Summary and book reviews of Tears of The Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith

Tears of The Giraffe

by Alexander McCall Smith

Tears of The Giraffe
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  • Paperback:
    Sep 2001, 208 pages

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Book Summary

"This is a superior piece of detective fiction, written in simple, direct but effective prose. Perhaps most importantly, this novel offers a refreshingly positive picture of an African nation - and probably deserves a wide audience in the West on those grounds alone."

In 1999 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency received two Booker Judges' Special Recommendations and was voted one of the ‘International Books of the Year and the Millennium' by the Times Literary Supplement.

Tears of the Giraffe takes us further into the life of the engaging and sassy Precious Ramotswe, the owner and detective of Botswana's only Ladies' detective agency. Among her cases are wayward wives, unscrupulous maids and a challenge to resolve a mother's pain for her son, who is long lost on the African plains. Mma Ramotswe's own impending marriage to that most gentlemanly of men, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, the promotion of her secretary to the dizzy heights of Assistant Detective and new additions to the Matekoni family, all brew up the most humorous and charmingly entertaining of tales.

Chapter One

Mr J.L.B. Matekoni's House

Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, found it difficult to believe that Mma Ramotswe, the accomplished founder of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, had agreed to marry him. It was at the second time of asking; the first posing of the question, which had required immense courage on his part, had brought forth a refusal — gentle, and regretful — but a refusal nonetheless. After that, he had assumed that Mma Ramotswe would never remarry; that her brief and disastrous marriage to Note Mokoti, trumpeter and jazz aficionado, had persuaded her that marriage was nothing but a recipe for sorrow and suffering. After all, she was an independent-minded woman, with a business to run, and a comfortable house of her own in Zebra Drive. Why, he wondered, should a woman like that take on a man, when a man could prove to be difficult to manage once vows were exchanged and he had settled himself in her house? No, if he ...

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About This Book
Tears of the Giraffe finds Precious Ramotswe firmly established as Botswana's first and only lady detective. She's not getting rich, but she's not losing money either, and under the imaginary ledger for happiness, her account is full. Indeed, she is about to marry Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, owner of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni is a thoroughly honest and loving man, a man whose generous impulses not only send him to the local orphanage to fix a water pump free of charge but also, somehow, bring him home with two small children. Now Mma Ramotswe has not only a husband but a family to care for, something she had not allowed herself to hope for after her own child died at birth.

But into this rich, full ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

Toronto Globe and Mail

This is an utterly delightful tale...the elegant formal language and smooth-flowing style add charm.

Publishers Weekly

Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency) offers the second installments of his dignified, humorous Botswanan series. In Tears of the Giraffe, PI Precious Ramotswe tracks a missing American man whose widowed mother appeals to Ramotswe; meanwhile, the imperturbable detective is endangered at home by her fiance's resentful maid.

Edinburgh Review

This is a superior piece of detective fiction, written in simple, direct but effective prose. Perhaps most importantly, this novel offers a refreshingly positive picture of an African nation - and probably deserves a wide audience in the West on those grounds alone.

Sunday Telegraph - Anthony Daniels

The author's prose has the merits of simplicity, euphony and precision. His descriptions leave one as if standing in the Botswanan landscape. This is art that conceals art. I haven't read anything with such unalloyed pleasure for a long time.

Scotland on Sunday - Susie Maguire

The writing is unfussy, the voices clear and unique, filled with a sort of grave, humorous directness which is refreshing and charming. Alexander McCall Smith has hit upon one of the most pleasing fictional worlds I have visited for years.

Author Blurb John A. Broussard, I Love A Mystery Newsletter
All in all, McCall Smith has managed to turn out a fascinating picture of the African countryside and the people who occupy it...Read as a glimpse into the lives of people still relatively untouched by Western materialism, there will be no disappointment.

Reader Reviews

Alan Koval

An enjoyable and fun read .... very uplifting. A total delight and I can't wait to read the rest of the series

Michael Fine

After returning from a week in Botswana's Okavango Delta, I was desperate to continue the connection and was delighted to read two of Alexander McCall Smith's Mma Ramotswe novels. They do the heart good as the right triumphs in a particularly sweet ...   Read More

Anne

A delightful view of life as it is in today's Africa. This lovely mystery is enhanced by the believablity of the characters and the plot. A totally unique read for the Western mind. Look for the next book in the series.

CEB

Perhaps not the best book for a college course, I must say. A great book for a fast read however (I read it in a few hours one Sunday) and entertaining. A refreshing story that puts morals back into American minds. NOT for those looking to challenge ...   Read More

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