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95 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More delightful philosophising from Mma Ramotswe (Book 9 in the Series)
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...
Published on 5 Mar 2008 by S. Barnes

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as past books
I enjoyed the book but felt it lacked the humour of past books. i also felt the story line was not very good.
Published 4 months ago by Maria Paul


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95 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More delightful philosophising from Mma Ramotswe (Book 9 in the Series), 5 Mar 2008
By 
S. Barnes (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Answer hatred with love and little miracles come to pass, 20 Mar 2008
By 
Nicholas J. R. Dougan "Nick Dougan" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Some of our [country has vanished], maybe. But not the heart that beats right inside...That is still there.", 17 Mar 2008
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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. Matekoni meets a doctor who convinces him that their wheelchair-bound daughter Motholeli might be able to walk again, he will to stop at nothing--not even the doctor's enormous fee--to help her.

More a series of short episodes in the life of Mma Ramotswe than a mystery in the traditional sense, the novel creates a warm, feel-good atmosphere which provides a respite from the insistent realism of other contemporary detective stories. Ultimately, the "miracle" of Speedy Motors--and the "miracle" of this series--reveals itself, the ability to face whatever life dishes out with kindness and love. Escape reading of the highest order, the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency series features characters who feel familiar, make us love them, and inspire us to obey our best instincts. Mary Whipple
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Answer hatred with love and little miracles come to pass, 20 Mar 2008
By 
Nicholas J. R. Dougan "Nick Dougan" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry not Prose, 10 Mar 2008
By 
H. meiehofer "haroldm" (glasgow, scotland) - See all my reviews
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The latest in this series does exactly what fans will expect. It's funny. It's sad. And it leaves you with a feeling that the world is a slightly better place than when you started the book.

There is a profundity to Professor McCall-Smith's work, but it is a subtle profundity. He doesn't hit you over the head with his philosophy but rather uses his characters to envelop you in it.

I think most people could enrich their lives by reading these books
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle and Evocative, 5 May 2008
By 
Wendy Jones "wjones7423" (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prizes little-noticed, 8 Jun 2008
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
We're all familiar with the big miracles: the little child as sole survivor of an airplane crash or the earthquake victim pulled alive from rubble a week after the event. Precious Ramotswe, however, is sensitive to the other kind, the little miracles with long-term meaning for family affairs. Founder of The Number One Ladies Detective Agency of Gabarone, Botswana, Precious has been rather miraculous in her own right. She solves others' problems, counsels her colleague, Grace Makutsi. Precious has also has an ongoing miracle with her husband, Mr JLB Matekoni, owner of Speedy Motors on the Tlokweng Road. But all that good fortune, and the notoriety gained thereby, seems to have produced an enemy, who is sending her threatening letters.

McCall Smith's many volumes in this series has allowed him to fill and strengthen his regular characters, while introducing drop-ins who never fail to leave an impact. Charlie, Mr JLB Matekoni's shop apprentice is a fine example. Appearing regularly in a minor role, Charlie seems readily predictable: brash, self-centred and arrogant, he seems destined never to mature. Is he a candidate for things miraculous? McCall Smith's portrayals are the foundations around which these fine stories are constructed. This may well be the peak effort, a finely written and gripping tale of mystery and resolution.

Precious' skills as a detective are on full display here, as is her humanity. She faces a serious challenge from the letters. Tracking down their originator will be a daunting task. Is she up to facing a serious enemy? Woven into this story is a shift in Mr JLB Matekoni's relations with Precious. A sudden act of independence might lead to tragedy for the family and his workshop. Yet, because the act is one of deep humanity, Precious is unable to resist his desire to see if their crippled adopted daughter, Motholeli can be successfully treated. Grace Makutsi becomes caught up in a web of deceit and fabrications. Is the web so tight it may choke her engagement to Phuti Radiphuti, owner of the Double Comfort Furniture Shop?

One thing you may count on with McCall Smith is a reasonably happy ending. At least, there are no serious tragedies to cope with. This one is no different, except in the sense that "miracles" must be openly defined. That is, after all, how real life works. The author brings you to his conclusions with his usual grace and wit. Applying many depths to his stories and their protagonists, a McCall Smith can be taken up again with no regrets. This one is unquestionably one of those. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another delightful read from the number one ladies detective agency, 31 May 2008
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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A typically gentle tale by the author of The Number One Ladies Detective Agency. If you've never read them before I highly recommend starting with the first one. There is little in the way of what fans of crime fiction will think of as 'detecting' here. Instead we slow the pace and become embroiled in the lives of Mma Ramotswe, her assistant Mma Makutsi and a whole host of supporting extras. The story moves on in tiny increments through each volume and if you haven't followed it from the first it can be hard to immerse yourself in what at first seems like such a slow pace.

Once you gear down into the Botswana way of doing things you will find these books charming, entertaining and at times profound.

Mma Ramotswe relies on the detective's bible by Clovis Anderson and copious pots of redbush tea to see her through the ins and outs of the problems people bring her. She becomes entangled with tracing the relatives of an orphan, discovering the author of some poison pen letters and helping Mma Makutsi deal with the trauma of a ruined marital bed. In the meantime, Mr. J.L.B Matekoni thinks he may have found a miracle to help him cure their adopted daughter Motholeli.

A lovely, thoughtful and delightful read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heart-Warming Vignettes About Caring for One Another, 2 May 2008
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
My favorite books in this series are filled with authentic stories of Africa and her people. As the series has developed, it's often reading more like people anywhere rather than Africans.

The Miracle at Speedy Motors examines the themes of marital love, parental responsibility, honesty, jealousy, commitment, bonding, handling mistakes, and friendship. In keeping with the detective focus of the series, there are cases to be solved. A woman wants to find an unidentified person. Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi receive threatening letters. A landlord wants to get rid of a tenant.

The focus of the book, however, is on the relationships among the continuing characters, especially Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and Mma Ramotswe, Mr. Phuti Radiphuti and Mma Makutsi, Mma Ramotswe and Mr. Polopetsi, and Mma Makutsi and Charlie in the garage. You also get to read more about Mma Potokwane and Motholeli than in most of the other books.

What made the book special to me were the heart-felt commitments that some of the characters made towards doing the right thing, no matter what. Alexander McCall Smith loves people and when he expresses that love through his characters it feels great just to be alive.

I found Mma Makutsi more annoying than usual in this book, and not nearly as funny in her foolish scenes. Otherwise, I would have graded the book at five stars. I hope that the next book will focus more on Precious and her family.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars yet again truly amazing, 27 July 2008
By 
H. R. Thompson "Helen" (South Australia) - See all my reviews
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I loved this recent book. I always love reading about the adventrues of Mme Ramstowe. This particular book was amazing as her well loved husband got involved in an adventure with their adopted daughter, which turned out in the end although it was not what we all expected to happen. Alexander your ability to keep writing quality books on the same theme is truly amazing. I love your books. I am waiting to read the new 44 Scotland addtion and I will write a review on that one to.
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The Miracle At Speedy Motors (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency)
The Miracle At Speedy Motors (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) by Alexander McCall Smith (Paperback - 5 Feb 2009)
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