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Publisher's Summary

In this thoroughly entertaining book, the best-selling, critically acclaimed author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency continues the story of Mma "Precious" Ramotswe, the clever proprietor of the only detective agency in all of Botswana.

Now engaged to Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, Mma Ramotswe must contend with the hostility of her fianci's unscrupulous maid, who quickly begins plotting the disintegration of the arrangement. Then an American woman asks for help to learn the truth behind her son's disappearance in Africa, and Mma Ramotswe has all the troubles she can handle.

Part detective story, part comedy of manners and part African travelogue, Tears of the Giraffe is an indisputable joy.

Listen to the other titles in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.
©2000 Alexander McCall Smith; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"I haven't read anything with such unalloyed pleasure for a long time." (The Sunday Telegraph)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Barbara
  • Marietta, GA, United States
  • 08-30-05

A tender tale, sweetly told

Rare is the book which is more satifying heard than read. The richness of the reader's voice, the rhythm of the language and the purity of her accent all combine to make a delicate and fulfilling dish in this early one of Smith's Precious Ramotswe stories. This tale involves an American, peripherally, whose connection to Botswana is kindly and believeably crafted. I started listening the these books out of order, and I'm going back and listening from the beginning now, which is helpful to me, but each stands alone, and the characters are consistent and wonderful. Every one of Smith's books is a love song to the people of Botswana, and to the possibilities of the heights of dignity and kindness in all of us.

This particular story contains some of the most heartbreaking circumstances one can imagine and these are handled with insight and compassion which supercedes most of the behavior on this planet. I don't know if this is an accurate portrayal of life along the Kalahari or not, but it is a wonderful one, and I thank Mr. Smith for every one of his books, and Lisette Lecat for her pure and perfect narration.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Delightful characters, setting and story

STORY (contemporary fiction) - This story is the epitome of an easy listen. The main characters are good people who always try to do the right thing. The setting is present day in a small village in Botswana, Africa, with descriptions of the wild and beautiful countryside that will make you fell like you're there. And the story is just delightful. Normally I would consider such a book slow, possibly even boring, but this is just easy and made me feel good. Not a lot happens in terms of heavy detective work - a woman seeks closure for the death of her son ten years prior, a man wants to find out if his wife is cheating, a maid tries to get the main character, Mma Ramotswe, into trouble. But Mma Ramotswe, being the good person she is, follows her heart and does whatever she thinks is right for everyone ... sometimes with a creative twist.

In this book Mma Ramotswe continues her engagement with Mr. JLB Matekone, who is a good man and a real pushover. (You will see just how much of a softie he is in this book.) I'm still puzzled as to why they have such a formal relationship for an engaged couple and why they refer to each other by their full, long names. The title doesn't make sense until the very last few sentences of the book and even then was kind of a stretch, but the ending was very good nonetheless.

PERFORMANCE - Lisette Lecat is a wonderful narrator. Almost gave her five stars. She brings old friends to life with her lovely voice and great character differentiation. Her accent, whether authentic or not, is refreshingly different and easy to understand.

OVERALL - This is Book 2 in the series. The stories stand alone, though there is character development flowing from book to book. There is no cursing or violence and only a few minor sexual references. Recommended primarily for females over age 18. This book is just easy, uplifting and enjoyable like a relaxing trip to Africa with good friends. I look forward to hearing the next book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Rebecca
  • Marshall, VA, United States
  • 12-05-03

Tears of the Giraffe Review

The reader has marvelous pronunciation and a lovely accent; the story rolls along pleasantly. Made me wish for the next edition...

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Angie
  • Kansas City, MO, United States
  • 03-21-06


After finishing the #1 Ladies Detective Agency I could not wait to listen to Tears of a Giraffe. I loved this book as much as the first. The narrator is so great and creats such wonderful characters with her voice. I have become a true Alexander McCall Smith fan and I can't wait to read more.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Elana
  • Shrewsbury, PA, USA
  • 09-17-05


This second book in the series continues in the wonderful story telling voice of Smith. I love the gentle plot twists he puts in, and his character development is superb. The reader also does a wonderful job, adding character to an already rich book, and I would rather listen to then read it.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robin
  • Knob Noster, Macau
  • 05-03-05

Every bit as good as the first book in the series

This second book in the "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series is another outstanding story. The reader is excellent and by the time you're into this second book you realize that she IS the voice of the series. You'll also want to visit Botswana as a result of this series.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Debbie
  • Toney, Alabama
  • 04-10-14

Africa is starting to feel like home . . .

The story, as well as the narration, in Tears of the Giraffe are excellent. It's been a while since I listened to the first book in the series, and as soon as I started this one, it was like meeting up with an old friend again. It's hard to explain how one can become completely engrossed in a culture and place that they've never been, but that's exactly what happens in this series. The quiet love and respect between Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and Mma Ramotswe is so sweet. The "old" African ways, the heart of Mma Ramotswe toward her detective cases, and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's love of engines in his garage. All I can say is that this series is so DIFFERENT, so refreshing, and such a blessing to the human spirit, that I can't wait to start the next one.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jan
  • NJ, United States
  • 08-24-05

Worthwhile But Slow

Tears of the Giraffe has all the charm of the first book in this series but is severely lacking in plot and suspense. It was over a half-hour of listening before there was a hint of the main mystery, and there were few of the fun side-cases to be solved. At points I found the book boring and I considered not listening to the rest. However, I am glad I listened to the whole book because there really is a lot of redeeming quality. When Precious Ramotswe gets the chance to work on a case, she demonstrates all the intelligence and common sense that made her a great character in the first book. The writer also includes discussion of such things as ?old Botswana morality,? which I found very interesting. The characters are well crafted and generally believable and I found the ending satisfying. There are some aspects of the reading that I found annoying, but otherwise, I enjoyed the reader. She did a good job making the characters distinguishable by their voices. All in all, I would recommend this book as long as the listener understands it is not strong on plot, as would generally be expected in a mystery. It takes some patience to reap the benefits this book has to offer.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sandra
  • Kansas City, MO, USA
  • 09-17-05

If you liked the first book, you'll like this too.

This is beautifully read. The reader does an excellent job with all the characters and accents. My favorite parts are the interaction between Mma Ramotswe, Mr JLB Matekoni and their family. The middle of the book lagged just a little bit for me but this is still a very good book.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • C. Telfair
  • Shepherdstown, WV, United States
  • 06-17-12

Wonderful Performance!

I have loved this series - and "Tears of the Giraffe" is my favorite. If you have read Smith but not heard Lisette Lecat's performance, then you have missed a real treat. The series has always offered a delightful respite from the "real world". Their strength is more in the gentle appeal of these addictive characters than in any traditional "mystery" in the plots. The Audio versions add so much to the experience! I will choose the audio over the written version of all Mma Ramatswe's adventures in future.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful