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Alexander McCall Smith
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prizes little-noticed June 8 2008
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
We're all familiar with the big miracles: the little child as sole survivor of an airplane crash or the earthquake victim pulled alive from rubble a week after the event. Precious Ramotswe, however, is sensitive to the other kind, the little miracles with long-term meaning for family affairs. Founder of The Number One Ladies Detective Agency of Gabarone, Botswana, Precious has been rather miraculous in her own right. She solves others' problems, counsels her colleague, Grace Makutsi. Precious has also has an ongoing miracle with her husband, Mr JLB Matekoni, owner of Speedy Motors on the Tlokweng Road. But all that good fortune, and the notoriety gained thereby, seems to have produced an enemy, who is sending her threatening letters.

McCall Smith's many volumes in this series has allowed him to fill and strengthen his regular characters, while introducing drop-ins who never fail to leave an impact. Charlie, Mr JLB Matekoni's shop apprentice is a fine example. Appearing regularly in a minor role, Charlie seems readily predictable: brash, self-centred and arrogant, he seems destined never to mature. Is he a candidate for things miraculous? McCall Smith's portrayals are the foundations around which these fine stories are constructed. This may well be the peak effort, a finely written and gripping tale of mystery and resolution.

Precious' skills as a detective are on full display here, as is her humanity. She faces a serious challenge from the letters. Tracking down their originator will be a daunting task. Is she up to facing a serious enemy? Woven into this story is a shift in Mr JLB Matekoni's relations with Precious. A sudden act of independence might lead to tragedy for the family and his workshop.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
My favorite books in this series are filled with authentic stories of Africa and her people. As the series has developed, it's often reading more like people anywhere rather than Africans.

The Miracle at Speedy Motors examines the themes of marital love, parental responsibility, honesty, jealousy, commitment, bonding, handling mistakes, and friendship. In keeping with the detective focus of the series, there are cases to be solved. A woman wants to find an unidentified person. Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi receive threatening letters. A landlord wants to get rid of a tenant.

The focus of the book, however, is on the relationships among the continuing characters, especially Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and Mma Ramotswe, Mr. Phuti Radiphuti and Mma Makutsi, Mma Ramotswe and Mr. Polopetsi, and Mma Makutsi and Charlie in the garage. You also get to read more about Mma Potokwane and Motholeli than in most of the other books.

What made the book special to me were the heart-felt commitments that some of the characters made towards doing the right thing, no matter what. Alexander McCall Smith loves people and when he expresses that love through his characters it feels great just to be alive.

I found Mma Makutsi more annoying than usual in this book, and not nearly as funny in her foolish scenes. Otherwise, I would have graded the book at five stars. I hope that the next book will focus more on Precious and her family.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A cup of tea, a slice of cake, and thou May 13 2008
By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAME TOP 1000 REVIEWER
The ninth book in the series brings both woes and wisdom for the ladies of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. This time there are only two clients with cases to solve, but the domestic affairs of Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi take centre stage.

Mma Makutsi and her splendidly named fiancé Phuti Radiphuti are closer than ever to setting a date for the wedding, but when she picks out a snazzy new bed with red hearts on the headboard, she gets more heartache than she bargained for.

Mma Ramotswe is concerned over the growing outspokenness and self-confidence of Mma Makutsi, who after all, is soon to be married to the owner of a thriving furniture store, but she can't stop to dwell on the situation, because her own husband Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni has been talked into spending a fortune on a miracle cure for their daughter.

As far as the cases go, Mma Ramotswe has to find the family of a client who doesn't know her own real name, her birthday, or even if she has any family at all. Mma Makutsi's case is to find out whether a tenant is pulling a fast one on his landlord. At the same time, both ladies are trying to solve the mystery of the menacing letters.

After lots of awkward moments due to wrong conclusions, mistaken beliefs, incorrect information and erroneous assumptions, the ladies realize that the best road to happiness is to be true to yourself, honest to others, and to recognize the everyday miracles that we often take for granted.

For those now starting the series, the titles so far are:

The No.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Book #9 in the series Aug. 18 2012
By peteyh
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this instalment of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. I love the characters (although I find Grace Makutsi annoying at times) and a bit more time was spent on the relationship with the children in this one. A couple of mysteries for the ladies to solve and a misadventure with a heart-shaped bed made for another delightful read.
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