ve never read a No. 1 Ladies’, now’s the time. . . . The brilliance of this series … is that what may seem like tiny cases expand into considerations of virtue, love, ambition, greed, and evil.”
“An oasis. . . . Full of wit, nuance, and caring.”
   —Chicago Sun-Times

“Smart and sassy . . . [with] the power to amuse or shock or touch the heart, sometimes all at once.”
   —Los Angeles Times

“There is no end to the pleasure that may be extracted from these books.”
   —The New York Times Book Review

“These gentle stories of manners and morality have a clarity that . . . seems far harder to discern in our own rushed, deadline-driven lives.” 
   —The Scotsman

“Endearing, amusing. . . . Sparkles with African sunshine and wit.”
   —Dallas Morning News

“The best, most charming, honest, hilarious, and life-affirming books to appear in years.”
   —The Plain Dealer

Customer Reviews

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The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 71 reviews.
pugsnhugs More than 1 year ago
Alexander McCakk Smith writes some of the most interesting and fun to read books I have ever read. Some times sad, but in the end everything comes out and you can't believe the book is at the end.
afrodiamondchild More than 1 year ago
I love this series...wish they would bring it back to tv...Jill Scott was an exceptional actress playing Mma i looked forward to watching it every Sunday night @ 8.
TurningThePagesBlog More than 1 year ago
I first started reading the No. 1 Ladies' Detective back in the summer of 2010, shortly after the HBO show of the same name aired on television. A lot of you already know that I have a wee obsession with all things Africa so this series is my little escape to Botswana when I read it. When I read this back in June, it had been a whole year since I had opened one of the books in this series and I was starting to miss Mma Ramotswe and the other colourful characters that Alexander McCall Smith so artfully writes into his novels. When ever I read the series I feel like I'm coming home and this novel was no different from the others in that aspect. For me, I have certain authors that I resort to reading when I'm in a certain mood and when I read this one I needed a good old fashioned comfort read. In this latest installment in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency we are once again brought into the comforting embrace of Mma Ramotswe. In this book I got to meet up with my old friends Mma Makutsi, Phuti Radiphuti, Rra Matekoni and his faithful assistants at the garage he owns as well as being introduced to Mma Ramotswe's hero Clovis Anderson. I know many people say that these books shouldn't be classed as mysteries because the "case" Mma Ramotswe solves are often pretty trivial but for me I just love the feeling these novels give me. This time around the mystery was close to home as one of Rra Matekoni's assistants is put in a delicate situation in which Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi and and Clovis Anderson get on the case and try to rescue him! This one turned out to be even better than the previous book in the series which surprised me because I thought the series had peaked at the time I read the last one so I was pleasantly surprised to find that that was not the case. This one still had the homey feeling that all the novels have but it was nice to see the different characters backstories evolve because less face it after a certain amount of books in a series things can become a little stagnant. For me this one actually turned out to be the best book in the series (besides the first one) in my opinion and was certainly the most enjoyable. I can't wait to read the next book. I think the direction the author has taken with the book is one that readers will like. At least I hope other do because I really did. If you haven't read the series and want a unique reading experience I highly suggest reading this series. *I revieved a copy of this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my FREE and HONEST review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I was in no way compensated for my review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm never disappointed with these books. I began with book one and each and everyone has been fun to read. It's not necessary to read the previous ones to enjoy this but it is an advantage to follow these entertaining characters from their beginnings and follow them through the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Delightful - just like the rest of the series.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection is the thirteenth in the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. In this instalment, Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi find themselves investigating not for clients, but rather, for themselves and their friends. Precious and Grace are delighted to find that Clovis Anderson, author of their much-consulted bible, The Principles of Private Detection, is visiting Botswana and decides to stop in for a chat. Precious uses the opportunity to get his advice on a troubling situation affecting her dear friend, Matron of the Orphan Farm, Mma Potokwani. It seems the Orphanage Board has decided to institute changes which Mma Potokwani feels will be detrimental to the orphans, and her dissension is to cost her her job. In an uncharacteristic move, the usually forthright matron retreats to her lands: is this the end for Mma Potokwani? Fanwell, the irreproachable apprentice at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, reluctantly agrees to help an old acquaintance and finds this decision has unforeseen serious consequences. While Mr J.L.B. Matekoni and Mma Ramotswe give him their full support, a surprisingly resourceful Charlie demonstrates unexpected loyalty and comes to the rescue. And newlyweds, Grace and Phuti, find that building a house can be complicated, especially when the builder is not completely honest. As always, the lives of our favourite Gabarone residents keep the reader engrossed; their dialogue, especially that of Mma Makutsi (and her shoes!) provide many light moments; the courtroom scene is pure farce; we discover the origin of Grace’s obsession with shoes; we learn more about Fanwell’s background; Grace’s musings on physical and mental comfort are worth consideration, as is the concept of the guilt-free sofa; Mma Ramotswe’s inner monologue is full of gentle philosophy and it was a lovely surprise for the reader to meet the much-quoted (and apparently very human) Clovis Anderson. Another delightful novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First of all, I have not yet read the book so I am, in essence, judging the book from the knowledge I have. I have read all 12 of Mr. Smith's books so far, and I have savored each and every one. His writing is superb and expresses true love for the friendly and diverse country of Botswana. I hope to be able to read his newest book, the 13th in the series, very soon. I also want to express gratitude to Barnes and Nobles for their thorough review and extensive excerpt. This is one of the many reasons why you (B&N) are by far my favorite book store.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy reading about other cultures and other countries, then you should definitely read Alexander McCall Smith's series about a woman detective and her assistant in Botswana. The latest book, The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection is full of interesting characters, mystery and humor and wisdom .
NahvilleReader More than 1 year ago
Charming series, fun to read. Always ends too quickly and I wish it the story hadn't ended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really like the No1. Ladies' Detective Agency series. It is an easy and fun read. Just right for summer days at the beach or just when you want a good light mystery.
smik on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I watched the TV series just recently I was a little disappointed but I couldn't pinpoint just what was missing. It wasn't just that Jill Scott didn't quite fit my mental image of Precious Ramotswe. The content of the stories seemed rather thin and he-who-watches-TV-with-me read his paper because he thought the episodes were rather trite.But now I know what was missing! What the books contain that I so much enjoy. I'm pretty sure that I have read the whole series, so I'm pretty well acquainted with all the characters. What the books contain is the carefully chosen language with that subtle touch of humour that conveys Mma Ramotswe's thoughts and feelings.Followers of this series won't be disappointed in THE LIMPOPO ACADEMY OF PRIVATE DETECTION. The stories feel fresh and while there's no murder there's plenty of everyday life, the stuff that makes these cozies so satisfying. There's no doubt about it - McCall Smith has created a cast of characters that we care about.You'll notice that I have included THE LIMPOPO ACADEMY OF PRIVATE DETECTION under Africa in the 2012 Global Reading Challenge. The novels in this series are very firmly based in Botswana and frequently contain reflections on how Botswana is coping with the modern world. For example Clovis Andersen and Precious Ramotswe talk about how words are disappearing from the language and she often talks about the loss of traditional values. And on a deeper level the novels raise issues about how modern economics is destroying traditional and human structures.
Figgles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
More of the same from Alexander McCall Smith, but gloriously so. Further adventures in the life of Mma Ramotswe, her family and friends, reminding us that love is more important than business and that if you change someone's life for the better that's no less important than making a big splash in the world. Loved it.
LadyoftheLodge on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent recent addition to the popular series. I was happy to see all the regular characters return. The ending provided a set up for the next book--I hope there are many! The characters are like family members for me.
khiemstra631 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, and I now rate this one as my current favorite of them all. The two detectives are having to reassess their relationship to one another since Mma Makutsi's marriage to Phuti Radiputi. And, Mma Potokwane has been forced out of her job as head of the orphanage. The two detectives undertake to help her get her job back with the help of a famous visitor who has turned up on their doorstep. I will not say more as the identity of this visitor provides one of the great surprises of this book. This is truly a book that brings smiles to the face of the reader throughout. It's a gentle, charming read and not to be missed by fans of the series.
jnwelch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you haven't read and liked one of the Precious Ramotswe books in Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, I recommend giving the first one a try. They're charming and often wise.They're set in Botswana, where the author once taught law, and feature a gentle humor and warmth that makes reading them feel like taking a short vacation from our daily pressures. They are mysteries, but typically involve the good sorting out, and outwitting, the wicked and greedy. In The LImpopo Academy of Private Detection an auto shop assistant is unjustly accused of being involved in a stolen car racket, and formidable Mma Potakwane is dismissed for shady-appearing reasons from administering the orphanage she has given her life to. Can "traditionally built" Precious Ramotswe use her clear-sightedness and resolve to save both? There's a timely surprise appearance by the author of the book she learned her detective skills from, as the some of the underlying motivations prove hard to bring to light.These books also have wonderful characters - Precious is insightful, unflappable, maternal and tradition-observing - chastising, for example, a company CEO for chewing a toothpick in front of an out-of-country guest. Her assistant, Grace Makutsi, is inordinately proud of her high score in secretarial college and finds shoe-buying difficult to resist, but also has her own keen instincts and is fiercely loyal. Precious's solid, reliable, common sense husband J.L.B Maketoni, his auto shop assistants, Grace's stutter-prone beloved Phuti and many others brighten the stories and become welcoming friends for the returning reader.
lynndp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book will not disappoint fans of Precious Ramotswe and the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (of whom I count myself an early member). If anything, they will be delighted to learn about the mysterious Clovis Anderson as well as further the stories of Grace Makutsi and her husband Phuti, the kind-hearted, hard-working Fanwell, and the here-to-fore indomitable Mma Potokwane, matron at the Orphans Farm. If you are unfamiliar with this series, this is the 13th book. Your enjoyment would be doubled by starting with the first (simply, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency) and count yourself lucky that you have so many wonderful hours ahead of you. One last recommendation: If you are off-put by the unfamiliar Botswana character names, please consider listening to the first book so that you will "hear" the names smoothly as you read the next ones.
tututhefirst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another wonderfully gentle and entertaining episode in the lives of Mma Precious Ramotswe, Mma Grace Makutsi, Mma Silvia Potokwane, Phuti Radiphuti, and the rest of the colorful, gracious and sometimes nefarious characters we've come to know and love in this series about life in Botswana.Those of you familiar with the series may think there's nothing new that can possibly to added to the adventures of the employees of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and their families, but the appearance of the hero of the ladies' endeavors, Clovis Anderson himself (author of the bible of private detection) and three separate problems makes this one a fresh and exciting read.  Grace and Phuti are building a house, Mma Potkwane is trying to keep from being fired as director of the orphans' home, and Mma Ramotswe is trying to prove that one of Mr. J.L.B. Matekone's workers does not deserve to be in jail.  With Mr. Anderson's help, they are able to bring everything to a suitable Botswana conclusion.These are well-written, classically crafted stories.  The mysteries are almost an afterthought.  McCall-Smith gives us characters who are so human, so devoted to goodness that they could become saccharine.  Instead, the author allows them to make mistakes, become depressed and discouraged, and exhibit some pompous behavior that could be hurtful to others.  Through it all, their dedication to maintaining the "Botswana way of life" brings us not just a good ending, but a feeling of wanting more.  If you haven't yet been to the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, grab one of these tranquil tellings of stimulating mystery stories and settle back for a feel good read.
arielfl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this series and all of the characters in it. I highly anticipate the latest installment every April. In this outing we have Mma Potokwane being removed from her position as matron of the orphan farm by a very bad man, Fanwell, Mr. J.L. B. Matekoni's apprentice has been arrested, and Grace and Phuti are having problems with the construction of their new house. Best of all, the famous author of the Principals of Private Detection, Clovis Anderson, arrives in Botswana! Of course evil is never allowed to triumph over good and Grace and Mma Ramotswe put all to right at the end with the aid of many cups of tea. The gems of wisdom in these books are so wonderful. For example Mma. Ramotswe advises Grace never repay rudeness with rudeness because it never teaches a rude person how to behave better. I may have to work on that one. The loving way marriage and family is portrayed is so refreshing too. These books reaffirm family values, kindness, and manners. I always look forward to a visit to the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.
mamzel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Precious Ramotswe and her associate detective, Grace Makutsi, have a small detective agency in Gabarone, Botswana. They are both married to hard-working and respectable men so life is good for them. They celebrate their good fortune by helping others who are not so fortunate. In this case, the director of the orphanage, Mma Potokwane is told that she is relieved of her duties. She objected to the orphanage's board of directors who decided to consolidate all of the small houses that shelter the orphans and make one large kitchen and dining facility. No more shall the wee ones run around the kitchen of their own house, watching their house mother fix their meals, steal a taste of dinner, and sit around a small table enjoying a real family-style meal. Now they must all share a large, impersonal hall. Mma Ramotswe and her husband are very connected with this orphanage. Rra J.L.B. Matekoni has always been available to help with repairs around the facility and after they married, they adopted two of the orphans. One of Rra Matekoni's apprentices got himself in a fix, too. He helped a friend repair a car that turned out to be stolen and managed to obtain a lawyer that must be the worst in the world.Mma Ramotswe also receives a visit from a very special person!No blood, no violence, no hi-tech toys. Just a heaping dose of traditional values, respect, attention to others, and lots of love.
addunn3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Three plots - house construction, stolen cars, and orphan matron on the outs. With Clovis Anderson, it has to be a good read!
OregonreaderGS More than 1 year ago
This is not the best one in the series - but time spent with Mma Ramotswe is always enjoyable and worthwhile!
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