Reviews for Limpopo Academy of Private Detection

Booklist Reviews 2012 March #2
*Starred Review* The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is located off a dusty, rutted road in cattle-rich Botswana, housed in a tiny office next to an auto-repair shop. Two women work there: Precious Ramotswe, who is Botswana's only private detective, and her associate, Grace Makutsi (now Mrs. Phuti Radiphuti). Grace never fails to mention her 97 percent average from the Botswana Secretarial College to everyone who enters. And, it seems, everyone does: women worried that their men are philandering; people concerned over their relatives' disappearances; seekers of goods and lost people. Part of the brilliance of this series (now in its thirteenth entry) is that what may seem like tiny cases expand into considerations of virtue, love, ambition, greed, and evil. And these meditations on life come as naturally as Precious looking up into the blue Botswana sky. In the latest, the person who has been Precious' and Grace's most quoted and most esteemed fellow detective enters the premises--Clovis Andersen, author of The Principles of Private Detection. Now Precious can consult with the great man himself (who shows a surprising forgetfulness about passages in his own book) about two troubling crises in her own life. A wealthy businessman has fired Precious' longtime friend Mma Potokwane, the director of the orphan farm, and one of the apprentices at Speedy Motors has been wrongly accused of a crime. The trio embark on these cases with gusto. McCall Smith's novels are both very meditative and laugh-out-loud funny. If you've never read a "No. 1 Ladies'," now's the time. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: McCall Smith's latest Precious Ramotswe novel will get all the marketing attention it deserves, but it hardly needs much. Just hang the open-for-business sign on the door of the Ladies' No. 1 Detective Agency, and the fans will come. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 March #2
Three relatively ordinary cases for Botswana's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency are complicated by an altogether-extraordinary meeting. Mma Silvia Potokwane, the traditionally built matron of the orphan farm, tells Precious Ramotswe that there's something not quite right about board member Ditso Ditso, the well-known businessman who's insisted on building a central kitchen for the facility that will make food preparation and delivery more efficient but less loving. Soon enough, however, the matron has bigger problems to worry about: At the instance of Rra Ditso, she's fired from the job she thought she'd have forever. While Mma Ramotswe is digesting this sad news, she learns that Fanwell, the more industrious apprentice at her husband J.L.B. Matekoni's Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, has been arrested for doing illicit (and unwitting) mechanical work on stolen cars. There's even skullduggery afoot in the construction of the new home furniture dealer Phuti Radiphuti is building associate detective Grace Makutsi, whom he married at the end of The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (2011). All this might well be overwhelming even for Mma Ramotswe, who's also headed for a rare adventure outside Gaborone, if she weren't fortified by support and wise counsel from Clovis Andersen. And not just from Andersen's tome The Principles of Private Detection, her own professional scripture, but from the author himself, who turns up in her office just in time to offer help as sententious and self-effacing as it is effective. Longer but not better than the 12 earlier accounts of the Agency. Few fans, however, will want to miss the byplay between Mma Ramotswe and her revered mentor. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 March #1

Smith wisely doesn't tamper with his winning recipe for literary comfort food in his 13th excursion to Gaborone, Botswana, in the company of bighearted PI Precious Ramotswe (after 2011's The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party). An unknown tall man appears in a dream to Mma Ramotswe, and before long, one shows up for real, in the person of American Clovis Andersen, author of the bible of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, The Principles of Private Detection. Invited to the country by a woman working on an American project to build school libraries, Anderson ends up assisting his biggest fan in looking into the dirty laundry of a businessman whose plans to make the local orphanage more efficient threaten the role of its matron and its successful operation. As always, the detection is secondary to Smith's continuing exploration of the rhythms and social dynamics of smalltown African life. Agent: Robin Straus, Robin Straus Agency. (Apr.)

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