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on November 28, 2016
Cheerful and intriguing, so easy to read. I love the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series!
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on September 1, 2016
I read this one right after the 1st in the series. Although this is the 4th book the author gives a nice recap and gets us up to speed with the slow paced life of our characters. Enjoyed it as much as the first.
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on February 3, 2014
The Kalahari Typing School for Men is an extremely interesting story. McCall's great concept and an outstanding execution came up with a story like this that deserves all the applause that it has been given. I greatly enjoyed the book and recommend it to readers interested in McCall's stories or interested in books about Africa.I equally liked The Usurper and other Stories, Graceland, The Cupboard full of life. It is short to read, fast-paced and entertaining. Loved it.
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on 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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on May 24, 2004
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. However, one thing that I did like about this book is the increased role and development of Mma Makutsi. She is a great characters, and until book 3, Mma Makutsi existed in the shadows. I look forward to seeing her develop more in the next books.
I plan to LISTEN to book 5 very soon.
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on December 1, 2003
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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on June 23, 2003
"The Kalahari Typing School for Men" is the fourth novel in Alexander McCall Smith's spectacularly successful series about a lady detective in Botswana. Precious Ramotswe is facing new challenges. A rival detective agency opens up nearby, and Mma. Ramotswe is worried about the competition. The two orphans whom she and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni adopted are having problems. In addition, Mma. Ramotswe is worried about her assistant, Mma. Makutsi, who cannot seem to find a husband.
However, Mma. Ramotswe is an optimistic person by nature and she tries to set aside her worries. One way to forget her troubles is to take on new clients. Mma. Ramotswe accepts the case of a woman who suspects that her husband is being unfaithful. Another client is a wealthy man who wants Mma. Ramotswe to find two women whom he had wronged in the past. He wishes to apologize to them and make amends for his bad behavior.
As in his earlier books, Smith's writing is sweet, funny, understated and touching. Mma. Ramotswe again displays her keen insight into human nature and her empathy for those who are in pain. "The Kalahari Typing School for Men" is written simply but it is never simplistic. This novel will delight Alexander McCall Smith's fans, and it will make readers of this series impatient for the next installment.
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on June 13, 2003
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency has problems--a new competitor run by a man has opened in town. And with Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni returning from his long bout with depression, there's the problem of how to pay Mma. Makutsi--who has served as assistant detective and also acting manager of Matekoni's garage. Still, although the competitor threatens to steal some of their business, Mma. Ramotswe has some detecting jobs to do--including finding the people a client wronged many years before and whether a husband is cheating on his wife. In the meantime, Mma. Makutsi comes up with a brilliant idea--a typing school for men--men who wouldn't be caught dead in a secretarial college like Mma. Makutsi attended, but who need keyboard skills for their jobs. It's an ideal solution to her money problems and also a convenient way for the single Makutsi to discover a man.
Author Alexander McCall Smith loves Africa, its traditional ways of life, and the ways that its people (at least the people of Botswana) treat one another. His No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, including THE KALAHARI TYPING SCHOOL FOR MEN are practically poetic in their praises of this traditional way of life. Mma. Ramotswe is the protagonist in these stories and the central pillar for tradition. Her detecting and the solutions to her clients problems flow from these African traditions (as interpreted by Smith) and prove heart-warming even in the midst of poverty and the AIDS crisis that has destroyed so much of Africa (AIDS is not mentioned by name in this novel but its impact is clear to see). Whether Smith's view of Africa has anything to do with the real continent is something I won't even attempt to decide, but it is certainly his view and his love for this Africa is obvious and compelling.
Smith's beautiful writing makes KALAHARI an enjoyable read that can be savored or swallowed in a gulp. The characters of Mma. Makutsi and Mma. Ramotswe are well drawn and interesting. KALAHARI is anything but a thriller, but it makes a wonderful diversion from the everyday.
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