I bought this book because of a review I read in a magazine...can't remember which one.
Now, I have all the books in Alexander McCall's Smith's series about Precious Ramotswe, proud owner of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana.
Unlike some reviews here, I can find no fault with the books. I agree they are not complex who-done-it thrillers, but Precious Ramotswe does not lead a thrilling life. She lives at a slower pace, more in tune with nature and her intuition than those of us in western civilization. The mysteries she solves are not that difficult, but she takes great pride in her professionalism and treats each client with great care and compassion.
I particularly like the way I feel when I read about the daily happenings in Mma Ramotswe's life. I like reading about her house on Zebra Drive; her bright secretary (who scored 97% at the Botswana Secretarial College); her companion Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni; her life growing up as the beloved daughter of a devoted father who left his life's work to her so she could open her own business; her disastrous marriage; and the variety of people who seek out her professional assistance.
Some reviewers have compared Mma Ramotswe to Miss Marple. I guess the comparison fits, but it seems to me that Mma Ramotswe would prefer to belong in a category by herself....the first female private investigator in Botswana.
If you like the Jan Karon series about Father Tim and his beloved village of Mitford, then you might want to give The No 1. Ladies' Detective Series a try.
"The Tears of the Giraffe" reads almost like a fable allowing us to determine whether or not lying for good or bad reasons can be wrong. It is an interesting delimma. I absolutely enjoy the way that Smith writes his characers. Precious Ramotswe, her secretary/assistant Mma Makutsi and her fiance Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni are immediately likable and often shyly funny in the way that they interact with one another. This book brings two orphan children into Mma Ramotswe's life and leaves a door open for the next installment.
The ending of the book is left with a wonderful fable-like suggestion about baskets being woven from the tears of a giraffe because that is all they have to give us. We can all give something no matter how small or insignificant it may seem and Alexander McCall Smith has given us a true treasure here.