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Tea Time for the Traditionally Built: A No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel [Paperback]

Alexander McCall Smith
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Mar 2010 No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Fans around the world adore the bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, the basis of the HBO TV show, and its proprietor Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s premier lady detective.  In this charming series, Mma  Ramotswe navigates her cases and her personal life with wisdom, and good humor—not to mention help from her loyal assistant, Grace Makutsi, and the occasional cup of tea. 

In this latest installment in the endlessly entertaining series, Precious Ramotswe faces problems both personal and professional.
The first is the potential demise of an old friend, her tiny white van. Recently, it has developed a rather troubling knock, but she dare not consult the estimable Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni for fear he may condemn the vehicle.  Meanwhile, her talented assistant Mma Makutsi is plagued by the reappearance of her nemesis, Violet Sephotho, who has taken a job at the Double Comfort Furniture store whose proprietor is none other than Phuti Radiphuti, Mma Makutsi’s fiancé.  Finally, the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency has been hired to explain the unexpected losing streak of a local football club, the Kalahari Swoopers.  But with Mma Ramotswe on the case, it seems certain that everything will be resolved satisfactorily.

Product details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Books; Reprint edition (9 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030727747X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307277473
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.5 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,523,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Following a distinguished career as a Professor of Medical Law, Alexander McCall Smith has turned to writing full-time. He is the author of over sixty books on a wide array of subjects, and his books have been translated into forty-two languages. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife.

Product Description


* 'Adjoa Andoh reads like a dream' GUARDIAN *'[Adjoa Andoh's] melodious tones befit these heartwarming tales and she does a fantastis job of creating identifiable voices for each character' FT MAGAZINE --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

* Mma Ramotswe's tenth adventure; published in Abacus paperback --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
141 of 142 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alexander McCall Smith delivers again 2 Mar 2009
By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER
Occasionally I can't sleep because I lie in bed worrying. This always bemuses my husband, who usually offers well intentioned but essentially useless 2am advice like "think nice thoughts". Better advice would be to pick up one of the books in the "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series. They are "warm fuzzy" reading, set in a dreamlike Botswana where the sun always shines, people have plenty of time to talk to one another and nothing gets in the way of a good cup of tea.

This is the 10th book in this delightful series. If you are new to it, count yourself lucky at the treats that you have in store, but be aware that it is best to read the books in order. (Apparently Alexander McCall Smith is contracted to write 14, so there will be more). The title refers to Mma Ramotswe, with her love of tea and her pride in her large build which some may call fat, but which she prefers to refer to as "traditionally built". While Mma Ramotswe is the central heroine, McCall Smith is now juggling a large and disparate cast of characters, each with their own dramas. Essentially this series is a soap opera - while ostensibly about a private detective, the mysteries are only a small part of the books. I was lucky enough to see Alexander McCall Smith talking about this book and he cheerfully said that he takes pride in the fact that nothing happens in his books, being of the view that there is quite enough happening in the world without authors adding to it.

Of course saying that nothing happens is an exaggeration. In this instalment, Mma Ramotswe's tiny white van has finally broken down, seemingly for good. Meanwhile Charlie the apprentice is dealing with a young lady who is claiming that her baby is his responsibility.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
The tenth book in a series which shows no signs of slowing down or becoming dull or tired. Once more Mma Precious Ramotswe, a 'traditionally built' [i.e. large] lady who loves tea [and donuts] with her assistant, Mma Grace "97%" Makutsi, are required to do some private investigation [this time for the manager of a football team that is now continually losing], and on the way we find out about love ["There is plenty of work for love to do" as Bishop Mwamba says in a conversation with Mma Ramotswe], life and the transcience of all things -- and yet hope and goodness does spring eternal.
While the pace is slow in these books, which may frustrate some, I find it calming and enjoyable; while issues such as AIDS are mentioned and brought to attention, the overall theme of these books, in which the investigations do play second-fiddle, is on the general goodness of people and the joy of life. This is a worthy addition to a series I can read over and over again and enjoy more and more each time.
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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "There is plenty of work for love to do" 27 Feb 2009
By Nicholas J. R. Dougan TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
So says Bishop Trevor Mwamba, while drinking tea and discussing the end of the world with lady detective Precious Ramotswe. These thoughts about the transience of all things are triggered by Mma Ramotswe's much loved but ailing "little white van", which reaches the end of the road, or more literally, the scrap yard, to be replaced by a larger, more comfortable but less lovable, blue one. In this, the tenth instalment of Alexander McCall Smith's excellent series, The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Mma Ramotswe continues to drink much redbush tea, which probably doesn't accentuate her traditional build, but she doubles her weekly consumption of doughnuts, which probably does. Her new resolution to walk to work lasts for only a short time - and a couple of blisters - as all such resolutions are wont to do.

We meet all the old characters - Mma Ramotse's strident assistant, Mma Makutsi, her mechanic husband Mr J. L. B. Matekoni, and his apprentice lazy Charlie. We are properly introduced to Fanwell, hitherto known only as "the younger apprentice", and through him McCall Smith reminds us of the ravages that AIDS has inflicted on Botswana, the one melancholy theme of the series.

The agency's major case involves an investigation into the underperformance of the football team, the Kalahari Swoopers, which give the detectives many opportunities to contemplate the differences between the sexes. As usual, Mma Ramotswe arrives at a solution that should improve the world a little. The same cannot be said of the lady detectives' encounter with Mma Makutsi's old enemy, Violet Sephotho, but with the assistance of Charlie and his lady-killing skills, she is at least seen off from her attempted seduction of the former's fiancé, Phuti Radiphuti.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tea Time for Traditionally Built Ladies 4 April 2009
When I read the very first book in this series I passed it on to my daughter who asked, "What is it about?" errrr nothing really. "Well what happens in it?" errrr nothing much really. I had to persuade her to read it and of course she loved it. Now I can't even wait for them to come out it paperback. I splash out on the hardback, but it is well worth it as there is now a list of five people waiting for it to passed around them.
Now if I was to be asked, "What is it about?" I think I would answer that it is about behaving in a kind and thoughful manner; It is about good manners and politeness; It is about a sensible pace of life and a grasp of what really matters; it is a rest in a busy day and step into a better world for a while, and bringing some of that world back into day to day life once the pages have all been turned.
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