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Publisher's Summary

In this latest installment of the beloved and best-selling series, Mma Ramotswe must contend with her greatest challenge yet - a vacation!

Business is slow at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, so slow in fact that for the first time in her estimable career Precious Ramotswe has reluctantly agreed to take a holiday. The promise of a week of uninterrupted peace is short-lived, however, when she meets a young boy named Samuel, a troublemaker who is himself in some trouble. Once she learns more about Samuel's sad story, Mma Ramotswe feels compelled to step in and help him find his way out of a bad situation. Despite this unexpected diversion, Mma Ramotswe still finds herself concerned about how the agency is faring in her absence. Her worries grow when she hears that Mma Makutsi is handling a new and rather complicated case.

A well-respected Botswanan politician is up for a major public honor, and his reputation is now being called into question by his rivals. The man's daughter has contacted the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency to investigate these troubling claims, but, as in so many cases, all is not as it seems. In the end, the investigation will affect everyone at the agency and will also serve as a reminder that ordinary human failings should be treated with a large helping of charity and compassion.

©2015 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2015 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"Lisette Lecat, who has narrated this series from its beginning, is once again perfect for this story set in Botswana. With a relaxed pace, she sets the charming atmosphere, seeming to savor each of McCall Smith's sentences.... Lecat seems to delight in performing the voices and accents of each character, making each one distinct and memorable." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The busiest vacation ever

I have a deep affection for the characters in this book and count on "meeting" them with every new addition. Whether like me, you read every #1 Ladies' Detective book or are only an occasional consumer, this one, like the rest, balances a good detective story with a heartwarming subplot. We love the main character Precious because we want to be like her when we grow up: perfectly imperfect.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A very satisfying visit to Gaborone!

I feel the author put his best effort into this book and it is possibly my favorite of the series. It is a wonderful visit to Botswana which includes plenty of humor, many bits of wisdom, much love, and we see real personal growth in our friends. I'll listen again soon!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 02-28-16

Wonderful, marvelous, fascinating!

I started reading the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency series 4 years ago. This is Book 16 in this wonderful series. All 16 of the novels are in my Audible library, Be aware that although the novels are considered of the mystery/thriller genre, there is no suspense, little action, and only mild mystery.

What this series has is wonderful personal stories set in the African nation of Botswana. Character development is complete. This series usually appeals more to women than men (I'm a 72 year old man and I love and cherish the stories of Precious Ramotswe and her family and friends. And her detective cases.).

Lisette Lecat narrates on of the stories. She does a great job and her accent continues to fascinate me.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A delightful entry in the series

I found this to be one of the most enjoyable entries in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. We see some real character development on the parts of both Mma Ramotswe, and especially Mma Makutsi. We even get the return of the mysteriously absent Mr. Polopetse! The case itself twists in a way that I did not see coming, leading to a conclusion that promises interesting adventures ahead. And of course, Lisette Lecat's narration beautifully limns the characters we know so well.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A wonderful visit with old friends

Precious Ramotswe's friends and family decide she needs a holiday. One clue she really does need a break may be how ready she is to suspect Mma Makutsi of a wicked desire to take the agency away from her. Sanity prevails, Rra Polopetsi, now working part-time as a science teacher, volunteers to help out while she is gone, and Mma Ramotswe commits to a two-week holiday.

But she's staying home, and the idea is to "do nothing," which Mma Ramotswe is of course incapable of.

Reorganizing her food cabinets takes some time. Tea at the President Hotel chatting with some other ladies is a good way to kill an hour or so. But on her return to her little white van, she finds it has been scratched--presumably by the boy who promised to "watch" it and "keep it safe: for the low, low price of just four pula--two on deposit. She quickly finds and catches the boy, called Samuel, and is quickly drawn into his story. The exploitative woman who has been "caring for him" and teaching him to steal and extort does not know what she has met with when Mma Ramotswe arrives at her front door.

But meanwhile, there's still the agency, and Mma Ramotswe can't help wanting to know what's going on, with Mma Makutsi in charge, and just Charlie and Rra Polopetsi to assist her.

She quickly learns that a new client has come in, the sister of a local political figure who has recently died. There's a proposal to name a street for him, but it has been stalled by the anonymous information that there is some kind of scandal in the man's past. The sister wants Mma Makutsi to find out what is really going on, so that her brother can be cleared, and honored.

Or that's what she says.

But why did Mma Makutsi take the case, start investigating, and then pass it Rra Polopetsi? Why does she refuse to budge from this when Rra Polopetsi--who, after all, is a chemist, not a detective--is clearly frustrated and distressed, distressed enough to go to Mma Ramotswe about it even though she is on holiday? And who is behind the sudden appearance of the No. 1 Ladies' College of secretarial work?

Mma Ramotswe can no more take a holiday than she can stop drinking red bush tea.

This is a wonderful visit with old friends, and as always, the mystery is really the B plot. The real meat here is the relationships among the regular characters, the growth of those characters, and the impact they have on those around them.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 11-19-15

Delightful

I am a number one fan of Alexander McCall Smith’s No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. Smith has no foul language, no explicit sex scenes or violence in his books. Instead we have great storytelling mixed with humor and a moral message wrapped around fascinating character with some human insight mixed in. To top it all off Smith adds some history and travelogue of Botswana into his story.

Our protagonist is Mma Precious Ramotswe the owner of the agency. Her assistant is Mma Makutsi who made 97 percent on the final examination from the Botswana Secretarial School. Mma Ramotswe is taking a vacation for one week. This is her first vacation with all the misgivings that it implies and she leaves Mma Makutsi in charge. In this story Mma Ramotswe observes “an act of selfishness, some small unkindness, could seem every bit as grave as a dreadful crime, the size of the secret said nothing about its weight on the soul.” Precious sets out to right the wrong and set a young child onto the right moral path.

Lisette Lecat brings the audiobook to life with the correct accent and pronunciation of the Setswana words. I read the first part of the series in book format then changed to audio; for this series I will only do audio as Lecat brings Ramotswe to life.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Diana
  • Antelope Valley, CA, United States
  • 10-31-15

A peaceful and cherished re-visit . . .

. . . with beloved characters.

Not the best of the series, but a quiet plot . . . a journey of happenings with beloved characters being who they are . . .

At times, the narrator appeared to slip into "Violet Sepoto's" (spelling?) voice on the main characters . . . but not a big deal . . .

This book served to satisfy my longing for a revisit to the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency . . . and it was an enjoyable couple of days listening to the story and the narrator's beautiful voice.

I hope the author doesn't feel forced to continue to write to fulfill the readers' demands for more . . . it's such a lovely series with the best characters I've come across and I hope the author enjoys writing these books . . . because they are surely wonderful, human, and insightful. They give me joy, hope, and a chance to smile with humanity.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Superbly done!

As ever, Alexander McCall Smith writes lyrically and Lisette Lecat reads beautifully. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Perhaps the best of AM Smith!!

Story and pacing were perfect! This is a heartfelt wonderful story and performance. I can't wait for the next!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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My Favorite Stories

Love it as I do this entire series
Wholesome listening , pleasureable. Have heard each one. Feel I know the characters personally.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful