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on 9 September 2016
I have bought the whole series of the No 1 Ladies detective agency not only in hard back but also for my Kindle, I will read them again and again. They are so funny and true to life, you really are not aware that the Author is a white man, the voice is of the ladies and gentlemen of Botswana, a real treat for a good read. I have also recommended these to my friends, most of whom love the series as well!
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on 14 May 2017
Another very enjoyable tale of life in Botswana
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on 13 August 2017
as always - brilliant
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on 31 May 2017
Excellent read
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on 7 April 2016
Just love series you can pick up and put down great airport reading
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on 22 April 2017
Familiar and simple if only real life could be this easy with suck with deeply warm and genuine characters
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on 8 March 2010
Our favourite novelist has done it again - another magnificent Ramotswe novel. Seldom is no.2 as good as no.1, but in this case no.11 is as good as the previous ten, and all the wonderful cast of characters whom we have come to love are back and with as much enjoyment as ever.
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Precious Ramotswe has several interesting cases to deal with in this latest story from Botswana. There is her friend the midwife who wonders whether her husband is having an affair; the unexpected commission from America which involves her going to a safari camp to track down a guide; and her own assistant Grace Makutsi has a problem when her fiancé is injured.

As usual, common sense and old fashioned values are essential in solving the various problems. In between interesting observations on human nature Precious reflects on the beauty of her own country and the way the old fashioned values still prevail with most people. Even in her husband's garage business the unruly apprentices are calming down as they get older and more experienced at their jobs.

I love the gentle humour of this series and the way Mma Ramotswe triumphs in the end through sheer perseverance and good humour and how she steers her prickly assistant in the right direction without offending her. There are lessons for all of us in this low key novel. Very enjoyable.
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"Traditionally built," and focused on the traditional values of Gaborone, Botswana, where she runs the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Mma Precious Ramotswe is genuinely "nice"-always believing in the goodness inherent in even the most challenging adversary, sympathetic without being a pushover, and thoughtful and intuitive in sniffing out the motives of her clients. As relaxed and considerate as the society she appears to represent, Mma Ramotswe believes that almost any problem can be made better if it is discussed over a cup of bush tea. In this novel, the twelfth in the series, Mma Ramotswe continues to rely on her understanding of human nature and her ability to communicate to solve her clients' problems.

She also relies on her coterie of friends and acquaintances-Mma Grace Makutsi, her homely assistant, still not married to furniture store owner Phuti Radiphuti; Mr. Polopetsi, the "unqualified assistant" to her mechanic husband Mr. J. L. B. Matekone; and Mma Potokwami, the demanding woman who runs the orphan farm, where Mma Ramotswe's adopted children once lived. Once again, too, Violet Sephotho, the one character for whom it is difficult to find redeeming qualities, is creating serious problems by bewitching gullible men.

Four revolving plot lines keep the reader involved and often amused: Mma Ramotswe's husband suspects that one of his customers may be having an affair, but before long, that same woman appears in Mma Ramotswe's office, wanting help because she believes that her husband may be unfaithful. While this story is unfolding, Mma Ramotswe receives a letter from a lawyer in the US, telling her that an elderly woman who had been on a safari to the Okavango delta four years ago is now "late," and that she has left a sizable inheritance to an unknown camp guide. He asks Mma Ramotswe to find the guide, a job that requires Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi to take a trip to the delta for the first time. The trip is a welcome relief for Mma Grace Makutsi whose fiance, Phuti Radiphuti, has had a serious accident, and whose aunt refuses to let Grace see him. In the final plot line, still another new client appears at the agency, seeking help in rebuilding his life after an encounter with Violet Sephotho.

Filled with colorful detail about life in Botswana and even more colorful detail about life in the Okavango delta, the novel retains the warm and endearing charm of all the previous novels, even as the repeating characters continue to develop. Author Alexander McCall Smith has ultimately created an entire community in Gaborone, one which seems somehow familiar, despite its differences from our own lives. The coziest of "cozy" mysteries, this novel, like its predecessors will make lovers of this series feel as if they are "going home" again. Mary Whipple

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In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency)
The World According to Bertie: A 44 Scotland Street Novel
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VINE VOICEon 24 March 2010
After being a little disappointed by "Tea-time for the traditionally built", I was hoping the 11th helping of the No. 1 Ladies would be more to my liking, and on the whole I was not disappointed. I especially enjoyed the first few chapters - as the thoughts of Mr J.L.B. Matekoni feature strongly, and then there is an accident which makes the tone a little darker than it sometimes is. As usual Alexander McCall Smith manages to make minor incidents a prelude to some entertaining Botswanan philosophy, such as Mma Ramotswe's reception of Grace's suggestion that they should exchange the teapots used for brewing the ordinary and red-bush tea. Later on Grace manages to wangle a pair of boots on expenses, which I thought was probably an oblique comment on recent shenanigans in Westminster, but which Precious puts up with with her usual good humour. I suspect that in the next episode Grace will finally get to marry Phuti, as in this one she has to fight to keep (or rather regain) her man, not with Violet, but with an Aunt who has taken agin her and is clearly hoping to prevent the marriage. Grace does have another run-in with Violet however.

Taken as a whole I've no hesitation in giving the series 5 stars, but by now I'm perhaps a little used to the style of the books to give any particular episode 5 stars. And I did feel short-changed on a couple of occasions, when strokes of good very good fortune enable Mma Ramotswe to resolve cases satisfactorily. There were some intriguing loose ends however, for example we learn that the late-lamented little white van has gone to a "natural mechanic" in the north of Botswana so perhaps it may yet return, so I shall no doubt be looking out for the next and perhaps final instalment.
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