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Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Book 10) Hardcover – April 21, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (April 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375424490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375424496
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (239 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Once again, Precious Ramotswe uses her insights into human nature to unravel problems big and small in Smith's charming 10th novel to feature Botswana's No. 1 lady detective (after The Miracle at Speedy Motors). Leungo Molofololo, the owner of the Kalahari Swoopers, a local soccer team with a lot of athletic talent, suspects a traitor on the squad is deliberately sabotaging games for an unknown reason. Despite her complete ignorance of the sport, Mma Ramotswe agrees to look into the matter. She and her prickly assistant, Grace Makutsi, attend a match and begin interviewing the players in an effort to solve what amounts to the book's main mystery. The soccer inquiry, though, is secondary to a major event in Mma Ramotswe's life—the impending demise of the little white van she's used for many years that's much more than a machine to her. Fans can look forward to the debut of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency on HBO on March 29. (Apr.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* In stressful times, Botswana detective Precious Ramotswe always finds solace in a steaming pot of red bush tea. But it’s going to take many cups of the richly hued liquid to help her cope with current woes. Topping the list is the state of Mma’s tiny white van, which has developed an ominous rattle she can no longer ignore. Meanwhile, at the detective agency, Mma Ramotswe and her very opinionated assistant, Grace Makutsi, are enlisted by football coach Leungo Molofololo to determine why his once-successful team has lost so many games. (Could there be a traitor among the ranks?) The case will certainly be a challenge. Mma Ramotswe knows nothing about football, and Mma Makutsi is distracted. Her fiancé, Phuti Radiphuti, has hired Violet Sephotho, Grace’s one-time nemesis at the Botswana Secretarial College, to work at his furniture store. (Grace fears that glamorous, manipulative Violet is out to steal her man.) Grace trusts Phuti, but she knows men are weak. “They cannot help it,” she muses, “they are dazzled, just as a mouse is hypnotized by the swaying of a cobra. And then the cobra strikes and it is all over for the mouse, just as it is for the man.” Scotsman McCall Smith’s rich regard for Botswana resonates in this warm, witty, and wise tenth installment in the internationally best-selling series. What fan can resist? --Allison Block

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Customer Reviews

I enjoy this easy ,fun type of reading.
connie kendrick
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and look forward to the next one!
I love all Alexander McCall Smiths No 1 ladies dectective agency books.
Margaret Brand

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 82 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In Alexander McCall Smith's "Tea Time for the Traditionally Built," the proprietor of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Precious Ramotswe, is in mourning over her decades old tiny white van. The beloved vehicle is making terrible noises and is probably headed for the junk heap. The idea of parting from the van that has been an important part of her life for so long is breaking Mma Ramotswe's heart. Meanwhile, the prickly and outspoken Grace Makutsi, Mma Ramotswe's assistant, has troubles of her own. Her arch enemy, the glamorous and scheming Violet Sephotho, has landed a sales job in the Double Comfort Furniture Shop, whose owner is Phuti Radiphuti, Grace's fiancé. It is obvious to the furious Mma Makutsi that Violet is determined to steal Phuti away from her. In addition, Precious and Grace are hired by Mr. Leungo Molofololo, the owner of a losing football team, to find out why his formerly successful Kalahari Swoopers are suddenly doing so badly.

McCall Smith again delivers a gentle, heartfelt, and humorous look at life in the African country of Botswana. Precious is a thoughtful, unhurried, and compassionate person, who cares deeply for her husband, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, the proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, and their two foster children, the wheelchair-bound Motholeli and her younger brother, Puso. Mma Ramotswe refuses to apologize for her "traditional build," and she has contempt for "these very thin model ladies" who will someday "be blown away by the wind." Day by day, Precious deals with the ups and downs of life by drinking cup after cup of refreshing red bush tea and applying an ample dose of common sense to every problem that arises.
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Format: Hardcover
Not believing that "progress" necessarily improves Botswana society, Mma Precious Ramotswe, the "traditionally built" owner of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency in Gaborone, has decided that cars are among the biggest agents of change, making people lazy. She has therefore decided to walk the two miles each way to her office, located beside the garage where her husband Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni operates a car repair service. She secretly admits, however, that the real reason she is walking is that her beloved (and famous) little white van, now twenty-two years old, is making strange noises, and she fears that when Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni hears them that he will decide her little van can no longer be repaired.

More sentimental and less plot-based than some of the earlier novels in this endearing series, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built intersperses local stories, gossip, and legends among several (sometimes thin) plot lines--Mma Ramotswe's love for her little white van and her unhappiness about its possible future; the mysterious case of the Kalahari Swoopers, a great football team that is losing too many games; the fate of the romance between Mma Grace Makutsi and her fiancé, Mr. Phuti Radiphuti, after he hires glamorous (and designing) Violet Sephotho to work in his furniture shop; and the case of a woman who is trying to live with two husbands.

Mma Ramotswe's innate kindness, and her belief that "there is plenty of work for love to do," dominate her life: "We [are] all at the mercy of chance...," she says, "and when we dismiss or deny the hopes of others...we forget that they, like us, have only one chance in this life." Her husband, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, is equally thoughtful, donating one day every two weeks to help a needy friend keep abreast of his work.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Laura de Leon on May 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I didn't enjoy this as much as previous books in the series. I don't know if I was just not in the right mood for it, or if the book wasn't that compelling. All of the books have a very comfortable feel to them, like hanging out with interesting neighbors. In this book, the neighbors are having an off day.

The mystery of the under-performing football team led to some interesting observations on human nature. I think there are a lot of similar conversations happening locally as we have the mystery of the under-performing hockey team. I didn't have any problems with this story line, but it wasn't enough to carry the book.

A second storyline involved Mma Makutsi and her nemesis from her secretarial school days, Violet Sephotho. Violet has decided that Mma Makutsi's fiancé, Mr. Phuti Radiphuti, is too good for Mma Makutsi,and she decides to claim him for herself. I liked the storyline, but I had some problems with how it was handled. Fairly early on, we have a couple of scenes where the reader sees Violet with Mr. RadiPhuti, putting this plot line in action. Everything after that we see from Mma Makutsi's POV. I would have liked this to be consistent through the book. Either POV would have been fine with me. In addition, although the Violet story is wrapped up, I didn't feel a sense of resolution at the end with Mma Makutsi and Mr. Phuti Radiphuti.

I'm not sure if the fate of Mma Ramotswe's tiny white van makes it to plotline, or if it is a running thread. It is a sweet story, and may be setting up a plot for the next book.

There were a number of other small stories and themes running through the book.
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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).