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

3.5  ·  Rating Details ·  500 Ratings  ·  75 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
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Ivonne Rovira
Nov 18, 2014 Ivonne Rovira rated it liked it
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
Mar 19, 2014 Susan Barnes rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-fiction
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
Jul 20, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, crime
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
Feb 05, 2013 Kavita rated it it was ok
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
Mark Barrett
Jul 12, 2016 Mark Barrett rated it it was ok
Not one short story, but five very short stories. They are all okay, but the short, simple block descriptions render the characters and scenes a little two-dimensional for my liking.
Jul 05, 2012 Marianne rated it it was amazing
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
May 24, 2012 Granuaille rated it it was ok
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.

Aug 25, 2016 Chava rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This book wasn't as great as others I've read by this author. I listened to the audiobook version and maybe that's why it didn't work for me. The narrator was brilliant in her portrayal of the different characters, but I lost the thread pretty quickly.
Melly Franklin
I didn't enjoy any of the short stories in this book. They didn't grip me, and felt a bit like the start of a book, rather than a story.
Jan 27, 2017 Jan rated it liked it
Shelves: read-on-kindle
Short stories - some more interesting than others - as is often the way with short story collections.
Jan 04, 2017 Toast rated it liked it
As always AMcS has an eye on readership and an eye on theme - you get a little of Precious and her No 1 Ladies Detective Agency (the goal keeper story) just enough to get you interested; a little from another of AMcS' output this time a bit from his Caribbean story and then a few short stories. A good introduction to the publishing machine that is AMcS. How does he do it?
Jonathan Currinn
Jul 29, 2014 Jonathan Currinn rated it did not like it
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
Sep 14, 2012 Mandolin rated it liked it
Shelves: my-inventory
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
Jul 28, 2014 Momo rated it it was ok
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 goalie is losing ...more
Nov 02, 2011 Gabby rated it it was ok
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
Bruce Snell
Feb 02, 2015 Bruce Snell rated it it was ok
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
Oct 27, 2012 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 02, 2016 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
I really need to give up on reading Alexander McCall Smith as I just don't get on with his writing. I wasn't enthralled. I felt that the stories didn't fit nicely together nor with the title 'The Cleverness of Ladies'.

This collection would have scored a 1.5 if it wasn't for the last story about La, which I did enjoy. A character and setting I would have actually liked to have heard more about. Uplifting but not sickly sweet and made me feel as though I was there at the time of fear and uncertai
Mar 16, 2015 Stig rated it liked it
Shelves: books-in-english
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.
Linda Rowland
Aug 21, 2014 Linda Rowland rated it really liked it
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.
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!
Jul 08, 2013 Den rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
Tried one of the Ladies Detective Agency books previously and couldn't get into it. This time I managed to read it in one sitting - though not tricky as it is a 'quick read'. My favourite in the book was the only one (if I remember rightly) that was about the Ladies Detective Agency and it has made me reconsider trying some more of them. I actually felt like I was following the lady detective around.
Pages and Tea
Mar 15, 2012 Pages and Tea rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2012
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.
Jun 09, 2014 Anthea rated it really liked it
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.
Feb 07, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it
This was a quick read as it's a collection of short stories featuring some of the main female characters in AMS's series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it fitted the bill perfectly as I was looking for a slower pace of book to read before tackling my next conquest Anna Karenina. This was lovely, lyrical, funny and very typically AMS.
Juan Cabanela
Dec 19, 2013 Juan Cabanela rated it it was ok
I'll admit I went into this expecting a series of short stories in the No. 1 Lady's Detective Agency universe. Only the first short story was in this setting, and frankly, it was one of the weaker stories. All in all, a collection of decent little stories, but nothing worth trying to get the book imported for (I picked up the book in Europe when I was traveling earlier this year).
May 26, 2012 Jo rated it it was amazing
Nice little collection of stories, a mixture of funny, melancholy, sweet and even a creepy one. Precious Ramotswe appears and there's also a story of La, perhaps an alternate (or earlier?) version of La's Orchestra Saves the World - shorter and few of the details are different (Felicks has one son not two for example). Overall a must read for AMS fans.
May 04, 2015 Ruth rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
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.
May 02, 2015 Alan rated it liked it
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!
Nov 24, 2014 Renee rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2014, audiobooks
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.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (1 - 10 of 17 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)

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