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The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series) Hardcover – April 3, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 623 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection

“Part of the brilliance of this series (now in its thirteenth entry) is that what may seem like tiny cases expand into considerations of virtue, love, ambition, greed, and evil . . . McCall Smith’s novels are both very meditative and laugh-out-loud funny. If you’ve never read a No. 1 Ladies’, now’s the time.”
Booklist (starred review)

Praise for The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series

“Smart and sassy . . . with the power to amuse or shock or touch the heart, sometimes all at once.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Enthralling . . . Mma Ramotswe is someone readers can’t help but love.”
—USA Today
“A potent mix of charm and whimsy.”
—The Christian Science Monitor
“Endearing, amusing . . . sparkles with African sunshine and wit.”
—The Dallas Morning News
“McCall Smith makes the sublime look easy . . . [He] has few peers in capturing the quiet moments of people’s lives, and his empathetic lead has one of the biggest hearts in modern literature.”
—Publishers Weekly
“Charming and hilarious . . . Sweet and timeless.”
—The Seattle Times
“A cast of characters who seem like old and cherished friends.”
—St. Petersburg Times

About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith is also the author of the Isabel Dalhousie series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, the 44 Scotland Street series, and the Corduroy Mansions series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh and has served with many national and international organizations concerned with bioethics. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and taught law at the University of Botswana. He lives in Scotland.


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Product Details

  • Series: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series (Book 13)
  • Hardcover: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307378403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307378408
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (623 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #418,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Julia Flyte TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Take a slow, deep breath, curl up in your favorite chair with a hot drink and prepare to enjoy another satisfying meal of literary comfort food. The latest instalment in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series may not win any new converts, but it will most definitely not disappoint its fans. All the familiar characters are back and their stories are woven in with little musings on subjects like always doing your best or the value of taking time out just to sit, gaze upon static things and be calm.

Ever since Mma Ramotswe embarked on her career as a private detective, her "bible" has been Clovis Anderson's book about the principles of private detection. She is thrilled to discover that he is visiting Botswana. They become friends, but it is apparent that Clovis is troubled by something. It's quite endearing to read her gushing praise of him, her assumption that he is internationally renowned, while he is clearly nothing of the sort. However they do work together on a case, which makes a refreshing change in formula.

Mma Ramotswe's case is very dear to her heart. Her friend Mma Potokwani, wants her to check the motivations of a member of the orphan farm board. As the conflict between Mma Potokwani and her foe escalates, Clovis and Mma Ramotswe will need to combine their talents to get to the bottom of the affair.

Meanwhile, Fanwell (one of the Speedy Motors apprentices) is getting himself into hot water. A favor for an old acquaintance has lead into illegal territory. And Mma Makutsi's new husband has decided to build them a new home. However the builder whom he has chosen is not particularly interested in Phuti's input and is even less interested in anything that Mma Makutsi has to say. It also appears that one of his builders is wary of Phuti - but why?

If you love this series - as I do - you are bound to enjoy this addition to it.
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Format: Hardcover
I've always enjoyed Alexander McCall Smith in just about everyone of the books he's written, including the other series; but the crowning achievement is the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books. McCall Smith has kept this series going through thirteen titles, and I'm surprised that no-one has written a review saying that this volume is not up to standard, as they did in previous Ladies' Detective" books.

In my less-than-humble opinion this book shows the same plotting skills as the previous dozen, plus I was constantly impressed by the quality of McCall Smith's writing. Some little turn of phrase begins to be something delightful, and this happens throughout the book. All the usual crew is here, doing the usual things, except for one of Mr. J.L.B Matekoni's apprentices - and it's not Charlie, for once, but the now ex-apprentice Fanwell who falls foul of the law.

One smart move by McCall Smith is to have a cast of characters who are so enjoyable we don't want anything bad to happen to them. We want those in trouble to come out on top, and we want Mme Ramotswe to uncover the truth and help out her clients, and in this book it's Mma Potokwane, the matron of the orphans farm, who is facing dismissal from her job. Add to this Phuti Radiphuti and his new bride, Grace Maskutsi are having a house built by a contractor who isn't quite following the rules. I raced through the book, hoping that all would come out well in the end.

One development that I thought McCall Smith would have trouble with was the arrival of Clovis Andersen, whose book The Principle of Private Detection has been the guide for the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency since day one.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book will not disappoint. McCall Smith reminds us through the lives of our beloved Motswana cast of the strength of human character. It is a comfort to have confirmed the goodness and decency in our fellows, to know that we can be flawed but wise, that we are not defined by our mistakes but are loved despite them. There are no surprises in the latest of volume of this wonderful series, unless it is that a series of books can be so consistently good.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For us avid followers of this laid back, tea drinking series, this latest (13th) installment brings more of the same, but with a couple of new twists and jolts to keep our interest firmly in check. It begins with a dream of a tall, well-built man standing in the shade, and follows up with the collision of Mma Ramotswe's detective job with the demands of her friends' personal life crises.

For one, her friend Mma Potokwane of the orphanage is distraught over big changes proposed by the board of Directors, which ultimately leads to her dismissal; and for two, one of the mechanics gets into big trouble with the law, and his defense counsel isn't giving them the assurance that he's going to be very helpful.

It's not all bad news though, as her dream visitor turns out be someone she respects very deeply, and her Associate and friend Grace Makutsi and her husband Phuti have begun working on their new home. Unfortunately, good news can turn bad unexpectedly, and it seems that Grace's fundamental dislike of the contractor may not be unfounded.

Together with her esteemed visitor, Mma Ramotswe starts turning rocks to see what she can dig up that will be helpful, but gets help from several unexpected quarters in unearthing the truth and putting the various cases to rest. But there is one last surprise to come.

Other than a little (forgivable) rambling about the good old Botswana days, this is an enjoyable ride over bumpy roads.

Amanda Richards, April 6, 2012
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