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If you have not read The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, I strongly urge you to do so before reading Tears of the Giraffe. Otherwise, this beautiful novel will seem like a four star effort as you fail to appreciate and integrate the background of Precious Ramotswe into your thinking as it was described in the earlier book.
Tears of the Giraffe isn't so much a sequel as a continuation of the events in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. As that book ended, Mma Ramatswe accepted the proposal of Mr J.L.B. Matekoni. In Tears of the Giraffe, the couple decides in which of their houses they will live, picks out a ring and decides about having children. Each event has its unexpected twists . . . including an attempt by Mr Matekoni's maid to derail the marriage.
There is less happening at the detective agency than in the prior story. This book involves solving only two mysteries, a wandering wife and a missing son. Mma Ramatswe learns that her able secretary wants to become a detective, and the savvy head of the agency tries out Mma Makutsi's talents with encouraging results.
Both story lines focus on questions of right and wrong. As a prospective spouse, what are the right reactions to one's fiancé or fiancée? As a detective, how much may one do wrong to avoid greater wrongs? To one's community, what is owed? To one's employees, what opportunities should be opened? In each case, the suggestion is that all responsibilities must be borne . . . and borne bravely . . . but in a way that is tempered with love for one's fellow people.
As with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Africa itself plays a role stronger than any single character in defining what is thought and done. The strong and distinct atmosphere makes the book more enchanting to those who do not know Africa.
The story is strengthened by alternating narrators among many different characters and using lots of dialogue so that each part of the novel is vivid and varied. It's as though six or seven almost unconnected short stories were woven together into a seamless novel. It's an impressive accomplishment.
As I finished the book, I wondered how much better off we all would be if we each took a strong responsibility for all those we meet and touch.
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on 16 November 2016
I love the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency books. I used to watch the series a few years back and found it very entertaining. I came across the first book last week and read it within a few days so I ordered the second book straight away. Alexander McCall Smith is a great writer and is good and showing the perspectives of a woman. The investigations are serious but he makes me laugh out loud with his wordings. The characters have great personalities that all seem to go together. Can't wait to read the third book.
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on 4 December 2011
Given all the hype I was really looking forward to reading this book but was sorely disappointed.

I found the style of writing simplistic and condescending, rather than helping to build the picture of life in Botswana, I felt the author had little respect for the intelligence of the characters he has created.

Furthermore there's not much in the way of mystery and no overall plot - a few little problems and one missing child case, supposedly the main plotline, which makes a very minor appearance in about two chapters of the book.

Having said the above, I did like the main character, her personality is quite well defined by the end of the book but I don't think it is enough to make me read anything further by this author.
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on 22 September 2013
Beautifully written, charming sentiments, interesting setting giving me a new appreciation of African society. Completely hooked on the series now and working my way through - and very glad to hear at a recent talk by the author at Cheltenham Festival of Literature that he is contracted to add another new book to the series every year. Highly recommended for a great comfort read, soothing and life-enhancing at bedtime. A great discovery (even if I am a few years behind everyone else in making it!)
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on 24 June 2017
An easy read and very calming. I've never visited Botswana but these books make the place sound interesting.
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on 2 August 2017
Feel-good reading. Homespun philosophy
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on 1 August 2017
Arrived promptly, enjoying the book
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on 12 May 2017
Loved this series
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on 13 September 2017
Very goof indeed
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on 23 August 2017
Excellent read.
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