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The Full Cupboard of Life by Alexander…

The Full Cupboard of Life (2003)

by Alexander McCall Smith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (5)

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3,701631,415 (3.85)84



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Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
I just love this series.

Finally! Precious Ramotswe and Mr J L B Matekoni get married. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 13, 2016 |
After reading the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency a couple of years ago, I accumulated a few of these, and went through 6 in less than a month. They're very quick reads - I read 2 and part-of-a-third in one day.

They're very entertaining, charming, and compulsively readable. Although marketed as mysteries; they're not, really. Rather they follow Mma Ramotswe and those around her through their daily lives - it's almost besides-the-point that the business she runs is a detective agency. The stories are suffused with McCall-Smith's obvious sincere love of Africa (where he grew up), and the reader feels that a genuine window has opened up into the lives and mindsets of ordinary Africans. I don't agree with many aspects of Precious Ramotswe's view on the world, and I probably wouldn't get along with her in real life - but these books made me feel like I might understand people like her more than before.

However... there's also a weird aspect to the books. They're so relentlessly cozy. It's not that McCall-Smith ignores the poverty, the devastation of AIDS, the lack of education, etc... these things are acknowledged, but then almost swept to the side. On the one hand, it's a celebration of the spirit of the people of Botswana and their love of their homeland... but on the other hand, it sometimes feels like a minimization of these things. It's not just larger social issues: there's domestic abuse, adultery, etc... all the normal foibles of humanity (although all reference to sex of any kind are totally non-existent)- but all the unpleasant things somehow get almost drowned out in the cozy, feel-good atmosphere of the books. Maybe it's just that I usually read darker, grittier material [especially in mysteries {McCall-Smith is no Stieg Larsson!}] but it felt a bit strange to me. I can't decide if it's a detriment or a positive asset to the books.

In 'The Full Cupboard of Life' Mma Ramotswe is beginning to get a little antsy about her engagement - which is stretching out indefinitely, with no wedding date set. Mr. JLB Maketoni is a fine man and a great, honest mechanic - but his issues with depression make him a little indecisive when it comes to important matters such as marriage. However, he's sometimes easily pushed into things too - and here he finds himself terrified to have been pushed by the matron of the orphan farm into sorta-of agreeing to do a parachute jump for charity. Meanwhile, a wealthy woman hires the detective agency to investigate the possible ulterior motives of her multiple suitors. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
This book and the second are my favorites so far, for different reasons, and the author has become one of my top faves. The story and the author's writing style is such that I have gone from book to book with no gap in between, eager to find out what happens next. In fact, it was hard for me to stop the flow and write this, but I felt I had to while the material was still fresh because it is the funniest so far. There were several moments when I laughed out loud and could not stop chuckling, the funniest of which was Mma Potokwane's announcement that the time had come to get Mr. J. L. B. Maketoni to the altar and her plan of how to go about it. Another was the joke that Mma Makutsi played on the two apprentices about the most handsome man. I dare anyone to read those without laughing (chapters 13 and 16)! I read the book in one day, like the others, and immediately wanted to start reading it again just to savor all the funny moments. The author has such a funny way of describing the power of dominant women over men and the Batswana way. How could this book not get five stars? ( )
  Hermee | Jun 27, 2015 |
The Full Cupboard of Life is book 5 in the No.1 Ladies Detective series by Alexander McCall Smith. Another great book, more of the same really (that's not a bad thing!). Mr J.L.B.Matekoni is asked to perform a parachute jump, and he and Mma Ramotswe finally get married. The mystery in this installment serves to further explore the ideas of marriage, love and commitment which are key. I did feel there was a little too much space dedicated to recapping the previous books. ( )
  eclecticdodo | Jun 22, 2015 |
loved the learning aspect ~ all descriptively included as part of the day to day and character development ~ lovely! ( )
  FHC | Jun 13, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alexander McCall Smithprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bronswijk, Ineke vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hanssen, TorilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kern, ElisabethTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Precious Ramotswe was sitting at her desk at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Gaborone.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375422188, Hardcover)

Here is the fifth novel in the internationally bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency hit series. Once again we are transported to Gaborone, capital city of Botswana, and into the world of Mma Ramotswe and her friends.


Mma Ramotswe and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni are still engaged, but with no immediate plans to get married. Mma Ramotswe wonders when a wedding date will be named, but she is anxious to avoid putting pressure on her fiancé. For indeed he has other things on his mind -- particularly a frightening request (involving a parachute jump) made by Mma Potokwani, the persuasive matron of the orphan farm.

Mma Ramotswe herself has weighty matters on her mind. She has been approached by a wealthy lady to check up on several suitors. Are these men interested in her or just her money? This may be difficult to find out, but it’s just the kind of case Mma Ramotswe likes and she is, as we know, a very intuitive lady.

Meanwhile, Mma Makutsi -- plucky assistant detective and deputy manager of the Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors garage -- is moving. Her entrepreneurial venture, the Kalahari Typing School for Men, is thriving and with this new income she has rented two rooms in a house. Her spare time is occupied with planning the move, the décor and her new life in a house with running water all to herself.

In the background of all this is Botswana, a country of empty spaces and echoing skies, a country so beautiful and entrancing that it breaks your heart. Mma Ramotswe has prepared the bush tea and is waiting for us to join her.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:20 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In this fifth novel in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, we are once again transported to Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, and enter the world of Mma Precious Ramotswe and her friends. Mma Ramotswe is engaged to Mr. J. L. B. Matchani. She wonders when the wedding date will be set, but she is anxious to avoid putting too much pressure on her fiance. For, indeed, he has other things on his mind - notably a frightening request made of him by Mma Potokwane, the pushy matron of the Orphan Farm. And there is the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency to tend to. Mma Ramotswe has been hired to determine whether the several suitors of a wealthy woman - who made her fortune in hair braiding salons - are really interested in her, or only in her money. A difficult task, but no one can match Mma Ramotswe in resourcefulness and spot-on intuition.… (more)

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