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The Kalahari Typing School for Men

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An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here. Life is never without its problems. Will Precious Ramotswe’s delightfully cunning and profoundly moral methods save the day? Find out in this, the fourth volume in the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series featuring Botswana's first and only lady detective. Now that The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (the only detec An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here. Life is never without its problems. Will Precious Ramotswe’s delightfully cunning and profoundly moral methods save the day? Find out in this, the fourth volume in the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series featuring Botswana's first and only lady detective. Now that The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (the only detective agency for ladies and others in Botswana) is established, its founder, Precious Ramotswe, can look upon her life with pride: she’s reached her late thirties ("the finest age to be"), has a house, two children, a good fiancé -- Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni -- and many satisfied customers. But life is never without its problems. It turns out that her adopted son is responsible for the dead hoopoe bird in the garden; her assistant, Mma Makutsi, wants a husband and needs help with her idea to open the Kalahari Typing School for Men; yet Mma Ramotswe’s sexist rival has no trouble opening his Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency across town. Will Precious Ramotswe’s delightfully cunning and profoundly moral methods save the day? Follow the continuing story of Botswana’s first lady detective in the irresistible The Kalahari Typing School for Men.


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An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here. Life is never without its problems. Will Precious Ramotswe’s delightfully cunning and profoundly moral methods save the day? Find out in this, the fourth volume in the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series featuring Botswana's first and only lady detective. Now that The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (the only detec An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here. Life is never without its problems. Will Precious Ramotswe’s delightfully cunning and profoundly moral methods save the day? Find out in this, the fourth volume in the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series featuring Botswana's first and only lady detective. Now that The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (the only detective agency for ladies and others in Botswana) is established, its founder, Precious Ramotswe, can look upon her life with pride: she’s reached her late thirties ("the finest age to be"), has a house, two children, a good fiancé -- Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni -- and many satisfied customers. But life is never without its problems. It turns out that her adopted son is responsible for the dead hoopoe bird in the garden; her assistant, Mma Makutsi, wants a husband and needs help with her idea to open the Kalahari Typing School for Men; yet Mma Ramotswe’s sexist rival has no trouble opening his Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency across town. Will Precious Ramotswe’s delightfully cunning and profoundly moral methods save the day? Follow the continuing story of Botswana’s first lady detective in the irresistible The Kalahari Typing School for Men.

30 review for The Kalahari Typing School for Men

  1. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    Alexander McCall Smith - image from famousauthors.org Guilt is the subject here. The theme is threaded throughout. The primary client of the book is a mister Molefelo, a hotelier and ostrich farmer. He had committed a crime as a youth and wishes to atone for his sins. Precious helps him of course. Mma Makutsi acquires a beau, Mister Seleliping. She also attempts to begin a new business, and does, the typing school of the title. The detective agency gains competition in the form of a male-run ent Alexander McCall Smith - image from famousauthors.org Guilt is the subject here. The theme is threaded throughout. The primary client of the book is a mister Molefelo, a hotelier and ostrich farmer. He had committed a crime as a youth and wishes to atone for his sins. Precious helps him of course. Mma Makutsi acquires a beau, Mister Seleliping. She also attempts to begin a new business, and does, the typing school of the title. The detective agency gains competition in the form of a male-run enterprise managed by a very pompous individual. Jill Scott as Precious Ramotswe - Image from BBC This is the usual comfortable tale told in the usual manner. Smith maintains his high standard. The cast of characters has come to seem familial. We wonder at Mister Maketoni’s recovery from depression. What was it all about? Will Makatsi every have a true boyfriend? Will she become rich beyond all her dreams? Will Precious ever get married to Maketoni? Anika Noni Rose as Grace Makutsi - image from HBO If you are new to the series. I would stop, go back and read The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. It makes a difference seeing the characters develop over time. The books are short, so it will not take much time to get caught up. And if you can, I would definitely check out the HBO series. It is a true shame that the series was killed after only six episodes. Those shows are precious indeed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Writerlibrarian

    Fourth installment in this amazing series. You don't read Mma Ramotswe novels for the action or even for the mysteries. You read them for the gentle rhythm of the narration, the wise philosophy of the characters. In this we rejoin Mma Ramostwe as she waits for her fiancée to set a date for their wedding after his illness. Mr Matekoni is slowly coming out of depression and finds his motor repair shop in the good hands of Mma Makutsi who shares her time between the detective agency and the auto re Fourth installment in this amazing series. You don't read Mma Ramotswe novels for the action or even for the mysteries. You read them for the gentle rhythm of the narration, the wise philosophy of the characters. In this we rejoin Mma Ramostwe as she waits for her fiancée to set a date for their wedding after his illness. Mr Matekoni is slowly coming out of depression and finds his motor repair shop in the good hands of Mma Makutsi who shares her time between the detective agency and the auto repair shop. The joy of these novels is the intimate view of how the characters live, their values, how they set goals for themselves and go after them. Mma Makutsi finds a way to get ahead and make a life for herself beyond the limits of her current situation : single, with a sick brother to take care of and very low income. Mma Ramotswe faces competition with the opening of a new detective agency run by a male detective with international experience. Everything ends well, despite some minor moral growing pains. I like the philosophy, the values McCall Smith projects thru his characters in this simple, yet very nourishing for the soul, series.

  3. 5 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    4★ “‘Ex-CID,’ said Mma. Ramotswe. ‘A retired policeman then. That is not good news for us. People will love the idea of taking their problems to a retired policeman.’ ‘And ex-New York,’ said Mma. Makutsi admiringly. ‘That will impress people a great deal. They have seen films about New York detectives and they know how good they are.’ Mma. Ramotswe cast a glance at Mma. Makutsi. ‘Do you mean Superman?’ she asked. ‘Yes,’ said Mma. Makutsi. ‘That sort of thing. Superman.’” Oh dear! Competition. And i 4★ “‘Ex-CID,’ said Mma. Ramotswe. ‘A retired policeman then. That is not good news for us. People will love the idea of taking their problems to a retired policeman.’ ‘And ex-New York,’ said Mma. Makutsi admiringly. ‘That will impress people a great deal. They have seen films about New York detectives and they know how good they are.’ Mma. Ramotswe cast a glance at Mma. Makutsi. ‘Do you mean Superman?’ she asked. ‘Yes,’ said Mma. Makutsi. ‘That sort of thing. Superman.’” Oh dear! Competition. And in the form of a pushy, patronising man, but certainly no Superman. They decide to pay him a visit. “‘We’ll go in and introduce ourselves,’ said Mma. Ramotswe. ‘I can see somebody inside. They are already at work.’ ‘On some big important case,’ observed Mma. Makutsi ruefully. ‘Perhaps,’ said Mma. Ramotswe. ‘But then again, perhaps not. When people drive past the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and see us inside, they may think that we’re working on a big important case. Yet most of the time, as you know, we are only sitting there drinking bush tea and reading the ‘Botswana Daily News’. So you see that appearances can be deceptive.’” These are simply written, often fable-like stories about a “traditionally built” (her words) woman “in her late thirties, which as far as she was concerned was the very finest age to be”, who has a warm heart, an open mind, and a lively intellect. Precious Ramotswe founded the #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, hired Mma. Makutsi as her assistant, and has now acquired a fiancé (Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, the owner of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors and boss of two young apprentices), plus two orphans to foster. A crowded, extended ‘family’ for whom she feels responsible. Mma. Makutsi also wishes to find a life for herself. After all, she was the star graduate of the Botswana Secretarial College, with a 97% score - nothing to be sneezed at! This leads to her starting a typing school and finding a rather sudden influx of men in her life, one in particular whom she mentions to her boss. “‘He is a very handsome man. With a moustache. He has a moustache and his hair is parted in the middle.’ ‘And have you been out dancing with him? Men with moustaches can be good dancers.’” Is there anything about which Mma. Ramotswe does not have some knowledge? Meanwhile, there are people to be tracked down and problems to be solved, if they are to stay ahead of their new rival. If Mma. Ramotswe doesn’t know someone, she will know someone who does. “. . . it was hard to disappear completely in Botswana, where there were fewer than two million people and where people had a healthy curiosity as to who was who and where people had come from.” I always enjoy the different speech patterns and flow of language in these stories. It is unlike the English I am accustomed to, and the bits of background the author gives us add to the atmosphere. Mma. Ramotswe is frightened of the forest near where she lives, but she’s fond of the place overall. I liked how she thought of the area behind her house. “. . . the tangle of bush—stunted thorn trees, high grass, and sundry shrubs—which overgrew the back section of her plot. Behind it was a small stretch of wasteland, also overgrown, across which an informal path wound its way. People liked to use this as a shortcut to town, and in the morning one might hear whistling or singing from men on bicycles as they rode along the path. Babies were conceived here, too, especially on Saturday evenings, and Mma. Ramotswe had often thought that at least some of the children whom she saw playing games there had been drawn back by some strange homing instinct to revisit the place where they had started out.” Life coming full circle? I also got a kick out of another of her thoughts. “Why is it that there are always these problems and misunderstandings between men and women? Surely it would have been better if God had made only one sort of person, and the children had come by some other means, with the rain, perhaps.” Or the stork? Or under a cabbage? These are always reliably entertaining stories, thought-provoking and nudging you a little to think about what life is like in other places. I don’t know that they have to be read in order, but I think reading the first couple of books would be helpful. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Link to my review of #1 Tears of the Giraffe Link to my review of #2 Morality for Beautiful Girls Link to my review of #3

  4. 5 out of 5

    abby

    Reading a book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series is like catching up with old friends. Mma Ramotswe is still proud to be a traditionally-built woman living in the greatest country in Africa, if not the world. Her assistant, Mma Makutsi, reminds anyone who will listen that she scored a 97 at her typing school and laments that prettier girls get the best jobs. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni finally stands up to the mistress of the orphan home-- by agreeing to fix more things for free. Then there ar Reading a book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series is like catching up with old friends. Mma Ramotswe is still proud to be a traditionally-built woman living in the greatest country in Africa, if not the world. Her assistant, Mma Makutsi, reminds anyone who will listen that she scored a 97 at her typing school and laments that prettier girls get the best jobs. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni finally stands up to the mistress of the orphan home-- by agreeing to fix more things for free. Then there are the mysteries, which are almost besides the point, but of course Mma Ramotswe continues to use savvy and good judgment, showing mercy whenever applicable. The rest of the series has shown snippets of sexism in the past, with Ramotswe often "observing" that men are overgrown boys incapable of, well, everything, frankly, but McCall Smith ratchets it up a notch in this installment. Even so, I found this book an improvement over the last in the series. These books continue to be gentle, friendly, white noise for me, and I'll keep reading.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    These books drive me crazy, but instead of talking about what I don't like about them, I want to say what I do like. I keep reading them for some reason, so I think it is about time I figure out why. The first reason is that the author, clearly, has an affection for Botswana. He describes cattle in a way that makes me want to love cows. He describes a desert in way that makes me want to vacation there. The second is that I can appreciate a book that isn't in a hurry, I read a lot of action/adventu These books drive me crazy, but instead of talking about what I don't like about them, I want to say what I do like. I keep reading them for some reason, so I think it is about time I figure out why. The first reason is that the author, clearly, has an affection for Botswana. He describes cattle in a way that makes me want to love cows. He describes a desert in way that makes me want to vacation there. The second is that I can appreciate a book that isn't in a hurry, I read a lot of action/adventure books, so I like the way this book takes its time and concentrates on human interaction, but still respects the fact that there is a plot to developed. There are many books in this series, so I'll discuss what I don't like, next time.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    ***Fourth read*** I'll never stop reading this series. 😀 ***Third read*** I can't get enough of this series. Every time, they just get better. The audio performance by Lisette Lecat is just perfect, in every way, and since I listen more than read, I enjoy her performance as much as the words. Please, please listen to this series. Most libraries offer the downloads for free. I highly recommend them. I'm so glad this series stands up well to rereads, as I love them all so much. 💙 ****Second read**** 4. ***Fourth read*** I'll never stop reading this series. 😀 ***Third read*** I can't get enough of this series. Every time, they just get better. The audio performance by Lisette Lecat is just perfect, in every way, and since I listen more than read, I enjoy her performance as much as the words. Please, please listen to this series. Most libraries offer the downloads for free. I highly recommend them. I'm so glad this series stands up well to rereads, as I love them all so much. 💙 ****Second read**** 4.25 stars. This is a wonderful series I thoroughly enjoy reading. AMS's humor is all over these books, and I'm always chuckling as I'm reading or listening. These characters are real, and for the most part, they are kind people. The community sticks together and helps each other. It's just what you do, and not even thought of as being especially anything other than human to do for others. This is a series to read when you want to have faith in humankind, when you want to smile, when you want to read about a simpler place and time. Mma Ramotswe is just priceless; we all need to have a Mma Ramotswe or two in our lives. I want to once again thank Mr. Alexander McCall Smith for sharing his wisdom, sense of humor, kindness and humanity, as well as his love for Botswana with the world. The world is a better place because of this man and his novels. Thank you, sir. ****First read review**** 4.5 stars. I love this series so much. In my opinion, it's the best series currently being written. Nothing earthshaking going on, but it's about people who try to do the best they can all the time to help one another. And it can be pretty funny too. And not at all crude or off-color, but not sickening sweet either. I just love it! I can see why it's internationally loved.

  7. 5 out of 5

    James

    A delightfully gentle series of books by Alexander McCall Smith - set in and around Botswana's capital city of Gaborone and stories of the 'No.1 Ladies Detective Agency'. McCall Smith has created a lovely world of mainly (very) amateurish sleuthing - which whilst ostensibly the theme which is central to these books, is ultimately almost incidental. The main draw here is the cast of well drawn, well written, very memorable and on the whole very endearing (if occasionally frustrating) characters - A delightfully gentle series of books by Alexander McCall Smith - set in and around Botswana's capital city of Gaborone and stories of the 'No.1 Ladies Detective Agency'. McCall Smith has created a lovely world of mainly (very) amateurish sleuthing - which whilst ostensibly the theme which is central to these books, is ultimately almost incidental. The main draw here is the cast of well drawn, well written, very memorable and on the whole very endearing (if occasionally frustrating) characters - Precious Ramostwe, Grace Makutsi, J.L.B. Matekoni et al and the interplay of their lives - the detective work and cases here become increasingly an incidental backdrop. The 'No.1 Ladies Detective Agency' stories and characters certainly have an air of authenticity and believability (although obviously contrived and significantly exaggerated for comic effect) and interestingly McCall Smith did spend some time living and working in Botswana. The first few books in the series are undoubtedly the strongest, funniest, most entertaining and compelling. Whilst later installments are all good - they do feel like somewhat of retread of ideas that McCall has spun out perhaps beyond their natural course. Whilst serious themes are alluded to - feminism, AIDS and domestic violence; there is little here that is particularly thought provoking or challenging - but then that's not the point here. For anyone wanting a series of light, likeable, entertaining, funny, absorbing, well written and compelling amateur detective books - with a difference, then the 'No.1 Ladies Detective Agency' books are a must. Good stories, simple truths - people doing the right thing. Ultimately these stories are all about kindness, forgiveness, restitution and resolution. Which in itself is surely a good enough reason to read at least some of this lovely series of books?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda

    Just as with all the other books in the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series, this one evokes a clear sense of place and characters. Simply put, it makes me want to be in Botswana right now. One of the things I like best about Alexander McCall Smith's writing is the way he develops his characters through their lives and actions and not much in the way of a narrator's analysis. The author seems to feel a great deal of affection for his characters even when they make unwise choices. These books ar Just as with all the other books in the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series, this one evokes a clear sense of place and characters. Simply put, it makes me want to be in Botswana right now. One of the things I like best about Alexander McCall Smith's writing is the way he develops his characters through their lives and actions and not much in the way of a narrator's analysis. The author seems to feel a great deal of affection for his characters even when they make unwise choices. These books are fresh, unpredictable, and plain ol' addictive. I actually read this one but have listened to the previous ones in the series on audio CD. I'd recommend listening to at least one title in this series to hear the cadence of the names and places.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Connie G

    Precious Ramotswe has several more cases to work on in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana. Her good people skills lead to satisfactory outcomes for everyone. Her assistant, Mma. Makutsi, opens an evening typing school for men. In addition to bringing in extra income to help support her relatives, she's hoping for an opportunity to meet an eligible man. This charming cozy series has a good sense of place since the author lived in Botswana for many years. Mma. Ramotswe again treats her f Precious Ramotswe has several more cases to work on in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana. Her good people skills lead to satisfactory outcomes for everyone. Her assistant, Mma. Makutsi, opens an evening typing school for men. In addition to bringing in extra income to help support her relatives, she's hoping for an opportunity to meet an eligible man. This charming cozy series has a good sense of place since the author lived in Botswana for many years. Mma. Ramotswe again treats her friends and her clients with warmth and fairness.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Srividya Vijapure

    Africa is a continent that is somehow really close to my heart. This is largely because I have had several friends from the continent, coming from Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria to name a few. One of my closest friends after marriage is from Liberia. Added to this fact, is that my husband makes regular visits to the continent during the course of his work and comes home with some splendid tales about living in that continent. Botswana was a mystery for me, despite the fact that I have a cousin living Africa is a continent that is somehow really close to my heart. This is largely because I have had several friends from the continent, coming from Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria to name a few. One of my closest friends after marriage is from Liberia. Added to this fact, is that my husband makes regular visits to the continent during the course of his work and comes home with some splendid tales about living in that continent. Botswana was a mystery for me, despite the fact that I have a cousin living there and who has lived there since a very long time. With this series, however, I was introduced to this wonderful country and its people and culture. For that alone this, would deserve high praise, but when you add to it a lovely story that is part cozy mystery and part cultural treatise; it definitely becomes a personal favourite, one that stays with me even after I finish reading it. Long are the echoes of Mma Ramotswe and her nuggets of wisdom regarding people in general and Botswanan culture in particular. This is the fourth book in this series and, like the other three, it opens with Mma Ramotswe talking about certain issues that bother her. In this case, she is firstly worried about Mma Makutsi, who is losing her self confidence as she is still unmarried. Additionally, her adopted son is also causing problems, especially behavioural, which she cannot understand and therefore solve. Mma Ramotswe has no experience in raising children, so it is natural that she feels uncertain about raising her adoptive kids. Also there is a new detective agency that has opened in her town, which means that she needs to deal with competition. Mma Makutsi, on the other hand, is also worried about her finances and chances of a secure earning, which leads her to think of different options to earn money; one such idea is the Kalahari Typing School for Men. Amidst these two issues, Mma Ramotswe receives two potential cases, both quite different from the other and yet both extremely of a personal nature. While these issues might not seem like much and pretty mundane at that, what makes the book beautiful is the way in which the author has blended African and especially Botswanan culture and small niceties in this book. While reading this book, or for that matter any book in this series, I have a slight smile on my face; one that depicts my happiness at reading such a beautiful prose. Africa and its culture comes to life under the gentle touch of the author and this is extremely difficult, especially when you are writing a cozy mystery. Mma Ramotswe’s talent at getting the best out of people, the African need to know about everyone in their home town and their allusions to the older and more sedate Botswana, all remind me of how things work in India. Indian villages are quite similar in their approach and ability to interact with this African country. The need to exhibit respect for elders, the proper way of interaction, the casual and gentle nudging out of local gossip, all make me feel as if I were reading about an Indian village and this makes the book extra special to me. In short, this was an enjoyable read and I am already looking forward to reading the next in the series. If you haven’t read this one, I suggest that you begin with book 1. Don’t expect great mystery solving abilities, instead look at it as a beautiful river that flows gently and waters the areas that it passes; a river that enriches your knowledge about Botswana and African culture in general.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    Another lovely slice of Botswana, served as always with Mma Ramotswe's wisdom and philosophy. In this book we see Mma Makutsi come into her own with her new business venture and rise unscathed from a (view spoiler)[ romance with a man whom she didn't know was married but was being investigated by Mma Ramotswe on suspicion of cheating, under instruction from his wife. (awkward situation) Luckily Mma Makutsi is saved from this knowledge by her friends thoughtfulness and the cheating husband leaves Another lovely slice of Botswana, served as always with Mma Ramotswe's wisdom and philosophy. In this book we see Mma Makutsi come into her own with her new business venture and rise unscathed from a (view spoiler)[ romance with a man whom she didn't know was married but was being investigated by Mma Ramotswe on suspicion of cheating, under instruction from his wife. (awkward situation) Luckily Mma Makutsi is saved from this knowledge by her friends thoughtfulness and the cheating husband leaves with a vague excuse and present of a necklace (hide spoiler)] A man feels bad about his behaviour in the past and enlists Mma Ramotswe to help him find those on the receiving end so he can make amends. A rival detective agency sets up shop nearby and makes some sexist comments in his advertising about entrusting an investigation to a man! Hackles rise, quite understandably. There is some lovely humour in these parts (view spoiler)[ but he doesn't have the stamina or intelligence of our favourite ladies so soon Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are rid of the competition. (hide spoiler)] This copy has a lovely picture of Alexandra McCall Smith inside the front cover. He is in his library, leaning on a tuba-Lovely!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    I just can't seem to get enough of this series. I find it soothing, but not boring. I love the setting and learning more about Botswana. But mostly I love the lifestyle of the main character. I love her simplicity. I love that they live in a non-materialistic world so that the focus is truly on important things. I love the kindness she shows to everyone. I love the directness and honesty of almost all the characters. I love the way they greet each other as family and welcome new people into their I just can't seem to get enough of this series. I find it soothing, but not boring. I love the setting and learning more about Botswana. But mostly I love the lifestyle of the main character. I love her simplicity. I love that they live in a non-materialistic world so that the focus is truly on important things. I love the kindness she shows to everyone. I love the directness and honesty of almost all the characters. I love the way they greet each other as family and welcome new people into their lives. I love their acceptance of each other and their forgiveness. I love the way she follows her intuition and logic together. I love the way she stays true to the old ways, the respectful ways. They are just a nice, comfortable read. And the ability of the author to maintain quality book after book is impressive. I love spending time with his characters.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    The story of _Kalahari Typing School for Men_ was much like its immediate predecessor, _Morality for Beautiful Girls_. The novel focuses a great amount on the development of some characters, and leaves others "out to dry", and ultimately strays away from the things that made books 1 and 2 of the series so good: the cases, the interactions, and the values of the Botswana people. That is not to say that this book does not have any detective cases, but I find the novels have shifted from their orig The story of _Kalahari Typing School for Men_ was much like its immediate predecessor, _Morality for Beautiful Girls_. The novel focuses a great amount on the development of some characters, and leaves others "out to dry", and ultimately strays away from the things that made books 1 and 2 of the series so good: the cases, the interactions, and the values of the Botswana people. That is not to say that this book does not have any detective cases, but I find the novels have shifted from their original focus. However, one thing that I did like about this book is the increased role and development of Mma Makutsi. She is a great characters, and until book 3, Mma Makutsi existed in the shadows. I look forward to seeing her develop more in the next books.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Yay for this series! I'm glad there are so many. It actually inspired me to read more about Botswana. Here is a nugget from this book: "People's lives were delicate; you cannot interfere with them without running the risk of changing them profoundly. A chance remark, a careless involvement, may make the difference between a life of happiness and one of sorrow." pg 164 Yay for this series! I'm glad there are so many. It actually inspired me to read more about Botswana. Here is a nugget from this book: "People's lives were delicate; you cannot interfere with them without running the risk of changing them profoundly. A chance remark, a careless involvement, may make the difference between a life of happiness and one of sorrow." pg 164

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    My colleague and I have recently groused together that a certain novelist who writes a certain set of trashy novels to which we are both addicted, is such a poor writer that even though the novels are set in Lousiana, when we read the dialogue what we hear in our minds' ears are the voices of people just like us who live in the Pacific Northwest. And upon reading these admittedly addicting trashy novels, I have no reason to picture the heat and damp and mosquitos with which I know Louisiana must My colleague and I have recently groused together that a certain novelist who writes a certain set of trashy novels to which we are both addicted, is such a poor writer that even though the novels are set in Lousiana, when we read the dialogue what we hear in our minds' ears are the voices of people just like us who live in the Pacific Northwest. And upon reading these admittedly addicting trashy novels, I have no reason to picture the heat and damp and mosquitos with which I know Louisiana must be afflicted, because the author does nothing to help me imagine the setting. Nothing can be further from the writing of Alexander McCall Smith, author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, of which The Kalahari Typing School for Men is the first book I've read. When I read the words on Mr. Smith's pages, I hear the measured lilt of a Botswana accent, and his characters have such rich inner lives that I am able to nod with satisfaction that each is behaving according to his own character. Mr. Smith's writing is beautiful and wonderfully evocative; I can imagine the garage, the house, the bush, the little white van, the cattle with their beautiful eyes, and the field with its endless sky. The pace of his story was slow, as measured and lilting as a Botswana voice must surely be, and the story's arc was satisfying. I will read more books in this series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    sђellΐe

    I like The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books. The characters are interesting and well defined, especially Mma Ramotswe, with her fine eye for incidents of moral turpitude.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Suzy

    Another outstanding adventure with the No. 1 Ladies' Detective, Mma Ramotswe, her assistant Mma Makutsi and the best mechanic in Botswana, Rra J. L. B. Matekoni. Mma Ramotswe helps people right wrongs from the past and save face with current missteps. She skillfully engages even the hapless mechanic apprentices in giving her needed help. Full of life lessons drawn from the wisdom of the traditional Botswana morality which Mma Romotswe holds so dear. Why I'm reading this: Comfort and joy! I'm on Another outstanding adventure with the No. 1 Ladies' Detective, Mma Ramotswe, her assistant Mma Makutsi and the best mechanic in Botswana, Rra J. L. B. Matekoni. Mma Ramotswe helps people right wrongs from the past and save face with current missteps. She skillfully engages even the hapless mechanic apprentices in giving her needed help. Full of life lessons drawn from the wisdom of the traditional Botswana morality which Mma Romotswe holds so dear. Why I'm reading this: Comfort and joy! I'm on a roll with this series, rereading in order after many years.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Young

    This series is my current comfort-read. A lovely world to escape into for late-night reading, beautifully written, sensitively told. Really life-enhancing. Wonderful.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Moshe Mikanovsky

    Still charming though not enough investigating, which was missing for me.

  20. 4 out of 5

    C. (Never msg. Just comment! Email if private.)

    “The Kalahari Typing School For Men”, our fourth trip to Botswana courtesy of the compassionate, insightful dramas and mysteries of Alexander McCall Smith, tends to receive four or five stars from all fans, including me. The previous volume only seemed to tie off threads to pave the way for subsequent novels. This 2002 combination of personal and mystery solving stories at last, has returned to a clear foundational focus. It included a male run detective agency. It illuminated not if women make “The Kalahari Typing School For Men”, our fourth trip to Botswana courtesy of the compassionate, insightful dramas and mysteries of Alexander McCall Smith, tends to receive four or five stars from all fans, including me. The previous volume only seemed to tie off threads to pave the way for subsequent novels. This 2002 combination of personal and mystery solving stories at last, has returned to a clear foundational focus. It included a male run detective agency. It illuminated not if women make better detectives than men but morality in business and what patrons get, when careers are chosen from the heart. We are served best by a doctor, nurse, dentist, or cook who wants to be there, for example. Although I was impressed with Mma Makutsi’s running of Speedy Motors Garage when their offices merged, I was amazed by her supply & demand acumen in thinking of and obtaining free space and supplies for her typing school. This increase in her well deserved income also furnished two other great storylines: her interest in dating and that man’s intersection with one of Precious’s two detective cases. Her adopted children and fiancé hardly appeared but story fodder was ample. Her second case concerned a reunion more than a mystery. Finding two people in her client’s past for the purpose of apologizing to them as a grown man, was a beautiful story. We see that doing the right thing and honouring people with respect, is in our hands anytime. This assignment was also lovely for Precious visiting a friend who is an inspiring woman to spend time with. Only in her thirties, Precious merits reviewer criticism for being preachy about people who do not use Botswana’s old standard of manners. However, I remain just as interested in seeing which pleasures her sequel brings.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I'm not entirely sure, but I think Alexander McCall Smith made a sort of cameo in this book! Mma Ramotswe is looking at some photographs with a friend, and she sees a man in one of them, smiling, and asks who it is. Her friend says he is a nice man who stays with them sometimes, and writes books. "You would like him." "I'm sure I would." I giggled: I'm sure this is the author referencing himself! But anyway: another delightful novel about Mma Ramotswe, her detective agency, and her friends. What I'm not entirely sure, but I think Alexander McCall Smith made a sort of cameo in this book! Mma Ramotswe is looking at some photographs with a friend, and she sees a man in one of them, smiling, and asks who it is. Her friend says he is a nice man who stays with them sometimes, and writes books. "You would like him." "I'm sure I would." I giggled: I'm sure this is the author referencing himself! But anyway: another delightful novel about Mma Ramotswe, her detective agency, and her friends. What I love about these books is that it isn't just some long murder mystery, it's a series of smaller mysteries, human mysteries: can you find this person for me, do you know where my husband is going at night? It's more real and more human. There is also the day-to-day drama of their lives: Mma Ramotswe, her fiance, the foster children, their friends. In this particular book, Mma Makutsi starts a typing school for men, and falls for one of her students, while Mma Ramotswe is busy on a most delicate case indeed. These books have a slow and dreamy quality, but they are quality, and the writin is beautiful and joyous to read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hákon Gunnarsson

    What do you need Sherlock Holmes, and dr. John Watson, or Hercule Poirot, and Captain Arthur J. M. Hastings for, when you’ve got Mma Precious Ramotswe, and Mma Grace Makutsi? Not a whole lot. Okay, maybe this isn’t a fair comparison. The fourth book in this series is about as light on mystery as the previous ones, unlike those with Holmes, Watson, Poirot, and Hastings, but I still enjoyed the story of Ramotswe, Makutsi, and all the other characters very much so I continue to read on. And I’m enj What do you need Sherlock Holmes, and dr. John Watson, or Hercule Poirot, and Captain Arthur J. M. Hastings for, when you’ve got Mma Precious Ramotswe, and Mma Grace Makutsi? Not a whole lot. Okay, maybe this isn’t a fair comparison. The fourth book in this series is about as light on mystery as the previous ones, unlike those with Holmes, Watson, Poirot, and Hastings, but I still enjoyed the story of Ramotswe, Makutsi, and all the other characters very much so I continue to read on. And I’m enjoying it a whole lot.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    In this 4th volume of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, there are many subplots. It seemed like while I was listening, there was not much work going on for the agency. When I got to the end, though, the many threads were tied together with a few left danging for the 5th book. I love travelling to Botswana via this series and will keep on reading. The audio books are so well done! In this 4th volume of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, there are many subplots. It seemed like while I was listening, there was not much work going on for the agency. When I got to the end, though, the many threads were tied together with a few left danging for the 5th book. I love travelling to Botswana via this series and will keep on reading. The audio books are so well done!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ruthiella

    It’s always soothing to return to the tidy world of Mma Precious Ramotswe and her detective agency in Gabrone, Botswana. In this fourth installment, Mma Ramotswe and her assistant Mma Makutsi must grapple with a rival detective agency and Mma Makutsi starts a side business, the eponymous typing school. The books can be a little conservative in their “Men are from Mars” attitudes at times, and the reader is never really in doubt that things won’t work out by the end, but in small doses, I don’t m It’s always soothing to return to the tidy world of Mma Precious Ramotswe and her detective agency in Gabrone, Botswana. In this fourth installment, Mma Ramotswe and her assistant Mma Makutsi must grapple with a rival detective agency and Mma Makutsi starts a side business, the eponymous typing school. The books can be a little conservative in their “Men are from Mars” attitudes at times, and the reader is never really in doubt that things won’t work out by the end, but in small doses, I don’t mind much. This time I ready the first few chapters and then listened to the rest as narrated by Lisette Lecat, who did a phenomenal job. I’m almost positive McCall placed himself in the story when Precious and Mrs. Moffat are looking at some pictures: “And this person standing behind them? The man who is looking at the camera?” That is somebody who comes to stay with us from time to time,” said Mrs. Moffat. “He writes books.”

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sterlingcindysu

    Everyone who reads this series knows what to expect. During Covid I thought I'd catch up on the ones I've missed. I'm surprised that I had to wait for my library Kindle hold for over 6 weeks! There's something for everyone here, a little romance, mystery, exotic setting and of course strong women who are very polite. Everyone who reads this series knows what to expect. During Covid I thought I'd catch up on the ones I've missed. I'm surprised that I had to wait for my library Kindle hold for over 6 weeks! There's something for everyone here, a little romance, mystery, exotic setting and of course strong women who are very polite.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Umut

    I think the charm of these books are the characters and to follow them throughout. I can't say there's much investigating work. I wish it was more eventful and exciting. If you like these series, you should read Amelia Peabody series that's set in Egypt. I think that one has very endearing characters and more intrigue. I think the charm of these books are the characters and to follow them throughout. I can't say there's much investigating work. I wish it was more eventful and exciting. If you like these series, you should read Amelia Peabody series that's set in Egypt. I think that one has very endearing characters and more intrigue.

  27. 5 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    The Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency has opened across town, and it is drawing attention. The brusk owner Cephas Buthelezi, who claims to be ex-CID, is polite to Mma Precious Ramotswe, owner of No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency when she comes to visit her new competition, but he is rude to Mma Makutsi, her partner and assistant manager. It is worrisome that a man of such credentials has opened a detective business in the small town in Botswana, a country of 2 million people. Ramotswe is not The Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency has opened across town, and it is drawing attention. The brusk owner Cephas Buthelezi, who claims to be ex-CID, is polite to Mma Precious Ramotswe, owner of No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency when she comes to visit her new competition, but he is rude to Mma Makutsi, her partner and assistant manager. It is worrisome that a man of such credentials has opened a detective business in the small town in Botswana, a country of 2 million people. Ramotswe is not really earning enough to stay in business, but she and Makutsi have already helped so many people, earning trust and good will. With the agreement of her fiancé, Mr. J. L. B. Matekobi, proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, she maintains a very clean and inviting office in the back of Matekobi's garage and keeps her doors open with enough clients that there is much mutual advantage for all. However, there is not enough cash being earned. Perhaps she should push Matekobi to get married at last? Her two foster children are a worry as well, especially Puso, the boy. He killed a hoopoe with a stone, and he is unaccountably sullen and angry. Could it be something at school? She makes a note to herself to visit with the orphanage and Mma Potokwani and get advice. Mma Makutsi has started a third job for herself. Besides being Mma Ramotswe's assistant and also Matekobi's assistant in the garage, she opens a typing school for men. It is going very well, and one of the men has taken a personal interest in her! The problem is Mma Ramotswe has learned from one of her clients that the gentleman is hiding a very important fact about his availability for marriage - he has a wife. The problems seem without solutions unless Mma Ramotswe can find a way for everyone to save face with minimum harm - it is unthinkable to her to cause unnecessary pain. Everyone has sins on their conscience - but she knows the confession of sin is not what saves the day, but it is in the fixing of the damage that makes it right.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Blaine DeSantis

    Another solid effort in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Series, as these books continue to delve into its characters and manages to use this as a way to have them involved in the new cases. While the books are very delightful and easy to read, I feel that the author needs to get these ladies involved in much more serious and complicated cases. So far, most of the cases are cute and involve a lot of moral detecting, but the time has come for Mma. Ramotswe and Mma. Makutsi to get into some meatier case Another solid effort in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Series, as these books continue to delve into its characters and manages to use this as a way to have them involved in the new cases. While the books are very delightful and easy to read, I feel that the author needs to get these ladies involved in much more serious and complicated cases. So far, most of the cases are cute and involve a lot of moral detecting, but the time has come for Mma. Ramotswe and Mma. Makutsi to get into some meatier cases, especially since Book 4 introduced a new Detective Agency to the town. We also saw the first sparks of love for Mma. Makusti even though it was short-lived, as she also branches out by opening the Mens Typing School. Mma. Makutsi is a great character and almost a more enjoyable one then the lead character Mms Ramotswe. You do not want to miss the one part where they all go to church to support their one apprentice - it is hilarious and is the funniest thing that has been written to date in this series. It is obvious that the author loved Botswana and has transferred that love onto his main character Mma. Ramotswe. And as in all the prior books, by the end all the cases and moral dilemmas are resolved by the end of the book and we are left with only one question? When will Mma. Ramotswe and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni going to be married??? That is the biggest unsolved mystery that has yet to be finalized!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    More slow charm and gentle truth seeking from our friends at the #1 Ladies Detective Agency, who now have a competitor in the form of the Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency (“Don’t take any chances! Entrust your inquiries to a MAN!”). A ten year old could see the competition isn’t going to be that stiff, but the lack of subtlety is one of the most delightful qualities of these books, partly because it reminds me that most people really aren’t that adept at hiding unpleasant traits, and par More slow charm and gentle truth seeking from our friends at the #1 Ladies Detective Agency, who now have a competitor in the form of the Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency (“Don’t take any chances! Entrust your inquiries to a MAN!”). A ten year old could see the competition isn’t going to be that stiff, but the lack of subtlety is one of the most delightful qualities of these books, partly because it reminds me that most people really aren’t that adept at hiding unpleasant traits, and partly because it gives Mma Ramatswe material for her commentaries on men. This one has a couple of bittersweet storylines that pulled at my sympathies — the trusty assistant Mma Makutsi starts her own business and becomes involved in a bit of an intrigue, and Mma Ramatswe has a client who needs help rectifying a past sin. Mma Ramatswe doesn’t have murders to solve, but she does have to deal with other crimes and failings that must be put right, and this she does with compassion and principles.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Baba

    Things can't get better for Precious Ramotswe’s... good business, kids, partne life? . So a few things are thrown at her - her adopted son get caught up in a case; her assistant, Mma Makutsi wants a hubbie and wants to set up a typing school; and business wise she has a director competitor whose using gender to promote his detective agency! . Can Precious keep her head above water whilst maintaining her integrity, delightful cunning and maddeningly moral approach to life? Well, what do you think? . Ho Things can't get better for Precious Ramotswe’s... good business, kids, partne life? . So a few things are thrown at her - her adopted son get caught up in a case; her assistant, Mma Makutsi wants a hubbie and wants to set up a typing school; and business wise she has a director competitor whose using gender to promote his detective agency! . Can Precious keep her head above water whilst maintaining her integrity, delightful cunning and maddeningly moral approach to life? Well, what do you think? . How the feck does a Scottish writer capture small town Botswana so well? Or is this all idealised? Another nice installment. 6 out of 12. .

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