The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party
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The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #12)

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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  7,882 ratings  ·  1,295 reviews
As the countdown to Mma Makutsi's wedding begins, all is not as it should be at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. In anticipation of so long-awaited a celebration, upsets and obstacles are to be expected. But not, perhaps, in such numbers.
Paperback, 248 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Abacus Books (first published 2010)
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Petra X
This is more like it! After the disappointing The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection with its collection of lame stories with no overarching plot and rather limply written characters, this is back to a good story and realistic people.

The main story is about a couple of dead cows and who killed them. There are lots of suspects, a confession or two which aren't necessarily the truth, and instead of a denoument a face-saving solution to the problem that has caused the torture of these two innocen...more
Rebecca
Wonderful. Like a warm tasty comforting free meal on a cold night. Some surprising developments in the case of Charlie the apprentice who finds out that he has twins to support, until Precious Ramotswe discovers that perhaps he is not the father after all. Precious finally gets her tiny white van back and Grace Makutsi marries Phuti Radiphuti in style after Mma Potokwani invites herself to the wedding and takes over preparations. Much simple wisdom and funny situations and talk, but the book is...more
Jan Rice
I sit here, sipping a steaming mug of African red bush tea, wondering how to convey to you why I feel about Alexander McCall Smith, in general, and this book, in particular, as I do.

Here in Atlanta there was a local right-wing talk-show host, eventually nationally syndicated and now retired (and, I always remember, my exact same age) who used to bluster that he said what everybody else was thinking but was afraid to say--nasty, mean-spirited comments about others, of course. Alexander McCall Smi...more
Janet
"Taking her old shoes out of the box into which Paticia had tucked them, she slipped them back on her feet and continued on her way to the Tlokweng Road. One or two people had witnessed the tragedy, or at least had seen part of it: a young man passing by, a boy on a bicycle, an old man standing in the shade of a tree. But they had only seen a woman racing after a white van and then stumbling; they had seen her bend down and change her footwear before walking off towards the main road. So might w...more
Marci
Alexander McCall Smith's No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series is one of my favorite series. This installment is probably the best of the twelve books so far.

In this book, Precious Ramotswe thinks at one point: ". . . she would always take the time to drink tea, to look at the sky, and to talk. What else was there to do? Make money? Why? Did money bring any greater happiness than that furnished by a well-made cup of red bush tea and a moment or two with a good friend? She thought not" (p 198). Th...more
Will Byrnes
In the 12th volume of this delightful series, Botswana’s most renowned lady detective looks into a mysterious event on a farmer’s land. Cattle have been slashed. Who would do such a thing? Of course Precious Ramotswe and her able, if somewhat shoe-addled assistant, Grace Makutsi, are on the case, and you know they will get to the bottom of it, by and by.

In the meantime, Grace is eagerly planning for her upcoming wedding. This entails getting the finest possible shoes. If you have read any of the...more
Mal Warwick
Join Precious Ramotswe, proprietor of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, for the weeks that elapse in this charming tale of life in Botswana, and you may emerge with fresh perspective on life. Mma Ramotswe — the prefix is a title akin to “Ms.” — and those who surround her live their lives in a slow and steady way that would be familiar to village-based people everywhere but alien to those of us who populate the world’s fast-paced urban centers.

Mma Ramotswe’s Botswana is a nation displaced from...more
Jennifer
Another enjoyable instalment in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series. McCall Smith certainly churns them out along with his other two 'middle class comfort zone' series - but they work for me!

This is possibly one of the slighter books and with some disappointments but some welcome familiar themes - Charlie the apprentice's waywardness, Mma Makutsi's passion for shoes. In this book there is a lot reflecting on the differences between men and women. Occasionally McCall Smith can jar when he 'g...more
Emily
I know that not everyone is a fan of Precious Ramotswe, but she makes me smile. These books are so comfortable and comforting, soothing almost. I love the cadence of the language and diction of the Botswanan characters; it momentarily transmits the slower pace of life to the reader. I can feel myself relaxing as I read.

Quick, light read with enough mystery for a detective agency to earn its keep, but lots of affirmation that most people really are good at heart. These books make me smile. :)

For...more
Lucy Hannigan
I have read every book in "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series and have loved them all. As in any series some books are better than others, but all have been a delightful read. When I heard that HBO was doing a TV show based on the books I was a little concerned, but having now watched them all, I think they did a great job in casting and staying true to the books (other than introducing a regular character who is NOT in any of the books). I love Mma Precious Ramotswe (who is a "tradition...more
Sue
I am such a fan of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books and I love the wisdom of Precious Ramotswe. The books are such a peaceful read. My favorite passages:

"So might we fail to see the real sadness that lies behind the acts of others; so might we look at one of our fellow men going about his business and not know of the sorrow that he is feeling, the effort that he is making, the things that he has lost."

"She looked at him fondly; that he had been sent to her, when there were so many other l...more
Rebecca
Mma Ramotswe, proprietor of the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botstwana, is back, and is as busy as ever. Her assistant, Mma Makutsi, is preparing (at last!) for her wedding to Puti Radiputi, and the question of shoes causes her great distress. Charlie, whose apprenticeship in the repair shop has gone years past the normal span of an apprenticeship, is in trouble with a girl--and this time, it's serious. Then of course there is the case of Mr. Mweti, a farmer who had two cows hamstrung in the...more
Lis Carey
This is our latest visit with the ladies of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and their family and friends. After many months, epic bride price negotiations with Grace's greedy uncle, and the trauma of Phuti's loss of a foot in a previous book, Grace Makutsi and Phuti Radiphuti are at last making the final preparations for their wedding day. And Grace is starting to realize how her life will change, when she is married to this man whom she loves and who loves her--and who is wealthy enough that...more
Ellen
I like Laurel's review of this series. The books are comforting, I agree. For me, it is like having a bedtime story read to me. I like them even more because I've watched the HBO series of dramatizations of the books. How did they manage to cast the characters EXACTLY as I had imagined them? This book aided in my recovery from a siege of sickness. I know that it helped me get better!

The main mystery in this book had an intriguing solution.

Here's Laurel's review:
Laurel
Jun 14, 2008
Laurel rated it...more
Lori Rader-Day
These books are the only nearly-plotless books I can stand and, in fact, I love them beyond reason. They wander, they dilly-dally. Sometimes mysteries get solved. I can't explain why they've grown on me, except to say that they star charming characters who deal with the problems people bring them in charming ways. I am charmed. And now I have to wait months and months for the next one and hope that Alexander McCall Smith lives forever.
Carolyn
In this twelfth episode of the 'No 1 Ladies Detective Agency' series, Precious Ramotswe's assistant detective Grace Makutsi is finally getting married to Phuti Radiphuti. While she is busy planning her wedding and in particular what shoes to buy, the agency is investigating the killing of two cows at a distant farm. It proves to be a difficult case for Mma Ramotswe and one where the truth might not be what it appears. Mr J.L.B Maketoni, Mma Ramotswe's husband has his own problems with his appren...more
Titilayo
what can i say? brillantly crafted story. all the familiar nuisances and pleasantries. the normal twists and turns. intrigue. mystery. reason. uncertainity. fact. proof. fiction. perception. ambiguity. wisdom. comedy. and truths:

"You are the lady to help people. The words came back to her as she made her way home that evening. It was pleasing to know that people thought of you, but worrying too. You could not help everybody-nobody could-because the world was too full of need and troubles, a wide...more
Donna
Once again, Precious Ramotswe is on the case. This time it's about dead cattle. I love how she stews about it for a couple days, drives somewhere, makes one inquiry, and scores an incredible lead, if not the solution. If only all detective work was this easy.
I don't know how she deals with Grace Makutsi. She's bugged me for several books now. Nobody that blunt and untactful should be allowed to do detective work. It's probably a good thing she spends most of her time typing, filing, or shoe shop...more
Judy Iliff
Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books never fail to satisfy a yearning for serenity that you're not even aware your want! The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party is no exception. Precious Ramotswe is asked to discover who killed 2 cows of a farmer; then she's faced with the problem of a promise she made to a small boy. Grace Makutsi, in the meantime, must find the perfect pair of shoes for her upcoming marriage to Phuti Radiphuti. On top of all of this, Mma Ramotswe thinks sh...more
Sarahanneme
Well, if you know me, you know how deeply I appreciate this series, and what a dignified and perfectly lovely treasure every time a new one comes out. This I snatched the DAY it was being placed on the shelves at the library, and have ignored many a thing to delight in the pages. I love Mma. Ramotswe and I love how she thinks. I want to go to Botswana in search of this traditionally built woman and drink bush tea with her. I also love her extensive quoting of Clovis Andersen, the oh wise one of...more
Jamie
2.5 stars. This is a slight novel in a lightweight series, but it's always charming to spend time with Mma Ramotswe. I'm rounding up to three stars because the book contains the long-awaited wedding of Grace Makutsi to Phuti Radiphuti, proprietor of the Double Comfort Furniture Store. I wish the book had been more centered on the wedding, as the title implies.

And perhaps we haven't seen the last of the tiny white van after all?
Rosemary Morris
The Saturday Big Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith
I wanted to read The Saturday Big Wedding Party from beginning to end without interruption. Each time I had to put it down I could hardly wait to pick it up again and find out what happened next.

Alexander McCall’s heroine, Precious, is aptly named. Mma Precious Ramotswe is the type of lady I would like to have as my next door neighbour. She has known personal tragedy, and will never cease mourning her father, yet she is not bitter. To the c...more
Jim Leffert
Volume 12 in the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series is better that Volume 11, as it’s free of sententious asides and includes evocative writing about life and landscape in Botswana. The actual mysteries are secondary to the mild and partly humorous dilemmas of the familiar main characters who are depicted with their customary foibles and good qualities. The book is at its best in depicting the dilemmas that Precious Ramotswe faces not in solving mysteries but rather in dealing wisely with vexing...more
Nadia
I can't believe that I forgot this book was coming out. I love this series and somehow, I completely spaced out on the fact that Alexander McCall Smith had released a new one this year. Anyhow, lucky for me I spotted a copy of it at (of all places) Target. Of course, I grabbed it and ran to the cashier to pay for it so that I could get home and start reading it ASAP. And let me just say how happy I was to be taken back into the world of Precious Ramotswe and her home country of Botswana. These b...more
Kathryn
This is the twelfth book in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, set in Gaborone, Botswana, and dealing with Mma Precious Ramotswe, a lady of traditional Botswana build. The agency is run next door to Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, owned and operated by Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni (Mma Ramotswe’s husband), and the agency is run with the assistance of Mma Grace Makutsi. As with all the other books in the series, mysteries arise and are solved by Mma Ramotswe, with the aid of many cups of traditional...more
Marcy
The reader of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency can be assured that each book in the series, including this one, has the same characters and spirit that the readers have come to know intimately. Precious Ramotswe thinks and philosophizes well about her life and living in Botswana. Chapter one is called "The Memory of Lost Things." "Memories of that which we have lost are curious things - weeks, months, even years may pass without any recollection of them and then, quite suddenly, something will...more
Wendy
What I love most about this series is Mma Ramotswe's interaction between other people. Such as this exchange that made me cry when I read it (starting on page 167):

Mma Ramotswe shook her head. "It is very bad."

"She is a bad girl," said the maid. "It is very unfair Mma. She has all this--she has her good parents and she has their money, their food. And all the time she is bad. It is unfair, Mma."

Mma Ramotswe reached out and took the maid's hand. "Do not feel too bad about it, my sister," she said...more
Mmtimes4
The twelfth installment in the beloved, best-selling series is once again a beautiful blend of wit and wisdom, and a pro­foundly touching tale of the human heart.

Precious Ramotswe is haunted by a dream in which she is driving her dear old white van. Grace Makutsi dreams that her 97 percent on the Botswana Secre­tarial College exam was a mistake. When Mma Ra­motswe discovers that her van is actually still in use (and, of course, sets out to retrieve it), Mma Makutsi wonders whether her dream wil...more
Cindy
I love sitting down with these novels - Precious is like an old friend and it is a joy to spend a few pleasant moments with a cup of bush tea while she relates her latest adventures. This time there's a mystery involving some cows and a prickly owner. Grace Makutsi and Phuti are getting married and there's a lovely little side story involving shopping for a pair of suitable shoes for the wedding. Charlie the apprentice may have gotten himself in a family way. And the little white van is still in...more
Marianne
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party is the twelfth book in Alexander McCall Smith’s No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Mma Ramotswe has plenty to keep her busy as someone is killing cattle on a southern cattle-post, Charlie the apprentice seems to have fathered twins and Grace Makutsi’s wedding to Phuti Radiphuti is fast approaching. She also has to wonder if she is seeing a ghost when her tiny white van makes an appearance. Mma Makutsi is faced with a shoe dilemma and shows her usual indignan...more
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Still a pleasure to read, but getting a bit thin 16 74 Oct 26, 2013 09:05PM  
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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what...more
More about Alexander McCall Smith...
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency  (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #1) Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #2) Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #3) The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #4) The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #5)

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“--a drive in the country, an expedition to a shoe shop a quiet cup of tea under a cloudless sky; each of us had something that made it easier to continue in a world that sometimes, just sometimes, was not as we might wish it to be.” 6 likes
“You cannot divide a child's heart in two" she had observed to Mma Makutsi, "and yet that is what some people wish to do. A child has only one heart."

"And the rest of us?" Mma Makutsi had asked. "Do we not have one heart too?"

Mma Ramotswe nodded. "Yes, we have only one heart, but as you grow older you heart grows bigger. A child loves only one or two things; we love so many things."

"Such as?"

Mma Ramotswe smiled. "Botswana. Rain. Cattle. Friends. Our children. Our late relatives. The smell of woodsmoke in the morning. Red bush tea...”
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