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The Double Comfort Safari Club (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) Hardcover – April 20, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 360 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. As in 2009's Tea Time for the Traditionally Built, the previous entry in this beguiling, bestselling series, a personal crisis for one of the leads, rather than a mystery, drives the plot of Smith's superb 12th novel set in Botswana featuring his infinitely understanding sleuth, Precious Ramotswe. When a delivery truck backs into Phuti Radiphuti, the fiancé of Mma Ramotswe's prickly and insecure assistant, Grace Makutsi, and crushes his leg against a wall, Phuti's rude aunt won't allow Grace to visit her beloved in the hospital. Meanwhile, the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency tries to help the executor of an American woman, who wished to leave some money to a kind tour guide, but couldn't recall the guide's name. The resolution to the problem of another client, who was cheated out of his home by a gold-digger, might strike some as unduly fortuitous, but it makes sense within the framework of these books, which are more about humanity than logic. (Apr.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* New challenges and an exciting adventure await Botswana lady detective Precious Ramotswe in this eleventh entry in the much-beloved series. As usual, there are multiple plotlines. There’s Mma Mateleke, who suspects her husband of being unfaithful (turns out, he harbors the same suspicions about her). Mr. Kereleng falls prey to the wiles of Violet Sephotho, who manipulated him into putting his house in her name. (Readers will remember Violet as the conniving classmate of Mma Makutsi at the Botswana Secretarial College, where Mma Makutsi earned an impressive 97 percent.) Mma Makutsi copes with bad news about her fiancé, Phuti Radiphuti, who undergoes a serious leg operation following an accident at his furniture store. A more pleasant assignment involves the search for a kindhearted safari guide, who was bequeathed a nice sum of money by an American tourist. This brings the two ladies to the stunning Okavango Delta, positively fraught with feral creatures. With snakes in abundance, proper footwear is a must, much to the delight of Mma Makutsi, who has a well-known weakness for new shoes. As always, wrongs are righted and all is resolved, thanks to the wit and wisdom of these two shrewd Mmas. Even after nearly a dozen installments, McCall Smith manages to keep his series engaging and fresh. Expect much demand: the release of a new No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novel is always cause for celebration among the author’s many fans. --Allison Block

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; First Edition edition (April 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375424504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375424502
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (360 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Richard VINE VOICE on April 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have really enjoyed this series - now up to number 11 I think with this installment. It is unique in many ways and teaches many lessons about life. By the way, the TV series is great too.

Besides the more obvious things like the great characters in the series - after a while they seem like you actually know them as you would real people - what I really liked about the series is the details about Botswana and life there. And so much of it is positive, unlike so much of what you hear about Africa these days. The books also teach many lessons useful to people everywhere, but from a Botswana/African perspective that can really shine a light where it needs to shine so to speak.

The first book was especially good in portraying the Botswana background and viewpoint - I assume accuracy here as the author lived there a long time. The author seemed to move away from this as the series progressed - maybe he thought readers had enough or knew all of it already and did not want to hear about it so much. I disagree. It's what got me hooked on the series.

Like many others, I was somewhat disappointed with the book right before this one - the 10th I think, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built. It just wasn't as good as the ones before it. I was worried that the series had run out of steam.

I am happy to see that this new installment gets back to the series roots in many respects showing us some more about the real Botswana, especially something we have not yet seen in the series - the delta region. The overall plot seems very vigorous too - an improvement over #10 I think. I won't go into that too much as readers usually like a surprise.

I hope that series fans will come back and read this latest book, meet favorite characters again, be entertained, and learn something about Botswana and life in general as well.
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Format: Hardcover
In fact No.11 is as good as No.1 and Nos.2-10 as well: I never thought that the novels went off. It is a remarkable literary achievement, to write eleven magnificent and thoroughly enjoyable novels, with our favorite characters getting even more lovable as time goes by, and without the quality tapering off in any way.

So eleven cheers for Alexander McCall Smith not just on this novel as a stand-alone work - which is great in itself - but in this unique literary achievement of a series of eleven novels all of which are as good as each other. Not even JRR Tolkein managed it (with Lord of the Rings at just three volumes), and Dickens novels were all about separate characters. No, this is a truly remarkable feat...

AND even more so if one considers that our favorite novelist is writing other series as well - including the two new novels set in London (out soon in the USA), which are equally good and, sadly it seems, not as well known or appreciated by McCall Smith aficianados as perhaps they should be, since they are every bit as good, not to mention hilariously funny, as the better known African eleven volume series.

So read and enjoy this novel, and then dip into his other series as well, in Edinburgh (two series), London (one) and Germany (one series).

Christopher Catherwood
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Format: Hardcover
This is the 11th installment in Alexander McCall Smith's enchanting and uplifting series about a female detective living in Botswana. It is not necessary to have read ALL the other books in the series, but if you haven't read any, this is probably not the best place to start.

The structure is very similar to others in the series, with the familiar cast of characters appearing. There are essentially four interwoven storylines. Mma Makutsi's fiance Mr Phuti Radiphuti is in an accident and she clashes with his aunt over who should nurse him back to health. Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe has several cases on the go. She is asked to investigate whether a husband is being unfaithful, to assist another man who has been swindled out of his money and travels with Mma Makutsi to the Okavango Delta to track down a safari guide who has been left some money in a will. However these storylines often take a backseat to discussions about teapots, new boots and the merits of the new blue van.

The book opens with Mr J L B Matekoni musing about road rage and the futility of reacting to it and it ends with Mma Ramotswe musing about how to lead a good life. "Do not complain about your life. Do not blame others for things that you have brought upon yourself. Be content with who you are and where you are, and do whatever you can to bring to others such contentment, and joy, and understanding that you have managed to find yourself."

It's a lovely, warm and fuzzy novel that lives up in every way to the others in this gorgeous series.
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Format: Hardcover
I prize the First Ladies Detective Agency series for its sense of Africa and its twinkly affection for the human condition. The mystery strands are uneven in terms of depth and predictability, but even a weak storyline is usually buoyed by the pageant of Africa through McCall Smith's Botswana and its people. Especially, he has excelled at portraying the delicate balancing act of reconciling traditional culture and values with the high speed of modern life.

The Double Comfort Safari Club is an opportunity to return to the company of the protagonist, Mma Precious Ramotswe, and her friends and fellow citizens of Botswana, but I would not recommend it as the place to start in the series. It might not convince a newcomer of the series' strengths, such as the full impact of the 21st century world on traditional Africa. The puzzles are not really puzzles so much as waiting to see just how the lady detectives wrap up their cases. The solutions are more comic guile than anything else.

So, read this if you like the series; read the other volumes first if you haven't fallen for the author's charms as yet.
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