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The Miracle at Speedy Motors: A No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel (9) (A Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Book for Young Readers) Paperback – March 10, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: A Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Book for Young Readers (Book 9)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (March 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307277461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307277466
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (210 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's foremost solver of problems, is used to handling mostly straightforward domestic cases, which makes a series of anonymous letters threatening her and her prickly assistant, Grace Makutsi, all the more disturbing in Smith's triumphant ninth No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novel (after The Good Husband of Zebra Drive). The search for whoever penned the letters coincides with a new commission: Manka Sebina, whose birth parents gave her up as a child, hires the agency to track down any living relatives. Both problems afford Mma Ramotswe ample opportunity to display her winning blend of insight into others' motivations and an endearingly naïve belief in the best in human nature. Significant, if incremental, developments in the lives of the community Smith has lovingly created over the course of the series will intrigue old fans. Immediately accessible to newcomers, this entry will prompt them to seek out the earlier books. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The ninth installment in McCall Smith’s beloved No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series finds Botswanan Precious Ramotswe musing upon more mysteries of life. There’s the woman desperately searching for her family, with not a clue where to start. She claims that her late mother is not her birth mother, but Mma Ramotswe isn’t so sure. Associate detective Grace Makutsi (whom readers will remember for her large spectacles and stellar 97 percent score on the Botswana Secretarial College exam) is restless over damage to a new bed purchased by her fiancé, Phuti Radiphuti. (She and the well-mannered Mr. Radiphuti had been unable to resist that heart-shaped velvet headboard.) Mma Ramotswe also receives some threatening letters, which seem to have come from a most unlikely source. Finally, Mma Ramotswe’s husband, talented car mechanic and model citizen Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, meets a doctor who just may have a cure for adopted daughter Motholeli’s spinal condition. (Other experts have told the young girl she’d be wheelchair-bound for life.) While hope springs eternal, Mma Ramotswe doesn’t share the unabashed optimism of her spouse. Scotsman McCall Smith, who also pens the Isabel Dalhousie, 44 Scotland Street, and Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, conveys his deep admiration for Botswana (where he once lived and helped establish a school of law at the university) on every page of this warm, wise, whimsical novel. --Allison Block --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith was born in what is now Zimbabwe and taught law at the University of Botswana. He is now Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. He has written more than fifty books, including a number of specialist titles, but is best known for The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which has achieved bestseller status on four continents. In 2004 he was awarded British Book Awards Author of the Year and Booksellers Association Author of the Year. He lives in Scotland, where in his spare time he is a bassoonist in the RTO (Really Terrible Orchestra).

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Customer Reviews

The characters are interesting and the pace of the book is leisurely.
H. Cross
Precoius Ramotswe is back, and Alexander McCall Smith has written another good installment in the Number One Ladies Detective Agency.
A. Woodley
These books are a good, easy read and are flled with much good sense plus filled with fun.
Josephine Briggs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 85 people found the following review helpful By A. Woodley on April 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Precoius Ramotswe is back, and Alexander McCall Smith has written another good installment in the Number One Ladies Detective Agency.

While it isn't the best in the series that I have read, it still has a number of the features which I think makes this series so compelling. The complex relationships, the gentle humour, the rather small issues that the Number One detective Agency has to solve, but they are all set against larger themes such as traditional life in Botswana and other broader issues of life in an Africa Country.

There are a number of things for Mma Ramotswe to solve. Her paid case in this installment is to find a woman's family. She does not know who they are or even if they are, she is just sure she was adopted and wants to find out if she has any family. However - first and foremost are the nasty letters which the agency is receiving, threatening and personal. Then there is her adopted daughter who is in a wheelchair. Mr J L B Matekoni has met a doctor who says he can heal her and is determined to try no matter what the cost.

Mma Makutsi's wedding date has not been set, and she is privately worried. It is affecting her work and when she takes a morning off, distracted, Mma Ramotswe is forced to wonder just what will happen when Mma Makutsi gets married...will she leave the agency? will she demand to be made more than associate detective?

Luckily, or unluckily Mma Makutsi has a disaster with a piece of furniture and her reliance on Mma Ramotswe is confirmed!

All these 'disasters' are affecting life at the Number one ladies detective agency, especially when it seems that one of their own may be perpetrating the nasty letters.
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Format: Hardcover
In this ninth novel in the Alexander McCall Smith series, Precious Ramotswe, the "traditionally built" proprietor of the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Gaborone, Botswana, receives a threatening letter: "Fat lady: you watch out! And you too, the one with the big glasses." Mma Ramotswe and her assistant, Grace Makutsi, of the big glasses, are startled by this letter, and Mma Ramotswe even begins to believe that she is being followed. As the two women deal with their business and their lives, the letter haunts them--it is so uncharacteristic of the gentle, sweet-spirited life of Botswana, a place where, in Mma Ramotswe's experience, almost any problem can be worked out over a cup of bush tea.

Continuing the stories of Mma Ramotswe and those around her, this novel, like its predecessors, contains a mystery or two, along with many episodes of daily life which develop the characters further, quietly teach a few lessons, and show how humor and polite behavior can improve even the worst of situations. The central mystery of the novel is uncomplicated. A woman has come to Mma Ramotswe because she believes that she is not the daughter of her late "mother," and she wants Mma Ramotswe to find her birth family.

Subplots galore keep the stories flowing. The fuss-budget-y Grace Makutsi, who is engaged to marry a wealthy furniture seller, picks out an elaborate bed which she and her husband will occupy after they are married. When she has it delivered to her house, the bed precipitates a disaster. At the same time, Mma Ramotswe begins to suspect that one of the employees of Speedy Motors, the auto repair shop run by her honest and honorable husband, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, is the author of the threatening letter. When Mr. J. L. B.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By C. Catherwood on April 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is as brilliant a book as ever in the series, and shows a writer very much still at the height of his creative powers. While some might think one overarching mystery might be important, I think that that misses the point of a novel like this - the wonderful pace. As a leading London lawyer told me, the great things about these novels is that they are SLOW: the pace is leisurely and they induce a wonderful sense of calm in the reader. This is why they are so popular and it is what makes them so readable - all that, of course, as well as the superb sense of place you get in these novels, their magnificent evocation of the African atmosphere from someone who was born and raised in the area and the totally brilliant sense of characterisation that makes them so real.

It is a shame that people tend only to read one of the many McCall Smith series. You can tell what a wonderful evocation of character he has by, for example, comparing his characterisation in both these novels and in his 44 Scotland Street series, where all the characters are equally well drawn. (One can do the same with others: for example the Isabel Dalhousie series and those of the Portuguese Irregular Verbs). The over-ambitious mother Isabel in 44 Scotland Street and Mma Makutsi in this novel: both are magnificent portrayals of highly memorable characters and show that McCall Smith is one of the true great writers of our time.

So buy this book, give it to all your friends and then buy at least one of the other series as well: you don't have to be in Botswana to enjoy this series, for example, and you don't have to be in Edinburgh to enjoy some of his others.

Christopher Catherwood (author of CHURCHILL'S FOLLY: HOW WINSTON CHURCHILL CREATED MODERN IRAQ and joint author of THE MERCHANTS OF FEAR).
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