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The Miracle At Speedy Motors (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) Hardcover – 3 Mar 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown; First Edition edition (3 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316030074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316030076
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 298,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world's most prolific and most popular authors. His career has been a varied one: for many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the United Kingdom and abroad. Then, after the publication of his highly successful 'No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series, which has sold over twenty million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty-six languages and become bestsellers through the world. These include the Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in The Scotsman, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, the Von Igelfeld series, and the Corduroy Mansions series, novels which started life as a delightful (but challenging to write) cross-media serial, written on the website of the Telegraph Media Group. This series won two major cross-media awards - Association of Online Publishers Digital Publishing Award 2009 for a Cross Media Project and the New Media Age award.

In addition to these series, Alexander writes stand-alone books. 2014 sees publication of three new novels which fall into this area: 'The Forever Girl'; 'Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party'; and 'Emma' - a reworking of the classic Jane Austen novel. This year there will also be a stunning book on Edinburgh, 'A Work of Beauty: Alexander McCall Smith's Edinburgh'. Earlier stand alone novels include 'La's Orchestra Saves the World' and 'Trains and Lovers: A Hearts Journey'.

Alexander is also the author of collections of short stories, academic works, and over thirty books for children. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the British Book Awards Author of the Year Award in 2004 and a CBE for service to literature in 2007. He holds honorary doctorates from nine universities in Europe and North America. In March of 2011 he received an award from the President of Botswana for his services through literature to that country.
Alexander McCall Smith lives in Edinburgh. He is married to a doctor and has two daughters.

Product Description


The books possess a beguiling simplicity that is hard to convey without making them seem fey, when in fact they are direct, vivid and down-to-earth ... what he achieves in his No.1 Ladies (Detective Agency novels is the depiction in the lives of his main characters of a benign system of morality - derived by Mma Ramotswe from the old-fashioned ways of doing things')

DAILY TELEGRAPH ('Nothing spoils [McCall Smith's] vision of Botswana as a place where decent people triumph over mischief-makers')

SUNDAY TIMES (** 'The writing is as fluent and gracious as ever, and charmingly conveys the practical wisdom of much of African life')

SUNDAY TELEGRAPH (** 'Written with the gentleness of its predecessors and with a charm that is quite exceptional in modern detective fiction')

Book Description

* The ninth book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series; Little, Brown are publishing in hardback

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 98 people found the following review helpful By S. Barnes on 5 Mar. 2008
Format: Hardcover
Fans of Alexander McCall Smith's 'Ladies Detective Agency' series are sure to enjoy this latest offering. I just love the series. The author has a talent for making you feel right at home in Gabarone, Botswana, with Mma Ramotswe, Mr J.L.P. Matekoni, Mma Makutsi and the other colourful characters in the novels. Crossing continents is not a problem as McCall Smith brings these characters to life in a wonderfully vivid way.

With touches of understated comic irony, this series are just a delightful light-hearted read. Watch out for the moral elements - Mma Ramotswe spends a lot of her time philosophising on life, and the good old days in particular when morals were better, young people were more polite, there was more respect in society and, of course, there were more 'traditionally built' women too!... but her moments of reflection just add to the charm of this series!

In 'The Miracle at Speedy Motors', Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi (newly promoted to 'Associate' Detective (!) have some detective work to deal with, including a nasty piece of malicious mail and a lady who has requested that the detectives find her some relatives... Mr J.L.B. Matekoni is hoping for a miracle; Mma Makutsi has some life crises of her own; Will Mma Makutsi and young Charlie, the apprentice finally see eye-to-eye?!; and we hear a bit more about Mma Ramotswe and Mr J. L. B. Matekoni's fostered children, Motholeli and Puso, in this book too. All-in-all you'll find here a few delightful hours of pure light-hearted entertainment.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Mar. 2008
Format: Hardcover
In this ninth novel in the Alexander McCall Smith series, Precious Ramotswe, the "traditionally built" proprietor of the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Gaborone, Botswana, receives a threatening letter: "Fat lady: you watch out! And you too, the one with the big glasses." Mma Ramotswe and her assistant, Grace Makutsi, of the big glasses, are startled by this letter, and Mma Ramotswe even begins to believe that she is being followed. As the two women deal with their business and their lives, the letter haunts them--it is so uncharacteristic of the gentle, sweet-spirited life of Botswana, a place where, in Mma Ramotswe's experience, almost any problem can be worked out over a cup of bush tea.

Continuing the stories of Mma Ramotswe and those around her, this novel, like its predecessors, contains a mystery or two, along with many episodes of daily life which develop the characters further, quietly teach a few lessons, and show how humor and polite behavior can improve even the worst of situations. The central mystery of the novel is uncomplicated. A woman has come to Mma Ramotswe because she believes that she is not the daughter of her late "mother," and she wants Mma Ramotswe to find her birth family.

Subplots galore keep the stories flowing. The fuss-budget-y Grace Makutsi, who is engaged to marry a wealthy furniture seller, picks out an elaborate bed which she and her husband will occupy after they are married. When she has it delivered to her house, the bed precipitates a disaster. At the same time, Mma Ramotswe begins to suspect that one of the employees of Speedy Motors, the auto repair shop run by her honest and honorable husband, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, is the author of the threatening letter. When Mr. J. L. B.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas J. R. Dougan VINE VOICE on 20 Mar. 2008
Format: Hardcover
In the ninth instalment of Alexander McCall Smith's excellent series, The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Mma Precious Ramotswe, owner of the only ladies' detective agency in Botswana (indeed, the only private detective agency there at all) continues, as she puts it, to solve the problems in people's lives. As ever, not so very much has changed in her world at the end of the book, but, on balance, people's lives have been made better, and often not in quite the way that Mma Ramotswe and the reader might have expected.

In "The Miracle at Speedy Motors" Mma Ramotswe, her associate detective Mma Makutsi and their occasional assistants deal with threatening letters, missing relatives and the good and bad consequences of the rainy season. Answering hatred with love is one of the themes that McCall Smith explores in the book. Initial results are mixed, but in the end Mma Ramotswe and McCall Smith convince us that it is a better strategy than the normal one. The miracles achieved are not the big one hoped for, but they make a difference all the same.

This is a gentle, life-affirming commentary on the human condition, written in a light and entertaining way. It's not crime fiction, it's not a thriller, but this book, the others in the series and indeed those other of McCall Smith's books that I have read are a welcome break from faster paced, or more overtly serious, reading. If you haven't read it yet, give it a try (though I'd start with the first in the series). If you have, then this is as good as any. Thoroughly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Jones TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 May 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have loved reading every one of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, including this latest offering. I sometimes find myself wondering how Alexander McCall Smith keeps up such a high standard book after book, but yet again he has delivered a masterpiece. The gentle philosphising of Mma Ramotswe is evocative of a way of life we would all like to have. The mysteries that she solves in some ways take a back seat to the life stories of the characters, but this does not in any way detract from the enjoyment. Precious and Mma Makutse continue to work well together despite their obvious differences and the exchanges between them are an entertainment in themselves. Despite this the agncy manages to always get their man, or woman, with not a hint of violence to be found. I have to admit I am on tenterhooks waiting for the marraige of mma Makutse I am so caught up in the lives of the characters. I would heartily recommend this book for all Alexander McCall Smith fans. However, if you have not read any others start with the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency.
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