Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Cleverness of Ladies” as Want to Read:
The Cleverness of Ladies
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Cleverness of Ladies (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency)

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  336 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Glorious short stories from international bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith, in a collection written especially for World Book Day.

There are times when ladies must use all their wisdom and good sense to face life's problems and mysteries. Mma Ramotswe, owner of the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency, keeps her wits about her as she looks into why the country's star goal
Paperback, 101 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Abacus
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Cleverness of Ladies, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Cleverness of Ladies

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,034)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Ivonne Rovira
Nov 24, 2014 Ivonne Rovira rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: die-hard fans only
Alexander McCall Smith has penned an uneven collection of five short stories. The first tale, “The Cleverness of Ladies,” which dwells on a football player suspected of throwing games, echoes McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novel Tea Time for the Traditionally Built, while the final tale, “Music Helps,” appears to have been the outline for the McCall Smith’s La’s Orchestra Saves the World. The Mma Ramotswe short story does not rise to the level of the novel it resembles; I enjoyed ...more
Susan Barnes
The title and picture on the front of this book suggested, The cleverness of ladies was going to be more stories from the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. However I was disappointed that only the first of the five short stories was about the Agency. All the stories were well written and interesting tales but I found the middle three all failed to capitalize on good beginnings.

The first story about Mme Ramotswe's detective agency was an enjoyable tale based on a simple ide
This book wasn't quite what I was expecting. It consisted of five short stories and only one of them was about the No1 Ladies Detective Agency. I'll say a little about each story in turn.

1) The Cleverness of Ladies.
This was the only short stories about the No1 Ladies Detective Agency. I have previously enjoyed this series so was looking forward to reading more about Mma Ramotswe and J.L.B Matekoni. The short story was about a local Football (the Gaborone Comets) owner wanting to find out if his
This book was a collection of five short stories, but it was shorter than I had anticipated and I finished it in one go while sitting in the doctor's waiting room. I am a huge fan of Alexander McCaul Smith but I would say this book left me disappointed. The first Ramotswe story was not up to the mark though it was delightful as always. The second story was nice and I really loved it. The third story was alright. The fourth made really no sense and I did not like the fifth, though I suppose it ma ...more
The Cleverness of Ladies is an omnibus of five short stories by Alexander McCall Smith. In the first story, The Cleverness of Ladies, Mma Ramotswe is engaged by Mr Gefeli, the owner of the Gabarone Comets football team to investigate if his star goal-keeper, James Pikani, is taking bribes to let goals through. Whilst knowing next-to-nothing about football, Precious listens to comments from those around her and cleverly deduces the reality of the situation. Reading the summary of this tale, I tho ...more
2-1/2 stars. From the front cover and the title, I expected this slender, 100-page volume to be a new short story about Mma Ramotswe and her No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. (I ordered this UK publication online and didn't get to read the back cover description prior to receiving the book.) Instead, "The Cleverness of Ladies" comprises five stories, with our favorite Botswana detective featured only in the first...and it wasn't even a new story. The mystery of why a famous and admired soccer goal ...more
Perfect for a sojourn in hospital. Light and easy to read - little concentration required.

Enjoyed first two stories - The Cleverness of Ladies and A High Wind in Nevis. Typical McCall Smith.

I did not quite get Namaqualand Daisies, and felt as if something was missing. Unsatisfactory.

Fabrizia and Music Helps were enjoyable and more thought provoking.

All made me smile.

Jonathan Currinn
This book is supposedly the 13.5th book in the series of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. So it came as a surprise that there was only a short story on Mma Ramotswe and her business. I should've realised that this would bring nothing to the series and instead include 4 more stories that had nothing to do with the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, and which are not as intriguing or all that interesting.

The first story
The Cleverness Of Ladies
Was your typical detective story, but it was so short, and
Bruce Snell
The Cleverness of Ladies is a collection of short stories by Alexander McCall Smith - 3 stars. This short collection (5 stories) includes one from the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and 4 more from the variety of Smith's other work. I have mixed feelings about short story collections, frequently they have more bad than good, but they can provide an opportunity to sample an author's work without delving into a lengthy novel. Unfortunately there was a lot more here that I didn't like than stories I ...more
That masterful storyteller McCall Smith captivates his audience once again with this collection of five short stories that allow us a glimpse into the lives of a few clever ladies. From the traditionally built detective Mma Ramotswe, who solves a puzzling case revolving around a popular sports figure, to the music-loving La who organizes an orchestra at a time when all home seems to be lost, the stories all reveal some aspect of the strengths and weakness of the "gentler" sex. In A High Wind in ...more
Much as I love Alexander McCall Smith, this collection feels a bit slight. The best stories are the ones about Mma Ramotswe (although the plot seems familiar - is it a reworking of something from one of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels, or am I mistaken?) and La, a character from a novel I haven't read yet. As usual, the stories are full of warmth and humanity, and I imagine this would be a good introduction to McCall Smith for people new to his work.
I am not usually a fan of short stories, but this little book provided a pot pourri of stories for a quick read. It was a clever ruse to attract readers in by having, as the first short story, one of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency stories with the now famous Mma Ramotswe. The other stories were very light,and enjoyable for what they were, but I did think the Namaqualand Daisies story was rather silly from an author such as Alexander McCall Smith.
Linda Rowland
I did not know what this would be. Found there was a book between 13 and 14 so I got it.
Enjoyed it very much, but did not understand one of the stories. I hate to say this but need to in case someone can help me. Namaqualand Daisies. I must not be the only one, since I just looked at the back page and each of the other stories was touched on but it was not.
If anyone reading this can clue me in please do so.
A collection of 5 short stories set in various places ranging from Africa to the Caribbean. I really enjoyed the last story, but I just didn't really "get" the others. I listened to the audio version of the book and the narrator was great. She did a good job at all the different accents.
I don't even know what to say, this is the first book of his that I didn't like. I give the book two stars only because I am a fan. I thought it was going to be several short stories based on the detective series. Sadly it was not. The first short story is Mme Ramotswe, so it was fine, I wish it had been longer though. The rest I just didn't even get, what was the point? Two of the stories didn't even make sense, I really didn't understand the endings or the references. Did someone else put this ...more
Nancy H
This is a good little book - a "quick read"- of short stories by Alexander McCall Smith. It contains one of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency stories, which are always my favorite, as well as several other stories that are similar in tone.
A light read, with several tales based on characters we have meet before, from Mma Ramotswe, to La and her orchestra. Nothing demanding here, just McCall Smith's usual light touch on ordinary lives which are in their own way extraordinary.
A lovely collection of short stories showcasing the authors storytelling talents. I enjoyed most of them with La's orchestra being my favourite. Brimming with sweetness, this was a quick light read and recommended to the normal crew.
Whilst I enjoyed the first and last of these short stories, the middle three - especially the story of the Captain and his wife - felt like they ended prematurely, leaving you wondering if you had missed something somewhere.
Angie Rhodes
A very quick book, and a little disappointing, I had wanted more of Mma Ramotswe, not just one, and then four stories with different settings, It was well written, and in a style, that is unmistakable, and it was a Quick Read book,,
I always find Alexander McCall Smith's short stories more edgy and interesting than his complete novels but having said that, they are a bit hit and miss. Some are great, some fair - worth it for the good ones!
Quick read with 5 short stories. I read it mainly for the first story, which is a No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency story. It did not disappoint.

The others were good. Now I want to read "La's orchestra saves the world".
This little book is an entertaining collection of stories each of which can be read at a sitting. The title story features Precious Ramotswe – the proprietor of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency in Botswana – but the other stories in the collection feature other ladies. The last story in the collection is about La who also appears in the full length book La’s Orchestra.

I enjoyed all the stories and they demonstrate the author’s excellent understanding of human nature and the way people behave.
Fiona Shemmans
overall I was not impressed story was lack lustre boring and the stories seemed like random pointless stories
Wilde Sky
None of these short stories felt fully developed / finished.

My real rating is 2.5.
Just a collection of short stories. Easy quick reads, nothing profound but just ok.
Audio book
Jenna Mills
As absolute pleasure
This wasn't quite what I was expecting. I thought the stories would be based in Botswana and around the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and the first short story is, but the others are unrelated. I liked the first, third and fifth short stories, but thought the second and fourth were rather weak. Like some other reviewers, I either missed something in the fourth, or the author missed something in the writing, because I couldn't work out what exactly happened!
Pages and Tea
This is a collection of short stories from the author of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. The first story features the characters from this series, and I think one of the other stories features characters from another of McCall Smith’s books, La’s Orchestra Saves The World. I quite enjoyed that one as I haven’t read the main book although it’s caught my eye on a number of occasions.
The book is a nice, fast, easy read to pass a little time with.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 34 35 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Amy's Diary
  • The Little One
  • Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad
  • Full House
  • Telling Tales
  • Cool for Cats
  • Wrong Time Wrong Place (Quick Reads 2013)
  • Thirteen Clues for Miss Marple
  • Alaeddin And The Enchanted Lamp
  • David Attenborough New Life Stories
  • The Book Lovers' Appreciation Society
  • METAtropolis: Cascadia
  • Women & Children First
  • Batman Forever
  • Malice Aforethought
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Secondary Phase (Hitchhiker's Guide: Radio Play, #2)
  • Inception
  • Harem (Cetin Ikmen, #5)
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...

Other Books in the Series

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • 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)
  • In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #6)
  • Blue Shoes and Happiness (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #7)
  • The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #8)
  • The Miracle at Speedy Motors (No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency #9)
  • Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #10)
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)

Share This Book