The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Book 5)

by Alexander McCall Smith

Hardcover, 2004

Call number

MYST SMI

Collection

Publication

Pantheon (2004), Edition: 1st, 202 pages

Description

Mma Ramotswe has been engaged to Mr. J.L.B Matekoni for quite some time, and still they have no weeding date. But she doesn't want to be too pushy, for Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni has much on his mind. Mma Potokwani, who runs the orphan farm, has tricked him into a parachute jump to benefit charity.

User reviews

LibraryThing member bragan
Book number five in Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. This time, Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's first female private detective, investigates a rich woman's potential suitors and deals with a fiance who can't say no to performing a dangerous stunt for charity, but can't say yes to setting a date for the wedding.

Like the rest of the series so far, the most apt word for this one -- and I mean this in the best possible way -- is "gentle." It's a gentle story about gentle people (mostly), featuring gentle ruminations, the gentle suggestion of a plot, and a gentle sense of humor. Actually, that last thing is very much in evidence this time out, and I found myself smiling or even laughing (gently!) quite a few times as I read. Which is enough to make this probably my favorite of the series so far.
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LibraryThing member jayne_charles
Anyone who has read this far in the series will have decided they like the simple narrative style, quiet wisdom and gentle humour of the stories. This one is no exception and should not disappoint. I particularly like the way the author takes a facet of Western culture (eg the tendency to avoid eye contact with others) and contrasts it with the custom in Botswana, showing along the way that of course Botswana has it right!

My only complaint is that the book cover needs to make it clearer which number this is in the series. There is no number on the cover, and the books are frequently listed out of order on the inside cover. Particularly important as the stories are starting to concentrate a lot less on detecting and a lot more on the personal lives of the central characters. I would say that given the content, you would really not want to read this book out of sequence.
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LibraryThing member reading_fox
More trouble with the apprentices in the Garage as more caes involve Precious Ramotswe and her Detective Agency. In addition her engagement has dragged on for a long time, will Mr. JLB Matekoni ever set a final date? The of course there are the growing pains fo rhte children and the ever pushy MMa Potokwani of the orphan farm.

This being McCall Smith we already know that all the answers will be positive, the women worthy and the men weak, however it is still a joy to read. I suspect this may in parts be almost auto-biographical - told as the life and times of Mr JLB Matekoni. Still very enjoyable.
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LibraryThing member heidialice
Fifth in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, the major case in this one is investigating possible suitors for a wealthy woman.

Like the others in the series, this is a quick, fun read. There is something very heart-warming about the quick-witted and ever-practical Mma Ramotswe.
LibraryThing member Eruntane
Another good and heart-warming story from the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Maybe not as well put together as some of the others - the different strands of the story didn't mesh very closely - but apart from that it was great.
LibraryThing member WittyreaderLI
This series gets better and better each time I read it. This latest installment contains the usual assortment of interesting characters along with the lovable Precious Ramotswe
LibraryThing member alanna1122
I can't believe how good this whole series has been. It has to be one of the most consistently charming series ever written. Such a delight!
LibraryThing member euang
The title says it all. Life is a very "full cupboard" here.: In his fifth novel about the #1 Ladies Detective Agency, run by Mma Precious Ramotswe, author Alexander McCall Smith presents the full cupboard of Botswana life in all its richness. For Mma Ramotswe, people and their relationships are paramount, and she believes that these relationships are facilitated by Botswana's traditional code of behavior, with its customs of greetings, sitting down together, drinking bush tea, and casually talking around a subject, rather than addressing it aggressively. Life is a rich, full, and happy experience for Mma Ramotswe, who can find out everything she wants to know from her broad network of family and friends. Engaged to the good-hearted Mr. J.L.B. Matakone, who has not yet set a date for a wedding, she helps him surreptitiously with his problems and cooks and cares for the two orphans he has taken into his home.In this novel, full of gentle humor and wisdom, Mma Ramotswe and her friends face several "difficult" problems: A woman who has made a fortune establishing hair-braiding salons hires Mma Ramotswe to find out whether her suitors want to marry her for her money. Mr. J.L.B. Matakone finds himself tricked into "volunteering" to do a parachute jump, in order to raise money for the Orphan Farm run by the intrepid Mma Potokwane, who refuses to take no for an answer. He is also disturbed to discover that First Class Motors, a rival garage, has sold improper parts and failed to service a classic old Range Rover correctly, and he has been procrastinating about confronting the garage owner or reporting him to authorities. Mma Makutsi, the assistant at the detective agency, has been so successful running the Kalahari Typing School for Men at night, that her dream of renting her own house has now come true, and Mma Ramotswe is helping her to furnish all two rooms.
With an obvious lack of exciting plot lines, the reader focuses completely on the characters-- beautifully drawn, sometimes flawed, and always forgiven their faults. In a leisurely pace, McCall Smith recreates the colorful everyday lives of these ordinary people, who treasure friendships, treat each other with respect, and possess inherent good sense. Honoring the values that contemporary readers sometimes do not take the time to preserve, McCall Smith portrays complex social relationships in very simple and direct prose. Warm, gently humorous, and loving, McCall Smith creates a kind of vicarious nostalgia for this way of life, a nostalgia which readers will continue to indulge and treasure as the series continues. Mary Whipple
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LibraryThing member riverwillow
Another gentle and deceptively simple read - I love the world that McCall Smith has created whether or not it has anything to do with the real Botswana.
LibraryThing member seoulful
Another hit from Alexander McCall Smith with the further happenings of his wonderful characters in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Smith has a keen insight into character that causes us to recognize truth and perhaps see the faults in ourselves that are gently and sometimes not so gently revealed. In this fifth book in the series we see Mma Potokwane of the Orphan's Farm in her best manipulative and managerial form, but always with a good cause in mind. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni is spared a charity parachute jump engineered by Mma Potokwane, but ends up at the altar through her very ingenious arrangements. All's well that ends well in a book that as others in the series can be read again and again with repeated enjoyment.… (more)
LibraryThing member fizzy_fizz1
The ideas are getting boring to read now. I have read all the other ones too and loved the relaxed, laid back style of writing, but now I am too used to reading it.
LibraryThing member mysteena
I listened to this on audiobook and it did not go over well. Those of you who are familiar with the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency know that the main characters names is Mma Precious Ramotswe. It's the "Mma" that drove me crazy all through the book. Before when I read these books, I assumed that Mma was an abbreviation, sort of like Mrs., which translated into a word. Not so. It is actually pronounced M-m-a. The narrator sounded like she stuttered every single time she said Mma. It drove me crazy. Mmmmmmmmmmma Ramotswe....Not fun to listen too. In my opinion, some books that are fun, light reads just do not translate well to audio books. This series is one of those. The narration gets very repetitious. But **spoiler alert** I was very happy that they finally got married :)… (more)
LibraryThing member OzzieJello
All the books in this series are a delight. I read all of them straight through, one after the other, stopping only because I'm waiting for my copy of "The Good Husband of Zebra Drive" to arrive. If it were possible to actually spend some time with the main characters, it would be a pleasure. I'd even try redbush tea.
LibraryThing member debnance
That's it. I've read themall. The sixth book is"forthcoming." Sigh.
LibraryThing member chmessing
One word - FINALLY! Read the series and you'll understand :o)
LibraryThing member alandavey
Charming, funny and endearing. I want to go nd live in Botswana.
LibraryThing member phoebesmum
More from the Number One Ladies Detective Agency, and there’s not much more to say about it than that. Sweet, but unmemorable.
LibraryThing member Venqat65
Yet another installment in the series. A nice read. The long engagement finally comes to an end!
LibraryThing member readingrat
Not the best book in the series but it still maintains the same easy, relaxed pace and the funny, lovable characters that are hallmarks of the whole series.
LibraryThing member ChristinaTL
Love all the books in the series - fascinating stories of human life - why we do things we do.
LibraryThing member Figgles
I am thinking about the appeal of these books. Not much happens, there isn't even much detection, but they are delightful. People going about their lives, dealing with their daily problems, but with kindness and respect. Ma Ramotswe takes the case of a woman trying to find out if her suitors are after her money, Mr J. L. B. Maketoni has to deal with a rival garage and a frightning proposition from Ma Potokwani - and when oh when will he set a date for his wedding? Lovely.… (more)
LibraryThing member mysteena
I listened to this on audiobook and it did not go over well. Those of you who are familiar with the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency know that the main characters names is Mma Precious Ramotswe. It's the "Mma" that drove me crazy all through the book. Before when I read these books, I assumed that Mma was an abbreviation, sort of like Mrs., which translated into a word. Not so. It is actually pronounced M-m-a. The narrator sounded like she stuttered every single time she said Mma. It drove me crazy. Mmmmmmmmmmma Ramotswe....Not fun to listen too. In my opinion, some books that are fun, light reads just do not translate well to audio books. This series is one of those. The narration gets very repetitious. But **spoiler alert** I was very happy that they finally got married :)… (more)
LibraryThing member jepeters333
Mma Ramonswe has been engaged to Mr. J. L. B. Matakoni for quite some time, and still they have no wedding date. But she doesn't want to be too pushy, for Mr J.L.B. Matekoni has much on his mind.
LibraryThing member isabelx
There was a side door to the house, and she opened this and peered out into the yard. The paw-paw trees had incipient fruit upon them which would be ready in a month or so. There were one or two other plants, shrubs that had wilted in the heat but which had the dogged determination of indigenous Botswana vegetation. These would survive even if never watered; they would cling on in the dry ground, making the most of what little moisture they could draw from the soil, tenacious because they
lived here in this dry country, and had always lived here. Mma Ramotswe had once described the traditional plants of Botswana as loyal and yes, that was right, thought Mma Makutsi, that is what they are - our old friends, our fellow survivors in this brown land that I love and love so much.


In this, the fifth instalment of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, Mma Potakwani, the matron of the orphan farm at Tlokweng, manoeuvres Mr J.L.B. Maketoni into doing a charity parachute jump, Mma Makutsi moves house, and Mma Ramotswe investigates a rich business-woman's suitors to find out if they are only after her money.

While reading this book, it occurred to me that Mma Ramotswe would be perfect for a Botswana version of the "Grumpy Old Women" television series, since she is always lamenting how the old Botswana ways and traditional values are in danger of being lost in the modern world.… (more)
LibraryThing member kimreadthis
This was another enjoyable read. The characters are easy to relate to and, in my opinion, are growing and becoming less "perfect" and more nuanced (especially Mma Ramotswe). I enjoy the recurring minor characters as well, as we are learning a bit more about the apprentices and Mma Potokwane.

Pages

202

ISBN

0375422188 / 9780375422188
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