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The Kalahari Typing School for Men by…
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The Kalahari Typing School for Men (2002)

by Alexander McCall Smith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (4)

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4,318821,145 (3.85)149

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English (77)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (81)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
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 Kalahari Typing School for Men,' Mma Makutsi opens her own side business - teching typing to men who might find office skills useful, but might be embarrased to go to a secretarial class poopulated by women. She also has a hope of meeting a nice man... Meanwhile, one of Mr. JLB Maketoni's lazy apprentices has a religious conversion, the orphaned foster children deal with emotional issues, and the detective agency has to deal with a new problem - competion from a rival business. Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe handles the case of how to deal with a man who is guilty over having treated his first girlfriend poorly, many years ago. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
I am still hooked on the characters in this series! I love how things always work out in the end. Moving on to the next book! ( )
  Erika.D | Jan 28, 2016 |
Despite being about detectives, this isn't a mystery or whodunnit type of novel. It's not remotely like a thriller - there's not a lot of action, and it's quite slow-paced. It's really more reminiscent of a village-type book, except that it's set in a small town in Africa rather than somewhere in the UK. There are snippets of information about Botswana throughout the book, mostly in the thoughts or speech of the characters, and they seem realistic. Mma (which appears to be the equivalent of Mrs) Ramotswe often deplores the changing, materialistic society that's growing up around her.

It's all quite well woven together, and the story flows reasonably as far as the plots go. What made it less enjoyable was the very stilted language style. Perhaps it was supposed to reflect the way that people with second language English would speak, or perhaps it's a quirk of the author. Whatever was intended, it wasn't a relaxing read as I kept finding that the style jarred, at least until I got used to it.

There were one or two places that made me smile slightly but it wasn't the highly amusing style that the blurb suggests. Moreover, despite a great many thoughts being expressed in full rambling detail, the characters all seemed one-dimensional. I really couldn't care about any of them, and while I read to the end to see how the various plots resolved themselves, it wasn't with any great enthusiasm.

Only just over 200 pages of relatively easy reading, and it was a struggle to finish in four days. Sometimes I simply couldn't stand more than a chapter at a time.
( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
I love this series of books!
  Big_Blue | Sep 29, 2015 |
I really enjoy this series of books along with others written by Alexander McCall Smith. They always just suck me in. This one involves a new detective agency opens in the area -- one advertised as being operated "by a MAN". What will the competition be like? Precious's assistant takes on a sideline business of her own -- that of the titled Kalahari Typing School For Men. Will it be a success? ( )
  kp9949 | Aug 22, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alexander McCall Smithprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bertola, StefaniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is for Amy Moore, Florence Christie, and Elaine Gadd.
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I must remember, thought Mma Ramotswe, how fortunate I am in this life; at every moment, but especially now, sitting on the verandah of my house on Zebra Drive, and looking up at the high sky of Botswanna, so empty that the blue is almost white.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 140003180X, Paperback)

THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY - Book 4

Fans around the world adore the bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, the basis of the HBO TV show, and its proprietor Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s premier lady detective.  In this charming series, Mma  Ramotswe navigates her cases and her personal life with wisdom, and good humor—not to mention help from her loyal assistant, Grace Makutsi, and the occasional cup of tea.

Mma Precious Ramotswe is content. Her business is well established with many satisfied customers, and in her mid-thirties (“the finest age to be”) she has a house, two adopted children, a fine fiancé. But, as always, there are troubles. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni has not set the date for their marriage. Her able assistant, Mma Makutsi, wants a husband. And worse, a rival detective agency has opened in town—an agency that does not have the gentle approach to business that Mma Ramotswe’s does. But, of course, Precious will manage these things, as she always does, with her uncanny insight and her good heart.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:17 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

After the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is firmly established, founder Precious Ramotswe faces new challenges at home and at work, from problems with her adopted son to an assistant who dreams of opening a typing school for men.

» see all 8 descriptions

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