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The Kalahari Typing School for Men [Audio Cassette]

Alexander McCall Smith
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 27.42 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Audio, Cassette, April 2003 CDN $27.42  
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Book Description

April 2003

A beguiling mystery and lyrical novel of Africa -- the fourth in a series that the L.A. Times calls “thoroughly engaging and entertaining.”

Now that The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (the only detective agency for ladies and others in Botswana) is established, its founder, Precious Ramotswe, can look upon her life with pride: she’s reached her late thirties (“the finest age to be”), has a house, two children, a good fiancé -- Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni -- and many satisfied customers. But life is never without its problems. It turns out that her adopted son is responsible for the dead hoopoe bird in the garden; her assistant, Mma Makutsi, wants a husband and needs help with her idea to open the Kalahari Typing School for Men; yet Mma Ramotswe’s sexist rival has no trouble opening his Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency across town. Will Precious Ramotswe’s delightfully cunning and profoundly moral methods save the day? Follow the continuing story of Botswana’s first lady detective in the irresistible The Kalahari Typing School for Men.

From the Hardcover edition.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

The fourth appearance of Precious Ramotswe, protagonist of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and two sequels, is once again a charming account of the everyday challenges facing a female private detective in Botswana. In his usual unassuming style, McCall Smith takes up Ramotswe's story soon after the events described in Tears of the Giraffe. Precious and her fiance, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, still have not set a wedding date, but they continue to nurture the sibling orphans in their care, as well as the entrepreneurial ambitions of Precious's assistant, Mma Makutsi, who sets out to open a typing school for men. Along the way, Ramotswe handles a few cases and negotiates the arrival of a rival detective in Gaborone. The competition, a sexist detective who boasts of New York City street smarts, proves a delicious foil to his distaff counterpart. A moral component enters the story in the person of a successful engineer who wishes to atone for his past sins. He enlists Ramotswe to help him find the woman he has wronged, and this case comes to a satisfying yet hardly sentimental conclusion. But the real appeal of this slender novel is Ramotswe's solid common sense, a proficient blend of folk wisdom, experience and simple intelligence. She is a bit of a throwback to the days of courtesy and manners, and casts disapproving glances at the apprentices in her fiance's auto shop who obsess about girls instead of garage protocol. A dose of easy humor laces the pages, as McCall Smith throws in wry observations, effortlessly commenting on the vagaries his protagonist encounters as she negotiates Botswana bureaucracy. This is another graceful entry in a pleasingly modest and wise series.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

are really booming, so grab this next tale about the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Listen to the book! May 24 2004
Format:Audio CD
There is something about these books that really resonates with some readers. After reading the first novel, I did not really jump on the collective Botswana Bandwagon... I thought the books were nice, but found nothing exceptional about them. I am glad that I decided to continue with Book 2 though (that was my favorite so far in the series!) I decided to pick up the other books, starting with book 2, on Audio CD. I am much happier with the Audio CD versions than I was with reading the book. I found that reading the stories was a little tedious for me: The writing is very simplistic, and oftentimes the stories are very predictable. While these do show up in the Audio CD, I do not find myself as distracted by them as I did when I read the first two in the series. The reader, Lisette Lecat is absolutely superb. She is a native South African, and spent a number of years in Botswana. She knows the rhythm patterns and speech patterns of the people, and she distinguishes each character with a certain voice. This skill makes the dialogues much more interesting than reading them on the page, and her general narration really make the stories come alive for me. If it were not for her reading the books, I do not know if I would have stuck with this series.
The story of _Kalahari Typing School for Men_ was much like its immediate predecessor, _Morality for Beautiful Girls_. The novel focuses a great amount on the development of some characters, and leaves others "out to dry", and ultimately strays away from the things that made books 1 and 2 of the series so good: the cases, the interactions, and the values of the Botswana people. That is not to say that this book does not have any detective cases, but I find the novels have shifted from their original focus.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not really a mystery, but, excellent... Dec 1 2003
Format:Audio Cassette
A cute, sleepy private eye story told form the perspective of Precious Ramotswe, and narrated well by Lisette Lecat. In this episode, we find Precious investigating two cases: that of a philandering husband, and that of an older man who once committed a crime and wishes to make amends.
What's good about this series is not the mystery. It's the characters and settings. I really got the flavor that I was in a small town in Botswana, and I enjoyed reading about Precious and her cohorts. If I have any criticism about this novel at all, there was a lack of suspense. The investigation was almost a non-event, and there was a bit too much dwelling in the past for my taste. Part of me wanted to tell the client: GET OVER IT ALREADY. The past is over and done with.
Still, a cute story, sure to delight readers who want a slice of African life without too much gritty realism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar! June 20 2006
Alexander McCall Smith's fourth installment of his popular No. 1 Ladies Detective Agencies continues the story of Mma. Ramotswe, her fiance Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, her agency's assistant, Mma. Makutsi. For a while, Mma. Ramotswe's detective agency was the only agency in town until another agency owned by a man who had CID experience in Johannesburg and New York showed up and threathened their business. At the same time, a rich businessman showed up at the agency hoping to get Mma. Ramotswe's help to track down some people that he had wronged in the past. In addition, Mma. Makutsi, hoping to earn extra money set up the Kalahari Typing School for Men, which became a hit. I have enjoyed the other books in this series and this was equally delightful. The author focused more on the main characters' daily lives and their problems as opposed to actual cases. It's great that the readers get to learn more about the characters but at the same time, it would be better if the author had provided more cases for Mma. Ramotswe and her assistant to solve. Nevetheless, this is still a great book; it's easy to read, the characters are likeable and it's basically a fun read.

Also recommended: KATZENJAMMER by McCrae
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IRRESISTIBLE LISTENING Sept. 5 2003
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
Narrator Lisette Lecat, a native of South Africa, is a polished voice performer doubly blessed by a winning way with accents. She gives vibrant voice to the unconquerable Precious Ramotswe, proprietress of Botswana's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.
Possessed with intelligence and human intuition in an abundance that matched her girth Mma Ramotswe has familiarized herself with an instruction manual, "The Principles of Private Detection." Then, equipped with a "tiny white van,"minimal office equipment, an assistant, Mma Makutsi, and three mugs in which to brew redbush tea she opened for business.

She loves Botswana, and feels she knows "how to love the people who live in this place." It is her duty, she believes. "to help them solve the mysteries in their lives."
Much has happened since Mma Ramotswe first entertained these revelatory thoughts. Her business has flourished to the extent that she has been able to buy a home on Zebra Drive and, on the far side of her thirties, which she considers the "finest age to be" she has become engaged to Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, the proud and proper owner of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors.
Now, with the fourth in Alexander Smith's engaging series, "The Kalahari Typing School for Men," she has two adopted children in her care, and is confronted by a rival business run by a macho retired policeman who trumpets that only a man can be a proper detective.
Mma Makutsi also faces challenges. Her bank balance is anemic, and her life lacks romance. Then, quite suddenly, "a strikingly good idea" occurs to her: she would open a typing school for men.
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