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In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency)

4.5 out of 5 stars 161 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B0030C89Y4
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (161 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,850,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I got this book yesterday, having pre-ordered it, and have already read it. That's some measure of how much I have enjoyed this series and what a pleasure it has been to renew my acquaintance with some of the most endearingly human characters in contemporary fiction. I understand that Michael Ondaatje has set up a new prize for books which particularly evoke a sense of place and I must say I haven't read may writers that give a better flavour of a particular landscape, history and culture. The new book is no exception to this. Botswana - not somewhere I knew much about before - really comes alive: the light, the smells, the courtesy of the people and their hopes and anxieties. It is not often that I laugh aloud at a book, and even less often do I have a tear in my eye, but this one managed both. To write so simply, humorously and movingly about essentially decent human beings is a rare gift. Alexander McCall Smith has certainly enriched my life with this series.
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Format: Hardcover
Mma Ramotswe, the lady detective with a 'traditional' figure, continues to enchant and reward In the Company of Cheerful Ladies. I had worried McCall Smith might begin to run out of steam, or at least material, but this is definitely one of the strongest books in an enchanting series. The pleasure I get from reading these gently seductive books is unrivalled - the world of Precious Ramotswe and JLB Maketoni is entirely beguiling and wholly persuasive. I've become somewhat evangelical on the subject and keep pressing the books onto sundry passers-by and relatives with birthdays. If any of you are newcomers to the series - go back to the start and read them all.
Lovely, lovely, lovely.
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By Claretta VINE VOICE on 8 Dec. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I've read all the Ladies' Detective Agency books, and enjoyed them all, but I agree with the reviewers who thought this was the best one so far. The writing seems to me to be more assured, the characters more rounded, and the plotting more convincing. All in all, a delight - I just wish the book had been twice as long! I do hope it isn't the last in the series as two new characters have been introduced, plus there are the orphans ... would love to know more about them. Keep writing, Mr McCall Smith!
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By A Customer on 27 Sept. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Thank you to Alexander McCall Smith, this was well worth the wait. Rather than losing steam this book gathers a momentum only matched by the very first in the series (which got me hooked). Every chapter takes you to another level and the author manages to do this without keeping you in painful suspense. Almost as if you just happen upon it and then you are so glad you did. I'll say no more. You must read it for yourself. What an ending!! I thought all the great books had been written, and now here I am pining for more. Mr Smith, don't let me wait too long for the next one please.
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Format: Hardcover
This is by far the best of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective series. As with the others, the author paints a warm portrait of the Botswanan people, often with insightful yet humorous observations.
In this book Mma Makutsi exerts more individual traits, such as insisting on drinking "ordinary tea" rather than bush tea, and questioning Mma Ramotswe's quotes from her father or other famous politicians. But she also puts to use the detective traits and psychology that she has learned from Mma Ramotswe to solve a problem or two. In this regard she also resolves a difficult situation by following Mma Ramotswe's way of dealing with it.
In this book, Mma Ramotswe encounters some mysteries and a not-so-small problem surrounding herself. When the latter happens, she gets affected by it and so does her better judgement. Can she resolve this by herself?
Other old friends appear as well: Mma Potokwane, Rra Matekoni, the adopted children, and the apprentices. Mma Potokwane is portrayed as a wise and determined matron whose pushiness serves not herself but the orphans. This has put her in considerable better light than in the previous books. (Or may be I'm more accustomed to her ways?)
This is the quintessential book of the series. The author weaves his observation of human failings as well as the essential goodness through the various characters. It portrays Botswana with its traditional values and those inevitable as the country changes through modernization and global economy.
I like the way the book ends, which wraps up many threads. But I fear also that this may be the end of the series. I hope this isn't the case, as I've come to view Mma Ramotswe and those around her as friends I've come to know and love.
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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
The Full Cupboard of Life is the fifth book in the series that features Mma Precious Ramotswe as the owner of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana. The story features Precious, Mr J.L.B. Maketoni (her fiancé), Mma Makutsi (her assistant and the assistant manager of Mr Maketoni's garage), and Mma Potokwame (the matron of the orphan farm where Mr Maketoni helps out).
If you have not read any books in the series, I suggest that you look instead to begin with the first one (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) and work your way through them in the order of their publication (Tears of the Giraffe, Morality for Beautiful Girls, and The Kalahari Typing School for Men). All of those books are better than this one, and provide helpful context for The Full Cupboard of Life.
The Full Cupboard for Life has one detective case in it. Mma Holonga is a successful entrepreneur who has developed a number of beauty parlors for braiding hair in interesting ways and also has created a special formula for treating the hair for braiding. At 40, she realizes that she lacks a husband and child . . . and decides to at least find a husband. But she doesn't want one who is after her money! So she hires Precious to check out her four suitors, beginning with the one she likes best. The case is delicate because Precious is well known in Botswana as a detective, and must avoid having the suitors realize that she is checking them out for Mma Holonga.
Most of the book, however, focuses on the personal lives of the others. Precious finally asks her fiancé when they will marry, and he answers that it will be a year or two before he can save the money for a large wedding. When she offers to sell some cattle to hasten the happy day, he declines her offer. When will they ever marry?
Read more ›
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