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Publisher's Summary

Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are approached by their part-time colleague, Mr. Polopetsi, with a troubling story: A woman, accused of being rude to a valued customer, has been wrongly dismissed from her job at an office furniture store. Never one to let an act of injustice go unanswered, Mma Ramotswe begins to investigate but soon discovers unexpected information that causes her to reluctantly change her views about the case.

Other surprises await our intrepid proprietress in the course of her inquiries. Mma Ramotswe is puzzled when she happens to hear of a local nurse named Mingie Ramotswe. She thought she knew everybody by the name of Ramotswe and that they were all related. Who is this mystery lady? Then she is alerted by Mma Potokwani that an unpleasant figure from her past has recently been spotted in town. Mma Ramotswe does her best to avoid the man, but it seems that he may have returned to Botswana specifically to seek her out. What could he want from her?

With the generosity and good humor that guide all her endeavors, Mma Ramotswe will untangle these questions for herself and for her loved ones, ultimately bringing to light important truths about friendship and family - both the one you're born with and the one you choose.

©2017 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2017 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The House of Unexpected Sisters

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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18th novel and I'm still enchanted and addicted!

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series is set in southern Africa in the the capital city Gaborone of the landlocked country of Botswana. Authored by Scotsman Alexander McCall Smith who lived for years in Botswana, the 18 book series is a different kind of modern detective series with interesting small cases with minimal suspense and lots of time for of deep and sometimes consequential discussions accompanied with red bush tea and possibly even fruitcake. I have previously reviewed Books 1, 4, and 14-17 in the series and have listened to all novels in the series at least twice. I love the series and have all of the novels in my Audible library. All 10 of the major characters and especially Precious Ramotswe are like old friends of mine. The characters are more vivid than one can imagine without listening to the novels. As always there is lots going on in this novel but the major event is at age 42 Mma Remotswe finds for the first time she has a sister, and she meets her. I started reading the series in printed format before becoming an Audible member. When first joining Audible I purchased the first several audio books and quickly learned that the wonderful narration of Lisette Lecat makes the novels even better.

28 people found this helpful

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End This!

I rarely review books now, as Audible has essentially erased the usefulness of the system. But this listen - and "Precious and Grace" before it - deserve an honest warning for fans of the series.

Mma Ramatswe and her friends and associates have been a part of our lives for many years now. We have appreciated the care, respect, and even love that Alexander McCall Smith put into these people and Botswana. They came alive and are remembered fondly for their quiet wisdom and appreciation of the values and rhythms of another culture.

So, I am devastated to report that these last two volumes, at least, are not worthy of our dear friends. Achingly slow and even ponderous, the conversations that used to be gently funny and wise are now shadows and impersonations (approaching mockery!) of our missing characters, leading nowhere and adding nothing to what little story there is. The repetition is inexcusable and excruciating. Caricatures have replaced living people.

If Mma Ramatswe were reviewing these later books, I believe she would say something like: "Thank you, Rra Smith, for bringing us and Botswana to life. But, dear friend, realize that we have pretty much left your stage, and you are no longer giving value to our dear fans. Do you not think, Rra, that, if you no longer have anything to add to our story, perhaps you should wrap it up? We will always be grateful to you, but, no more, if you please!"

16 people found this helpful

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The best one in years!

These are always good books, but this one was better. A bit more of the love of Africa came through. There was a kind of passion in it that has been missing in the last few, though all of them are entirely readable.

First, Lisette Lecat is a brilliant narrator. She is one a very few narrators so good I will read a book where she narrates just because it's her. Her ability to give the perfect accent for a region is unmatched by any other narrator I've heard. My husband, who doesn't usually listen, stopped what he was doing to listen to this.

"She's really GOOD," he said, after which launched into my explanation of her being one of top narrators ever.

The story is typical for these stories. No murders, no gore, no violence. A mystery to be solved, leads to be followed, More important, relationships to be managed, dealt with, understood.

I always feel like crying a little when these books end. Especially, this one.

16 people found this helpful

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Makes my heart happy

I have yet to figure out why these stories touch me so. There are now a TON of Precious, Grace, and Mr. JLB Matekoni stories (you have to be following the series to get this reference) and each one feels like a private conversation you're having with a friend. Charming is the first word that comes to mind, but that doesn't convey the feeling of being in the company of friends and relatives I get as I listen to these. I heard a news report mention Botswana and it felt like they were talking about my hometown. Not that's how a long-running series should make you feel.

9 people found this helpful

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Another great visit with old friends

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency has two tricky cases to navigate. One involves a widowed mother of two young children who has been fired from her job at an office furniture company. She insists that the stated reason--that she was rude to an important customer--is completely false, but even if it isn't, it seems strange to fire a long-time, excellent employee for a single offense.

As Mma Makutsi leads the investigation of events at the office furniture store, Mma Ramotswe is drawn into learning more about an operating theater nurse in Lobotswe--a nurse named Mingie Ramotswe. She thought she knew everyone in Botswana who shared her not very common last name, but Mingie is a complete surprise. Who is she?

This is as always a gentle story, ruled by Mma Ramotswe's belief that kindness is never wasted, and that forgiveness is important. In the office furniture store investigation, Clovis Anderson's precept that nothing is ever what it seems is central. In the matter of Mingie Ramotswe, Precious Ramotswe makes the painful discovery that she might need to forgive her deceased, much-revered father, Obed.

It's another excellent visit with old friends.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

8 people found this helpful

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18 Lovely Books! Another pleasant visit.

Every book is a wonderful, peaceful, sane experience. Slightly different, some with a bit of life's comedy, all with insightful observations of people, and beautiful descriptions that light up our virtual senses.

This eighteenth book of the series started with a bit of a pensive undertone in Lisette Lecat's wonderful voice but picked up in places. This book even had a car chase, although still in Botswana's pace.

It is hard to describe how much peaceful joy these books bring.

The ending . . . Africa, Africa, Africa, Africa, Africa, Africa . . . Africa . . . so pensive, beautiful, and haunting.

Please don't let this be the last dear Alexander McCall Smith . . .

8 people found this helpful

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Meh

I usually enjoy Mr McCall Smith's work, and have enjoyed this series in the past, but this story just dragged on so tediously, I actually couldn't force myself to finish it. So sorry. Perhaps others would find spending time in the company of such banal characters more enjoyable, but I just couldn't stick it out.

7 people found this helpful

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So disappointed

I have absolutely loved all the books in this series, up until now. The author was overly philosophical and preachy. When he finally got to the plot, he would get side tracked and go on and on about stuff irrelevant to the story, and again, preachy. It was very sad to read this book, I was stunned at how awful it was. I have thoroughly enjoyed the previous 16 books, and loved the characters, and recommended this series to all my friends. But in this book the characters seemed stale, predictable, and boring. So sorry to say these things. I am reluctant to get the next one.

4 people found this helpful

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Enchanting

I am a big fan of The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency. Each year I eagerly await the arrival of the next book in the series. I must say this book is far more complex or complicated than the prior episodes. Reading the book is like taking a trip to Botswana. AMS provides a look at the culture as well as beautiful descriptions of the land. I can see the sun rise over the acacia trees and hear the bells on the cattle heading out to pasture for the day.

Smith has a gentle and easy to read writing style. I enjoy the delicate humor and Mma Ramotswe’s philosophizing over bush tea. Reading the book is like a visit with old friends. When I finished the book, I am left feeling pleasantly happy and pondering Mma Ramotswe’s moral question.

The book is nine hours twenty-nine minutes. Lisette Lecat does an excellent job narrating the book. Lecat was born in South Africa and does the accent, pronunciation and rhythm of Botswana perfectly. Lecat is an actress and voice-over actor. She does voice roles and audiobook narration in three languages.

4 people found this helpful

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Such a good book

Not a "ker pow" book, no super heros, no super villains, but such a real feel for the people of Botswana. At times the book seems to lag, but I don't think it does, it's the talent of the author to install the lag of real life into the story without loosing the story line. This isn't an action movie, it's the story of good people in Botswana, and a darn good detective story too. I read the first couple of books, but I will buy every one of the series for sure.

4 people found this helpful

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