Monday 27 September 2021

McCall Smith, Alexander "The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency" Series # 11-17

McCall Smith, Alexander "The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency" Series # 11-17

See my previous reviews of the other books in this series by Alexander McCall Smith:

McCall Smith, Alexander "The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency" Series # 1-9
McCall Smith, Alexander "Tea Time for the Traditionally Built" - 2009
McCall Smith, Alexander "The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency" (1) - 1999
- "Tears of the Giraffe" (2) - 2000
- "Morality for Beautiful Girls" (3) - 2001
- "The Kalahari Typing School for Men" (4) - 2002
- "The Full Cupboard of Life" (5) - 2004
- "In the Company of Cheerful Ladies" (6) - 2004
- "Blue Shoes and Happiness" (7) - 2006
- "The Good Husband of Zebra Drive" (8) - 2007
- "The Miracle at Speedy Motors" (9) - 2008
- "Tea Time for the Traditionally Built" (10) - 2009
- "The Double Comfort Safari Club" (11) - 2010
- "The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party" (12) - 2011
- "The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection" (13) - 2012
- "The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon" (14) - 2013
- "The Handsome Man's De Luxe Café" (15) - 2014
- "The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine" (16) - 2015
- "Precious and Grace" (17) - 2016
- "The House of Unexpected Sisters" (18) - 2017
- "The Colours of All the Cattle" (19) -2018
- "To the Land of Long Lost Friends" (20) - 2019
- "How to Raise an Elephant" (21) - 2020
Extra: 2013: The Slice of No. 1 Celebration Storybook (ebook only)

After having described the first ten novels (see links above), I have carried on readin the next books in the series.

They are all as delightful to read as the first ones were, especially in between more serious and challenging reads.

Whether Mma Ramotswe is chasing some criminals or tries to make everyone around her feel good, she is always a lovely person to read about.

McCall Smith, Alexander "The Double Comfort Safari Club" (11) - 2010

As I said in my first blog about The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, I have enjoyed reading the series about Mma Ramotswe and her family and business a lot. They are easy going reads where you learn a little about Botswana, try to follow the lady detective in her pursuit of wayward husbands, "loose women", petty criminals but mainly in her special way to protect those she loves.

The author's writing style is warm and gentle. His way about describing about Botswana and its inhabitants makes you want to go and visit.

From the back cover:

"The delightful new installment in Alexander McCall Smith's beloved and bestselling series finds Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi travelling to the north of Botswana, to the stunning Okavango Delta, to visit a safari lodge where there have been several unexplained and troubling events - including the demise of one of the guests.

When the two ladies of the
No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency arrive at the Okavango Delta, their eyes are opened, as if for the first time, to the natural beauty and wildlife of their homeland. With teeming wildlife, endless grasslands, and sparkling rivulets of water running in every direction, it is breathtaking. But they can't help being drawn into a world filled with other wildlife: rival safari operators, discontented guides, grumpy hippopotamuses. On top of that, the date has still not been set for Mma Makutsi and Phuti Radiphuti's wedding, and it's safe to say that Mma Makutsi is beginning to grow a bit impatient.

And to top it all off, the impossible has happened: one of Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's apprentices has gotten married.... Of course none of this defeats the indomitable Precious Ramotswe. Good sense, kindness, and copious quantities of red bush tea carry the day &- as they always do.

McCall Smith, Alexander "The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party" (12) - 2011

I preferred this one to the last book. Not only does Mma Makutsi get married to her Mr. Phuti Radiphuti, we also have an interesting crime story within the novel. Mma Ramotswe has to find a cattle killer, something as criminal in Botswana as if you killed your neighbour.

And then there is the story of Mma Makutsi and her love of beautiful, even if unpractical, shoes.

From the back cover:

"As the countdown to Mma Makutsi's wedding begins, all is not as it should be at the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency. While investigating unpleasant occurrences on a southern cattle-post, Mma Ramotswe, always on the side of the weak against the strong, has reason to reflect on Rule No.3 of The Principles of Private Detection: never lie to the client. Apprentice mechanic Charlie seems to be avoiding certain important responsibilities. And as Mma Makutsi's big day approaches, her nemesis Violet Sephotho is casting her net wider: by standing for election which could spell trouble for the entire nation. But as friends and family gather under starry African night skies, it turns out that even the most perplexing of apparitions - and the most shocking of crimes - may yield to rational explanation. And, of course, to Mma Ramotswe's inimitable way with love, intuition and redbush tea."

McCall Smith, Alexander "The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection" (13) - 2012

Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi meet their hero, the author of their detective book, Clovis Anderson.

How lovely to meet the guy they quote almost daily. He helps them with some of their cases. As always, life in Botswana is calm and quiet, except for some troublemakers. This is my "in-between" reading.

From the back cover:

"Mma Ramotswe, normally a peaceful sleeper, finds her slumbers disturbed by dreams of a tall stranger, but she is not quite ready to learn what this vision portends. Soon even Mma Makutsi has to admit that untoward things are occurring around the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, not least with the construction of her marital home. At Speedy Motors Fanwell finds himself in trouble with the law, and the indomitable Mma Potokwani flees the orphan farm. Armed with courage, kindness and an instinct for the truth, Mma Ramotswe sets out to restore order."

McCall Smith, Alexander "The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon" (14) - 2013

And the story goes on. There is an addition to the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, not 97% but 100%. Mma Makutsi has a baby whom she calls Itumelang Clovis Rhadiputhi. Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe carries on solving her small but still disturbing crime scenes in her usual, cheerful manner. You just have to like her.

From the back cover:

"There are joyful tidings at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency with the arrival of Mma Makutsi's baby. However, while her assistant is busy with motherhood, Mma Ramotswe must tackle tea-making and detective work alone. Well-known troublemaker Violet Sephotho may or may not be behind a smear campaign against the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, and a dispute over the will of a local dignitary points to a shocking family secret. But the agency is resilient, adaptable and open to useful lessons - on particular, that our enemies and allies are not always obvious."

McCall Smith, Alexander "The Handsome Man's De Luxe Café" (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #15) - 2014

Mma Ramotswe and her No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency will always have a special place in my heart. I love her kindness and cleverness, she is the type of person you would like to have as a friend. And there are not twenty murders in every book, there are hardly any. Just other everyday problems anyone of us could have.

Mma Makutsi on the other hand is getting too full of herself often and I know I would not have the patience of her employer. Shows again what a great lady she is.

From the back cover:

"The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency often helps people find things they have lost. But they have never had to help a client find herself - until now, in this latest installment of Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling and beloved series.

A kindhearted brother and sister have taken in a woman known only as 'Mrs.' - a woman with no memory of her name or of how she came to Botswana. And so it’s up to Precious Ramotswe and her new co-director, Grace Makutsi, to discover the woman’s identity.

Meanwhile, motherhood proves to be no obstacle to Mma Makutsi’s professional success. As she settles into her role as partner at the agency, she also launches a new enterprise of her own:
the Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café, a restaurant for Gaborone’s most fashionable diners. But even Miss 97 Per Cent isn’t fully prepared for the temperamental chefs, drunken waiters, and other challenges that come with running one’s own business. Help may come from an unexpected source, if only Mma Makutsi can swallow her pride and ask.

And next door to the
No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is all too familiar with the difficult decisions of business owners. He is finally forced to make a tough choice, one that will bring major changes to both Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors and the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency - and that will require all of Mma Ramotswe’s finesse and patience to sort out.

With sympathy and indefatigable good humor, Mma Ramotswe and her friends see one another through these major changes and discover along the way what true friendship really means.

McCall Smith, Alexander "The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine" (16) - 2015

Another story about Mma Ramotswe, the 1st lady detective in Botswana and her assistant. When I read the last book (The Handsome Man's De Luxe Café), I said that Mma Makutsi was getting too full of herself and in this one she even gets to run the detective agency by herself. She didn't get more bonus points from me but this story was a little more interesting and fun than the last one. I might go back and read some more.

From the back cover:

"Mma Ramotswe is taking a break, leaving important tasks in the capable hands of Mma Makutsi, co-director of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. But Mma Ramotswe soon finds herself interfering in cases (secretly, or so she intends). While 'on holiday', she delves into the past of a man whose reputation is brought into question, she is called upon to rescue a small boy - and discovees Violet Sephotho's latest underhand business endeavour: the No. 1 Ladies' Secretarial College. Meanwhile, Mma Makutsi hires a part-time science teacher as an assistant, and suspects that her authority is being undermined. Will Mma Ramotswe be caught out?"

McCall Smith, Alexander "Precious and Grace" (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #17) - 2016

So, I started (and finished) another Mma Ramotswe book. I must say, I enjoyed this one more than the last one, maybe because it concentrated a little more on Mma Ramotswe again. And on some of the other people working for either Mma Ramotswe or Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, all of them lovely in their own way. I wonder whether we will learn more about the young clerk whom Mma Ramotswe promised to find a bride.

I usually look for the blurb on the book and was quite shocked to find in one of the descriptions (presumably) from the book that a lady was coming from Australia to get help from Precious and Grace. No, no, no. She came from Canada. Is it too much to expect them to get that right?

From the back cover:

"The one with the woman who lost her past.

Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi's friendship is tested by a curious case: a client who left Botswana thirty years ago and remembers little of her past. The quest for the truth takes the detectives in very different directions - but what if they are both wrong? Meanwhile, Fanwell adopts a stray dog, Mr Polopetsi becomes entangled in a tricky business deal and Violet Sephotho could be running for a prestigious award. Can Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi move beyond their differing views to solve the case and bring harmony to the agency?

See more comments on my ThrowbackThursday post in 2022.


  1. I've never read any of this series! I see references to it frequently, and to the characters that readers love. Maybe it is finally time for me to start the series and have so many books ready without having to wait for a new one to be published.

    1. Haha, Jen, that is always a good reason to start a series. There are books among them that really annoyed me, others that were just delightful. But I know most people really enjoyed those that I didn't like that much. So, you might love all of them.

      In any case, happy reading.

  2. I have never read the series myself, though I have seen it time and again on other blogs as well. I do love a good mystery.

    1. They are nice books for in between, Sarah, even you might like their information about Botswana. And the mysteries are often quite funny.

    2. That's what I often use cosy mysteries for - or when I am super behind on my Goodreads Challenge, like in 2016. I plowed through dozens of cozies and missed my goal by I think 8 books. It was a rough year, as you know well.

    3. Definitely. I always have my own goal of reaching 100 books in a year though I rarely reach it. If not, I just tell myself, I read so many large books that I would have 100 if I had read short ones only.