Tears of the Giraffe

by Alexander McCall Smith

Paperback, 2002

Call number




Anchor (2002), 256 pages


Mma "Precious" Ramotswe is now engaged to Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, the kind owner of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. This new development provokes a hostile reaction from Mr. Matekoni's unscrupulous maid, who quickly begins plotting the disintegration of the engagement. Despite all this, duty calls, and Mma Ramotswe is asked to help find an American woman's son who has been missing in Africa for 10 years.

User reviews

LibraryThing member pbirch01
After enjoying the first book in the series, I was excited to read Tears of the Giraffe. The second book is very similar to the first book in terms of its pacing and narrative. Both plots seem to pass slowly under the Botswana sun while the actual physical book goes by very quickly. Smith takes a slightly different tack in this book by using it as a quasi-soapbox. Smith, through his characters, rants a lot about youth of today and their lack of morals. It is never clear who he is directing this to as most of the comments are from the characters inner thoughts. Smith also adds many superfluous details and it almost seems that he is showing off his knowledge of Africa. In a light read such as this, the preachy tone quickly becomes tiring and makes me think twice if I want to read the third book in the series.… (more)
LibraryThing member seoulful
Another heartwarming addition to Alexander McCall Smith's series on the dramas and mysteries surrounding the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency of Gaborone, Botswana. We are pulled into the conflict between the languid, mannered rituals of old Botswana and the new materialistic values of the rising generation as we watch Mr J.L.B. Matekoni's inability to understand his lazy assistants at the mechanic shop and our heroine Mma Ramotswe's sadness in dealing with rampant infidelity in marriages and other assorted problems of morality as she goes about her work. Written with gentle humor and insightful character development.… (more)
LibraryThing member InnahLovesYou
It is a book that brings me peace when I read it. Learning about the life in Botswana and this bright woman that is achieving the things she believes in is just so inspiring and amusing! Great book!
LibraryThing member hpalmete
After reading the first book in this series I couldn't wait to read this second installment. Invariably in this situation I end up disappointed but I am happy to report that this was not the case here!. The descriptions of Botswana (which I would have skimmed over mercilessly in any other book) were as remarkable as ever and Mma Ramotswe was an even more engaging character than in the first novel.

The storytelling style differs slightly in this book but I found myself pleased with the results. The stories of the cases in the first book were no more than vignettes really. In this second novel the cases have more depth and even take more than one afternoon for Mma Ramotswe to solve. I enjoyed this tweaked style a great deal.
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LibraryThing member lkernagh
McCall Smith continues to enthrall me with this second book in his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. I really like how he manages to weave connected stories together, allowing the reader to enjoy the mysteries while at the same time obtaining a better insight into the day-to-day lives of the characters against the Botswanan backdrop. These stories fit into what I consider to be cozy/comfort reads. They involve ordinary people facing problems/concerns centered around human relationships. It is this focus on societal and familial bonds that makes these such a joy to read. I also like how McCall Smith maintains a theme of morality through the stories, having Mma Ramotswe face moral dilemmas when assessing potential harm that may occur if a certain course of action is taken, or not taken, as a result of the investigation. As you can imagine, some gentle directional input from Mma Ramotswe is usually required. These stories are not stories of high-flying suspense or riveting chase scenes, and I like them for that very reason. If I want high suspense, I will pick up a thriller to read.… (more)
LibraryThing member debnance
I'm beginning to know what it is about books that appeals to me. Two of the things I love in books were present in this story: simplicity and the affirmation of the goodness of life. I am ready to read book 3 now!
LibraryThing member readingrat
This is more of a character driven story than you usually find in a traditional cozy mystery story, which is probably why I like this series better than I like most cozy mystery series.
LibraryThing member xicanti
In the second volume of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, Mma. Ramotswe deals with her upcoming marriage as she tackles some more cases.

This was a very pleasant, enjoyable book. The author's love of Botswana and its people shines through on every page. The book is as much a celebration of Africa as it is a detective story, and it makes for some heartwarming reading.

McCall Smith has approached his plot a little differently with this second installment of the series. The first book read like a set of interconnected short stories; this one has a much more definite flow to it. The story centres around Mma. Ramotswe's upcoming marriage as she deals with housing, husbandly concerns and the issue of children.

It's these personal concerns that form the backbone of the book, not the detective agency's cases. These fade into the background,to a certain extent; there are only two of them this time around, with one carrying through the entire book and the other inserted as a subplot. There is slightly more emphasis on detection than there was in the first book, but the cases still rely mostly on intuition and Mma. Ramotswe's knowledge of human nature. There are very few clues, so the reader isn't really able to unravel the mysteries alongside the heroine. The book is far from a traditional mystery; I'd recommend it more to fans of stories that deal with human concerns than to readers of traditional detective fiction.

All in all, this was a good read. If you liked the first book, I'm sure you'll enjoy this one.
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
Things are changing for Mma Ramotswe, but she takes them all in her stride. It is a pleasure to read about her unflappable wisdom, her caring heart and those around her who love her so.
LibraryThing member f3r1n4
Mma Ramotswe is my favorite detective (after Hercule Poirot). She solved the problem in a very elegant way, in a simple way.
LibraryThing member booksbooks11
Loved yet another of McCall Smith's classics. Just how does he write with such love and warmth, the characters inhabit your heart from the first page. Read it if you want to feel a big warm hug round your heart.
LibraryThing member kapibara
I really liked this one - even better than the first one. I was enchanted with the way the author intertwined the characters and events. A very touching view of Africa and its people.
LibraryThing member reading_fox
This part flows better than the original work, with a greater continuity of stories.

Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni - Precious's fiancee brings home tow children from the orphange. This doesn't alter their relationship or impact upon the detective agnecy which still manages to outwit the male liars and cheats which apparently abound in Botswana. Still told in a wonderful charming style, full of social commentary - for example on Freud, 'why shouldn't boys love their mothers, this seems very normal thing to me'.

A delightful read. The 'cases' are not difficult to solve but the personallities are wonderful.
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LibraryThing member John5918
A charming book which showcases the best of African life and culture, in stark contrast to the view of Africa normally presented in the media.
LibraryThing member jepeters333
Precious Ramotswe tracks a wayward wife, uncovers an unscrupulous maid, and searches for an American man who disappeared into the plains many years ago. In the midst of resolving uncertainties, pondering her impending marriage to a good, kind man. Mr. JLB Matekoni, and promoting her talented secretary (a graduate of the Botswana Secretarial College, with a mark of 97%), she also finds her family suddenly and unexpectedly increased by two.… (more)
LibraryThing member mrtall
A pleasant little diversion. This installment in the 'Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series set in Botswana barely qualifies as crime fiction, but it's enjoyable on its other merits -- a gentle tone, good characters, and a strong sense of place.
LibraryThing member LiteraryFeline
The second in the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, this particular mystery was as witty as the first. This book was written in a simple style, at times slow paced, and yet a fairly quick read when able to sit down and actually do some reading. The story is set in Botswana and tells the tale of Precious Ramotswe, the only female detective in Botswana. It is not so much a story focused on the mysteries she investigates, but more on the relationships between the characters, the moral dilemmas that the characters encounter, and about the culture that strongly impacts the behaviors and thoughts of each of those characters. The main character is loveable and charming in her wit and intellect. It’s light and fun reading.… (more)
LibraryThing member alanna1122
Again - i find myself both charmed and soothed by the writing of Alexander McCall Smith. What a lovely world he has created around his character Mma Ramotswe. Reading these novels is like taking a gentle vacation with a good friend. My only complaint is that they are too quickly over!
LibraryThing member missmath144
Culturally interesting, but the story itself moves very slowly.
LibraryThing member Djupstrom
A fun series. It makes me want to up and go to Botswana!
LibraryThing member bibliophile26
This is the second book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective series. Mma Ramotswe and her mechanic fiancé make arrangements concerning their engagement and marriage, including where they are going to live and Mma’s engagement ring. This book reads more like a novel rather than a collection of cases, but it was still enjoyable.
LibraryThing member 1morechapter
This is the second book in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. I read the first book earlier this year and enjoyed it very much. A light-hearted mystery like this was perfect for the late night hours of the read-a-thon.

In this book, Mma Ramotswe gets more cases and a very big surprise from her fiancé. She continues to solve them in her own unique way, and the “surprise” might just be enough to change her mind about him. I definitely plan on continuing this series when I need a break from more serious reading. A very fun, light mystery series.… (more)
LibraryThing member Ice9Dragon
I've been listening to this tale as I drive and fly and sometimes as I go to sleep at night. I'm not sure what is more entrancing, the lyrical voice of the narrator or the sweet prose of the author. The music and the dust, the heat and the pulse, the pace and poetry of the life in Botswana,

I'm in love with all of it. I can taste the dust in my mouth and feel the heat blister my skin. No author has painted the people and a place with more enticing artifice.

The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency has me enthralled with the simple stories that ring so true. Pain talk and simple themes, but so much love, and life...in Africa.
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LibraryThing member Blakelyn
Just as enjoyable as the first! Mma Romatswe finds herself with new mysteries to solve and a brand new family. This is one of the most leisurely book series I've ever read, and I look forward to reading book 3!
LibraryThing member myrie
my mom keeps tjata on me for this one so I guess I´ll give it a try even though I´m not into criminals.. I like tea.




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