The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series)

by Alexander McCall Smith

Hardcover, 2012

Call number




Pantheon (2012), Edition: 1st, 257 pages


"Precious Ramotswe is back and, as usual, her plate is full! She's called in to tackle a mysterious disciplinary problem at her adopted daughter's school...Her infinitely trustworthy assistant, Grace Makutsi, is having trouble adjusting to wedded bliss, a problem to test even the formidable talents of Mma Ramotswe...And the estimable Clovis Andersen, author of The Principles of Private Investigation--the No. 1 Ladies' prized manual--has arrived, right there, in Botswana, on a case of his own. Bush tea anyone?"--

User reviews

LibraryThing member jnwelch
If you haven't read and liked one of the Precious Ramotswe books in Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, I recommend giving the first one a try. They're charming and often wise.

They're set in Botswana, where the author once taught law, and feature a gentle humor and warmth that makes reading them feel like taking a short vacation from our daily pressures. They are mysteries, but typically involve the good sorting out, and outwitting, the wicked and greedy. In The LImpopo Academy of Private Detection an auto shop assistant is unjustly accused of being involved in a stolen car racket, and formidable Mma Potakwane is dismissed for shady-appearing reasons from administering the orphanage she has given her life to. Can "traditionally built" Precious Ramotswe use her clear-sightedness and resolve to save both? There's a timely surprise appearance by the author of the book she learned her detective skills from, as the some of the underlying motivations prove hard to bring to light.

These books also have wonderful characters - Precious is insightful, unflappable, maternal and tradition-observing - chastising, for example, a company CEO for chewing a toothpick in front of an out-of-country guest. Her assistant, Grace Makutsi, is inordinately proud of her high score in secretarial college and finds shoe-buying difficult to resist, but also has her own keen instincts and is fiercely loyal. Precious's solid, reliable, common sense husband J.L.B Maketoni, his auto shop assistants, Grace's stutter-prone beloved Phuti and many others brighten the stories and become welcoming friends for the returning reader.
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LibraryThing member mamzel
Precious Ramotswe and her associate detective, Grace Makutsi, have a small detective agency in Gabarone, Botswana. They are both married to hard-working and respectable men so life is good for them. They celebrate their good fortune by helping others who are not so fortunate. In this case, the director of the orphanage, Mma Potokwane is told that she is relieved of her duties. She objected to the orphanage's board of directors who decided to consolidate all of the small houses that shelter the orphans and make one large kitchen and dining facility. No more shall the wee ones run around the kitchen of their own house, watching their house mother fix their meals, steal a taste of dinner, and sit around a small table enjoying a real family-style meal. Now they must all share a large, impersonal hall. Mma Ramotswe and her husband are very connected with this orphanage. Rra J.L.B. Matekoni has always been available to help with repairs around the facility and after they married, they adopted two of the orphans.

One of Rra Matekoni's apprentices got himself in a fix, too. He helped a friend repair a car that turned out to be stolen and managed to obtain a lawyer that must be the worst in the world.

Mma Ramotswe also receives a visit from a very special person!

No blood, no violence, no hi-tech toys. Just a heaping dose of traditional values, respect, attention to others, and lots of love.
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LibraryThing member Neale
The series just keeps getting better. This my favorite so far because the famous Clovis Anderson arrives in Botswana. Many twist in this one. Read and enjoy.
LibraryThing member Figgles
More of the same from Alexander McCall Smith, but gloriously so. Further adventures in the life of Mma Ramotswe, her family and friends, reminding us that love is more important than business and that if you change someone's life for the better that's no less important than making a big splash in the world. Loved it.
LibraryThing member arielfl
I love this series and all of the characters in it. I highly anticipate the latest installment every April. In this outing we have Mma Potokwane being removed from her position as matron of the orphan farm by a very bad man, Fanwell, Mr. J.L. B. Matekoni's apprentice has been arrested, and Grace and Phuti are having problems with the construction of their new house. Best of all, the famous author of the Principals of Private Detection, Clovis Anderson, arrives in Botswana! Of course evil is never allowed to triumph over good and Grace and Mma Ramotswe put all to right at the end with the aid of many cups of tea.

The gems of wisdom in these books are so wonderful. For example Mma. Ramotswe advises Grace never repay rudeness with rudeness because it never teaches a rude person how to behave better. I may have to work on that one. The loving way marriage and family is portrayed is so refreshing too. These books reaffirm family values, kindness, and manners. I always look forward to a visit to the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.
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LibraryThing member Golden.G
This is one of my favorites from the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. I love it that "Clovis Anderson" appears in person in this novel. He contributes to the rescue by Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi of two of their friends.
LibraryThing member LadyoftheLodge
Excellent recent addition to the popular series. I was happy to see all the regular characters return. The ending provided a set up for the next book--I hope there are many! The characters are like family members for me.
LibraryThing member tututhefirst
Another wonderfully gentle and entertaining episode in the lives of Mma Precious Ramotswe, Mma Grace Makutsi, Mma Silvia Potokwane, Phuti Radiphuti, and the rest of the colorful, gracious and sometimes nefarious characters we've come to know and love in this series about life in Botswana.

Those of you familiar with the series may think there's nothing new that can possibly to added to the adventures of the employees of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and their families, but the appearance of the hero of the ladies' endeavors, Clovis Anderson himself (author of the bible of private detection) and three separate problems makes this one a fresh and exciting read.  Grace and Phuti are building a house, Mma Potkwane is trying to keep from being fired as director of the orphans' home, and Mma Ramotswe is trying to prove that one of Mr. J.L.B. Matekone's workers does not deserve to be in jail.  With Mr. Anderson's help, they are able to bring everything to a suitable Botswana conclusion.

These are well-written, classically crafted stories.  The mysteries are almost an afterthought.  McCall-Smith gives us characters who are so human, so devoted to goodness that they could become saccharine.  Instead, the author allows them to make mistakes, become depressed and discouraged, and exhibit some pompous behavior that could be hurtful to others.  Through it all, their dedication to maintaining the "Botswana way of life" brings us not just a good ending, but a feeling of wanting more.  If you haven't yet been to the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, grab one of these tranquil tellings of stimulating mystery stories and settle back for a feel good read.
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LibraryThing member lynndp
This book will not disappoint fans of Precious Ramotswe and the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (of whom I count myself an early member). If anything, they will be delighted to learn about the mysterious Clovis Anderson as well as further the stories of Grace Makutsi and her husband Phuti, the kind-hearted, hard-working Fanwell, and the here-to-fore indomitable Mma Potokwane, matron at the Orphans Farm. If you are unfamiliar with this series, this is the 13th book. Your enjoyment would be doubled by starting with the first (simply, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency) and count yourself lucky that you have so many wonderful hours ahead of you. One last recommendation: If you are off-put by the unfamiliar Botswana character names, please consider listening to the first book so that you will "hear" the names smoothly as you read the next ones.… (more)
LibraryThing member Limelite
Miracle of miracles! Clovis Anderson, the author of Mma Ramotswe’s Bible of detection arrives from America on a visit to a friend who is building libraries in schools across Botswana. During his stay, he pays a visit of “professional courtesy” to Mma Ramotswe who can use his help.

The small and relatively quiet world that is Gaborone seems to turn upside down as Fanwell is arrested for working on stolen property; Mma Potokwani is dismissed as director of the orphanage; and Rra Rhadiputhi discovers that his builder is cheating him.

It takes all Mma Ramotse's, Mma Makutsi's, and Clovis Anderson’s detective skills to figure out who the bad people are and how to foil them. And even they could not have achieved success without the help of the good honest citizens of Botswana in the personages of a cosmetician, a bumbling lawyer, an old man on a donkey cart, and an honest carpenter who may be working in Botswana illegally.

Possibly McCall Smith’s tenderest and most great-hearted novel in this series. I have been reading these stories for 15 years and still yearn for more. Smith has created a desire in me to visit Botswana to pursue my belif that its real citizens are as delightful as they seem to be in his charming novels.
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LibraryThing member khiemstra631
Another in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, and I now rate this one as my current favorite of them all. The two detectives are having to reassess their relationship to one another since Mma Makutsi's marriage to Phuti Radiputi. And, Mma Potokwane has been forced out of her job as head of the orphanage. The two detectives undertake to help her get her job back with the help of a famous visitor who has turned up on their doorstep. I will not say more as the identity of this visitor provides one of the great surprises of this book. This is truly a book that brings smiles to the face of the reader throughout. It's a gentle, charming read and not to be missed by fans of the series.… (more)
LibraryThing member smik
When I watched the TV series just recently I was a little disappointed but I couldn't pinpoint just what was missing. It wasn't just that Jill Scott didn't quite fit my mental image of Precious Ramotswe. The content of the stories seemed rather thin and he-who-watches-TV-with-me read his paper because he thought the episodes were rather trite.

But now I know what was missing! What the books contain that I so much enjoy. I'm pretty sure that I have read the whole series, so I'm pretty well acquainted with all the characters. What the books contain is the carefully chosen language with that subtle touch of humour that conveys Mma Ramotswe's thoughts and feelings.

Followers of this series won't be disappointed in THE LIMPOPO ACADEMY OF PRIVATE DETECTION. The stories feel fresh and while there's no murder there's plenty of everyday life, the stuff that makes these cozies so satisfying. There's no doubt about it - McCall Smith has created a cast of characters that we care about.

You'll notice that I have included THE LIMPOPO ACADEMY OF PRIVATE DETECTION under Africa in the 2012 Global Reading Challenge. The novels in this series are very firmly based in Botswana and frequently contain reflections on how Botswana is coping with the modern world. For example Clovis Andersen and Precious Ramotswe talk about how words are disappearing from the language and she often talks about the loss of traditional values. And on a deeper level the novels raise issues about how modern economics is destroying traditional and human structures.
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LibraryThing member purlewe
Another installment in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. I know that words like charming and sweet are not typical words that people like to hear in reviews.. but these novels, set in the heart of Botswana are simply that. They fill me with joy when there is another installment. And this one continues that trend.
LibraryThing member sriemann
How McCall Smith manages to write a wonderful book every year, I can't fathom... but he does and I will be sorry when this series reaches its conclusion. The 'special guest' was a nice touch - readers of the whole series have probably had similar questions about them as they have read. I liked how those questions were dealt with. Hoping for a number 14...… (more)
LibraryThing member hailelib
The story of Mma Ramotswe and her friends is continued in this addition to the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. In this one, there is an unexpected visitor from the U.S., who is most welcome at the detective agency, and the usual problems to be sorted out. A nice read for fans of the series.
LibraryThing member etxgardener
The 13th book in the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series is just as charming as the very first book that I read. As usual Precious Ramotswe is busy solving problems and straightening out people's lives. This time Fanwell, the competent apprentice at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors finds himself in trouble with the law and saddled with the4 world's worst lawyer. Grace Matkutsi and Phuti Radiphuti are building a new house, but is the builder totally honest? And worst of all Mma Potokwane, maton of the orphan farm, has been dismissed from her post.

It seems like the world is going off in an unpleasant direction and Mma Ramotswe is determined to get justice for her friends. And then unexpectedly, help arrives in the form of none other than Clovis Anderson, the author of The Principles of Private Detection, the book hat has guided Mma Ramotswe in all her years of running the No. 1 Ladsies Detective Agency. With Clovis Anderson on board, can she possibly not solve the mysteries presented to her?
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LibraryThing member JanicsEblen
I do enjoy this series by Mr. Smith. I enjoy seeing how the ongoing characters are changing their lives. My only problem with this particular book is that I did not feel the "detective" story like was as strong or good as others in the series. I certainly would not discourage others from wanting to read this book.
LibraryThing member addunn3
Three plots - house construction, stolen cars, and orphan matron on the outs. With Clovis Anderson, it has to be a good read!
LibraryThing member Aspenhugger
"In this beloved, best-selling series, the kindest and best detective in Botswana faces a tricky situation when her personal and professional lives become entangled.

"Precious Ramotswe is haunted by a repeated dream: a vision of a tall, strange man who waits for her beneath an acacia tree. Odd as this is, she's far too busy to worry about it. The best apprentice at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors is in trouble with the law and stuck with the worst lawyer in Gabarone. Grace Makutsi and Phuti Radiphuti are building the house of their dreams, but their builder is not completely on the up and up. And, most shockingly, Mma Potokwane, defender of Botswana's weak and downtrodden, has been dismissed from her post as matron at the orphan farm. Can the No.1 DetectiveAgency help restore the beloved matron to her rightful position?

"As wealthy and powerful influences at the orphan farm become allied against their friend,help arrives from an unexpected visitor: the tall stranger fromMma Ramotswe's dreams, who turns out to be none other than the estimable Clovis Andersen, author of the No.1 Ladies' prized manual, The Principles of Private Detection. Together, Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi, and their teacher-turned-colleague help right this injustice and in the process discover something new about being a good detective."
~~front flap

The difficulty with comfort reads and sometimes with series, is that they grow predictable, and a little less wonderful and even a little boring. The last book in this series fell into that unhappy category. This book was a little more lively, had more interesting plots & subplots, and in general was a better read. If you've liked the series before, you will probably like this one too.
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LibraryThing member nancenwv
I think this is the best book in the series. I really enjoyed it.
LibraryThing member bragan
Book 13 in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. This one features an exciting surprise visitor, some shady contractors, and a very rough time for both Mma Potokwane of the orphan farm and Fanwell the mechanic's apprentice.

As usual, it's all very low-key, although it almost feels like maybe it's just a little more focused on the plot stuff than usual. Which isn't saying much, really, as the plots are never the selling points in these books, anyway.

In any case, I will say this this definitely isn't my favorite of the series, although that just means that it was only a very quick, pleasant read that made me smile or laugh from time to time, rather than giving me a ridiculous all-over case of the warm fuzzies.
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LibraryThing member MomsterBookworm
This, 13th book in the 'No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency' series, is almost a whirlwind with so many things happening to the central characters and occurring so close to home. This story has a lot of heart.
LibraryThing member annertan
Another wonderful book about Botswana. I just love the pace of their life. The ending was a surprise. I hope we see more of Clovis Anderson in future books.
LibraryThing member DekeDastardly
This is the first of the No.1 Ladies Detection Agency franchise books I have read. I don't know the chronology of McCall Smith's work, but having previously read, and much enjoyed, a number of his 44 Scotland Street series, this felt like an attempt to replicate the languid Bohemia of his middle class Scotland in a southern African setting, and for me it just doesn't work.
The narrative is written in black African voices but lacks the authenticity of the true native writer. I couldn't help but wonder if the somewhat fortuitous and rather inexplicable introduction into the proceedings of the token awkward white man character, Clovis Anderson, is how the author sees himself amongst his African friends, clumsy, yet revered. There are small redeeming features, some of the sub plots are interesting, such as an ongoing court case involving a stolen car and potential wrongful conviction but even there, as throughout the book, McCall Smith seems to be stuck in an old colonial mindset in describing the behaviour of all involved from the officials to the accused.
Not a book that will live long in my memory and an experience which has down graded my opinion of the quality of this author's output.
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LibraryThing member jepeters333
With all the events happening around her, it is hard for Precious Ramotswe to pay attention to the dream that she keeps having, the one where a mysterious man is waiting for her under a tree. But soon the dream comes to life as her personal life and career collide.




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