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Tea Time for the Traditionally Built: The New No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel


by Alexander McCall Smith (Author)

Review

“Delightful . . . The warm humanity infused throughout [McCall Smith’s] novels . . . is what beings readers back . . . There is a simplicity and lyricism in [the] language that brings out the profound importance of . . . everyday revelations."
–San Francisco Chronicle

“Witty, charming and a delight . . . Wonderfully entertaining.”
–Tucson Citizen

“A literary confection of gossamer deliciousness . . . There is no end to the pleasure that may be extracted from these books.”
–Janet Malcolm, The New York Times Book Review

“Beautiful in spirit . . . Botswana and its way of life are described in exquisite detail . . . Delightful . . . Positively uplifting.”
–Winston-Salem Journal

“Enthralling . . . [Mma Ramotswe] is someone readers can’t help but love.”
–USA Today



From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

Review
“Delightful . . . The warm humanity infused throughout [McCall Smith’s] novels . . . is what beings readers back . . . There is a simplicity and lyricism in [the] language that brings out the profound importance of . . . everyday revelations."
–San Francisco Chronicle

“Witty, charming and a delight . . . Wonderfully entertaining.”
–Tucson Citizen

“A literary confection of gossamer deliciousness . . . There is no end to the pleasure that may be extracted from these books.”
–Janet Malcolm, The New York Times Book Review

“Beautiful in spirit . . . Botswana and its way of life are described in exquisite detail . . . Delightful . . . Positively uplifting.”
–Winston-Salem Journal

“Enthralling . . . [Mma Ramotswe] is someone readers can’t help but love.”
–USA Today

"Maybe the real problem with the modern world [was] not enough of us were prepared to share our chairs.", April 21, 2009
By Mary Whipple (New England)


Not believing that "progress" necessarily improves Botswana society, Mma Precious Ramotswe, the "traditionally built" owner of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency in Gaborone, has decided that cars are among the biggest agents of change, making people lazy. She has therefore decided to walk the two miles each way to her office, located beside the garage where her husband Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni operates a car repair service. She secretly admits, however, that the real reason she is walking is that her beloved (and famous) little white van, now twenty-two years old, is making strange noises, and she fears that when Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni hears them that he will decide her little van can no longer be repaired.

More sentimental and less plot-based than some of the earlier novels in this endearing series, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built intersperses local stories, gossip, and legends among several (sometimes thin) plot lines--Mma Ramotswe's love for her little white van and her unhappiness about its possible future; the mysterious case of the Kalahari Swoopers, a great football team that is losing too many games; the fate of the romance between Mma Grace Makutsi and her fiancé, Mr. Phuti Radiphuti, after he hires glamorous (and designing) Violet Sephotho to work in his furniture shop; and the case of a woman who is trying to live with two husbands.

Mma Ramotswe's innate kindness, and her belief that "there is plenty of work for love to do," dominate her life: "We [are] all at the mercy of chance...," she says, "and when we dismiss or deny the hopes of others...we forget that they, like us, have only one chance in this life." Her husband, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, is equally thoughtful, donating one day every two weeks to help a needy friend keep abreast of his work. Characters familiar to readers of earlier novels also make their appearances here: Charlie, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni's apprentice, still does not like to work; Mr. Polopetsi, a man saved from disaster in a previous novel, offers advice to Mma Ramotswe; and Mma Potokwane, who runs the orphanage, drifts in and out of the action here, too, always in need of help.

"Cozy," in the warmest sense of the word, the novel makes readers feel good about life, about principled women like Mma Ramotswe, about the pace of life which allows people to slow down and be kind, and about the value of communication and good will in solving problems. Though Mma Makutsi believes that "The trouble with this country [is] that there are too many people sitting down in other people's chairs." Mma Ramotswe, by contrast, believes "that not enough of us [are] prepared to share our chairs." n Mary Whipple

The Miracle at Speedy Motors (No1 Ladies Detective Agency 9)
The Kalahari Typing School for Men: More from the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Book 5)
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Book 6)
The World According to Bertie, part of the delightfully different 44 scotland street series

The Charles Dickens of our day, April 21, 2009
By C. Catherwood "writer" (Cambridge UK and Richmond VA)


Alexander McCall Smith is the Charles Dickens of the 21st century (and a good deal more cheerful and fun to read). This is the perfect book for a global recession: keep the economy going and buy 10 copies for all your friends! People have said about his books that nothing happens: this is untrue. Plenty happens in this one, especially for poor Mma Makutsi! But the pace of life is wonderfully slow, and this is one of the great strengths of this book, as one of the top lawyers in the City of London told me some while back: it is the perfect antidote to the frenetic pace of life we all live today and is thus essential reading for these troubled times! And our favourite characters are themselves in this book: we end up loving them more than ever! Buy 10 copies for all your friends and keep the economy going! This is the ideal therapy for recessionary times and huge fun! Christopher Catherwood (author of A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MIDDLE EAST and other books)

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