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The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #4)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  26,533 ratings  ·  1,087 reviews
In this fourth volume of the bestselling series - The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, the ever-popular Precious Ramotswe - Botswana's leading, and only, female private detective - faces a new and unwanted problem: competition.
Paperback, 210 pages
Published February 26th 2004 by Abacus (first published 2002)
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Fourth installment in this amazing series. You don't read Mma Ramotswe novels for the action or even for the mysteries. You read them for the gentle rhythm of the narration, the wise philosophy of the characters. In this we rejoin Mma Ramostwe as she waits for her fiancée to set a date for their wedding after his illness. Mr Matekoni is slowly coming out of depression and finds his motor repair shop in the good hands of Mma Makutsi who shares her time between the detective agency and the auto re ...more

These books drive me crazy, but instead of talking about what I don't like about them, I want to say what I do like. I keep reading them for some reason, so I think it is about time I figure out why.

The first reason is that the author, clearly, has an affection for Botswana. He describes cattle in a way that makes me want to love cows. He describes a desert in way that makes me want to vacation there.

The second is that I can appreciate a book that isn't in a hurry, I read a lot of action/adventu
Jul 22, 2007 Rhonda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Just as with all the other books in the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series, this one evokes a clear sense of place and characters. Simply put, it makes me want to be in Botswana right now. One of the things I like best about Alexander McCall Smith's writing is the way he develops his characters through their lives and actions and not much in the way of a narrator's analysis. The author seems to feel a great deal of affection for his characters even when they make unwise choices. These books ar ...more
The story of _Kalahari Typing School for Men_ was much like its immediate predecessor, _Morality for Beautiful Girls_. The novel focuses a great amount on the development of some characters, and leaves others "out to dry", and ultimately strays away from the things that made books 1 and 2 of the series so good: the cases, the interactions, and the values of the Botswana people. That is not to say that this book does not have any detective cases, but I find the novels have shifted from their orig ...more
Will Byrnes
Guilt is the subject here. The primary client of the book is a mister Molefelo, a hotelier and ostrich farmer. He had committed a crime as a youth and sought to atone for his sins. Precious helps him of course. The theme is threaded throughout. In addition, Mma Makutsi acquires a beau, Mister Seleliping. She also attempts to begin a new business, and does, the typing school of the title. The detective agency gains competition in the form of a male-run enterprise run by a very pompous individual. ...more
Yay for this series! I'm glad there are so many. It actually inspired me to read more about Botswana. Here is a nugget from this book:

"People's lives were delicate; you cannot interfere with them without running the risk of changing them profoundly. A chance remark, a careless involvement, may make the difference between a life of happiness and one of sorrow."
pg 164
More slow charm and gentle truth seeking from our friends at the #1 Ladies Detective Agency, who now have a competitor in the form of the Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency (“Don’t take any chances! Entrust your inquiries to a MAN!”). A ten year old could see the competition isn’t going to be that stiff, but the lack of subtlety is one of the most delightful qualities of these books, partly because it reminds me that most people really aren’t that adept at hiding unpleasant traits, and par ...more
I just can't seem to get enough of this series.

I find it soothing, but not boring. I love the setting and learning more about Botswana. But mostly I love the lifestyle of the main character. I love her simplicity. I love that they live in a non-materialistic world so that the focus is truly on important things. I love the kindness she shows to everyone. I love the directness and honesty of almost all the characters. I love the way they greet each other as family and welcome new people into their
Patty Fitzgerald
My bookclub discovered The Number One Ladies Detective Agency in 2005, and we just loved it. A couple summers ago, I began a tradition of reading one book in the series during my annual beach vacation. This one is the fourth book, and I think it's the best since the original. The author is masterful at conveying a sense of charm without allow it to feel "precious" (no pun intended with regard to the lead character). I have never been to Botswana, but there is something about both the narrative a ...more
My colleague and I have recently groused together that a certain novelist who writes a certain set of trashy novels to which we are both addicted, is such a poor writer that even though the novels are set in Lousiana, when we read the dialogue what we hear in our minds' ears are the voices of people just like us who live in the Pacific Northwest. And upon reading these admittedly addicting trashy novels, I have no reason to picture the heat and damp and mosquitos with which I know Louisiana must ...more
Debbie Young
This series is my current comfort-read. A lovely world to escape into for late-night reading, beautifully written, sensitively told. Really life-enhancing. Wonderful.
Feb 05, 2014 Liz added it
Still loving the series!
These are pretty much perfect airplane books. Easy to read, well-crafted, home-spun and nostalgic. Mma Ramotswe is everyone's mother figure, a "traditionally-built" Miss Marple. The African dialogue and setting also offers a touch of the exotic, with Botswana playing a role as a country of "integrity and generosity in both the simple and the big things".

Alexander McCall Smith is a master at interweaving plot development with inner monologue. These books are not your standard detective novels. Th
I'm not entirely sure, but I think Alexander McCall Smith made a sort of cameo in this book! Mma Ramotswe is looking at some photographs with a friend, and she sees a man in one of them, smiling, and asks who it is. Her friend says he is a nice man who stays with them sometimes, and writes books. "You would like him." "I'm sure I would." I giggled: I'm sure this is the author referencing himself!

But anyway: another delightful novel about Mma Ramotswe, her detective agency, and her friends. What
Chance Lee
It's always nice to return to this world where everyone is blunt and honest and all the bad stuff happens because of Western influence or men.
This installment is quite simple, even as these books go. There's a rival private investigator who opens up, then he closes. Mma Ramotswe has to find someone for a man, and she finds them! As usual, Mma Makutsi's plot is the most interesting one. She decides to open the Kalahari Typing School for Men, capitalizing on men's need to not let women get better
Dennis D.
This is the fourth book in Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. I read the first three a while ago (pre-GoodReads) over a span of a couple of years, and haven’t been back to the well lately. I remember grabbing the first book because I was looking for something a little out of my wheel-house, and a tale of a lady detective in Botswana seemed to fit the bill. I loved that first book, No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, and quickly became a fan of Smith’s writing.

These books
Anne Hawn Smith
In this book, Mma Makutsi, is becoming a better defined character. She is always looking for a way to use her training at secretarial school and her extraordinary 97% score. She decides that men need to know how to type in this computer age and thinks that they are reluctant to study with females in their class because they have come lately to a skill that has been associated with women in the past. She begins her school and is delighted to find that it is very successful.

Mma Patience Ramotswe
Fourth in a series about The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency of Botswana, The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith is an easy read. There is nothing terribly exciting or riveting about this novel, but the simple storyline will make you smile.
In The Kalahari Typing School for Men Mma Precious Ramotswe and her assistant Mma Makutsi run a detective agency. Business is slow and a competitor has moved into town so the ladies are forced to develop new ways to earn business and money
It has become somewhat apparent that while reading McCall Smith's, the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, there must be some unforgettable quotes. My favourite lines in this particular book are when Mma Ramotswe contemplating about men and marriages thought that boring men should 'seek out a dull woman, of whom were slow-moving and not very exciting, and should marry one of these bovine ladies..but the problem was that dull men often had no interest in such women...'. true.

And how about
Aug 01, 2010 Amy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: series
I think it's incorrect that many people consider these Mystery Novels. Yes, there's the Detective Agency in the title; however, these novels are much less about solving cases than they are a study of the characters, and praise of tea and the "old Bostwana morality". And that's really fine, if that's what you want in a book. But, when I read a mystery, I expect to find out why a child smells like he's been raised by lions; if the case involves 4 suitors, I'd like to learn about all 4 suitors befo ...more
Mma Ramotswe is back, and this time she is being challenged by a new detective agency in Gaborone. The new detective is a gentleman who claims that the fact that he was trained by the CDI in South Africa, has experience working in New York, and has lots of streets of smarts amkes his agency far superior than the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. It is frustrating to hear such sexist advertising, but our hero is never one to let that kind of thing get her down. She continues to pursue her cases to a ...more
Abigail Beckwith
Despite that fact that Precious Ramotswe owns the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency, I feel that these books are more about the people and less about the mysteries. The pacing is slow, and the small case slowly appears during the course of the story (not at the beginning as in most traditional mystery novels). This book is more about the atmosphere and African philosophy and culture. It is definitely written to evocate a lifestyle, so you either like the slow descriptive writing or you don't!

I had forgot about this series for a while and I'm glad I picked it back up again. McCall Smith's stories are fun and simple yet clever and and insightful. I like his style of writing, describing Mma Ramotswe as "traditionally built" instead of fat and having his characters address each other with surnames even when they are practically engaged. I'd recommend this book as a quick, easy, and fun read.
Another excellent entry in the lengthy series. As with the previous book, MORALITY FOR BEAUTIFUL GIRLS, Smith takes a further step away from the detective cases of the first two books to instead focus on his growing characters and wryly observed commentary on human life.

Mma Makutsi takes centre stage here, as we follow her decision to open the titular typing school; there are also further plot developments as a rival detective agency is opened in town and Mr J. L. B. Matekoni struggles with one
Another satisfying read in the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Not much new here if you have already read the first 3 books, but that is what I like most about it. The characters are endearing, real, and often provide me with a chuckle or two. This one picks up the storyline of Mma Ramotswe and her fiance Mr. Matekoni. Her assistant, Mma Makutsi, figures more prominently in this novel. Little mention is made of the 2 children Mma Ramotswe is fostering - only a bit about how one of them is ...more
Richard Ward
Aug 31, 2015 Richard Ward rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of gentle fiction.
No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency - Book Four. The adventures in crime detection and problem solving continue for Mma Precious Ramotswe and friends in Botswana. If you ever wondered what is the opposite of hardboiled detective fiction, this is it. Crime fiction as gentle as lamb's milk.
A light and comfortable read. I wish someone like Precious Ramotswe or Mr J.L.B. Matekoni lived next to me. They are such lovely people. In fact I'd vote for them to be my MP, any day. At least you could be sure they'd do their best, and not fiddle their expenses.

Thing is, I know zilch about Botswana, so in my mind it's a sort of proxy Camelot, where most people don't have much, but are generally very happy together. I wonder if it's really like that? I do hope so.

I've read a few of the books in
Although this is the fourth book in the series, it's the first one I've read and I really enjoyed it! I am looking forward to reading the further adventures of Precious Ramotswe, Lady Detective.

I enjoyed the sweet and sensitive spirit Precious has as she skillfully interacts with each person involved in her life and the investigations she's carrying out. Now for book five. :)
This is a soothing, gentle read, like a nice cup of tea. The characters are endearing, and the setting of Botswana is charming. Wisdom and humor abound. The author's writing style just lulls me. If you want to relax, this is the book for you.
Fiona Squires
These books have an unfair reputation of being twee but they are much more than that. Yes, all the charachters are warm, kind and likeable, the "crimes" the detective agency has to investigate border on the mundane and the books are the perfect accompaniment to a nice cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit
That said, the characters do face real, uncomfotable issues and there is a lingering sense of sadness about the loss of the old Botswana.
McCall Smith has a great sense of place and I can vividly p
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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 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 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 Double Comfort Safari Club (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency #11)

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“Why is it that there are always these problems and misunderstandings between men and women? Surely it would have been better if God had made only one sort of person, and the children had come by some other means, with the rain perhaps.” 31 likes
“We shall change all that...because it is possible to change the world, if one is determined enough, and if one sees with sufficient clarity just what has to be changed.” 8 likes
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