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

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  30,233 Ratings  ·  1,260 Reviews
A beguiling mystery and lyrical novel of Africa -- the fourth in a series that the L.A. Times calls “thoroughly engaging and entertaining.”

Now that The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (the only detective agency for ladies and others in Botswana) is established, its founder, Precious Ramotswe, can look upon her life with pride: she’s reached her late thirties (“the finest ag
Unknown Binding, 1 page
Published March 4th 2004 by Little, Brown Young Readers (first published 2002)
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Emily Luttrell It's better if you do, because you will have a more clear idea of the characters and situations. You probably could figure out what's going on if you…moreIt's better if you do, because you will have a more clear idea of the characters and situations. You probably could figure out what's going on if you didn't, though, because they are not complicated books.(less)
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Community Reviews

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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
Jun 30, 2017 abby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller, own
Reading a book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series is like catching up with old friends. Mma Ramotswe is still proud to be a traditionally-built woman living in the greatest country in Africa, if not the world. Her assistant, Mma Makutsi, reminds anyone who will listen that she scored a 97 at her typing school and laments that prettier girls get the best jobs. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni finally stands up to the mistress of the orphan home-- by agreeing to fix more things for free. Then there ar ...more
Nov 29, 2011 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

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
Africa is a continent that is somehow really close to my heart. This is largely because I have had several friends from the continent, coming from Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria to name a few. One of my closest friends after marriage is from Liberia. Added to this fact, is that my husband makes regular visits to the continent during the course of his work and comes home with some splendid tales about living in that continent. Botswana was a mystery for me, despite the fact that I have a cousin living ...more
Jul 11, 2007 Rhonda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Moshe Mikanovsky
Still charming though not enough investigating, which was missing for me.
Will Byrnes
Oct 20, 2008 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 04, 2010 Robin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 25, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Blaine DeSantis
Sep 24, 2016 Blaine DeSantis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another solid effort in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Series, as these books continue to delve into its characters and manages to use this as a way to have them involved in the new cases. While the books are very delightful and easy to read, I feel that the author needs to get these ladies involved in much more serious and complicated cases. So far, most of the cases are cute and involve a lot of moral detecting, but the time has come for Mma. Ramotswe and Mma. Makutsi to get into some meatier case ...more
Aug 16, 2010 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 17, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
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
Mar 24, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 30, 2016 Netta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ספר מעולה, משעשע וזורם. הפילוסופיה המעניינת של מא ראמווצאה, התרבות האפריקאית היפהפיה שלה והכתיבה השנונה של אלכסנדר מקקול סמית הופכים את הספר הזה לממתק אמיתי. מומלץ בחום.
Debbie Young
Aug 21, 2013 Debbie Young rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Patty Fitzgerald
Aug 22, 2011 Patty Fitzgerald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Still loving the series!
Sep 02, 2013 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Christiana Hadji
Πολλοί χαρακτηρίζουν τα βιβλία της σειράς αυτής ως chicken soup for the soul, ή βάλσαμο για τη ψυχή, κι έχουν απόλυτο δίκιο. Οι χαλαροί, νωθροί ρυθμοί της αφήγησης, η απλοϊκή (σχεδόν παιδική) γλώσσα κι οι σοφές συμβουλές της καλόκαρδης κυρίας Ραμότσουε πάντα καταφέρνουν να μου μεταδώσουν μια αίσθηση ηρεμίας κι αισιοδοξίας. Αν περνάτε δύσκολες ώρες, μια επίσκεψη στην βεράντα της Πρέσιους Ραμότσουε για να φιλοσοφήσετε τη ζωή πίνοντας τσάι από βότανα της ερήμου κι αγναντεύοντας τον ουρανό της Μποτσ ...more
May 21, 2016 Cathleen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I'm really stretching the 3 stars here. This book #4 just didn't sit right with me. The charm and cozy feeling was not there. There were several stories going on and they were all really tough subject matters. And Mma Ramotswe seemed to have become quite the man-hater, well except for her fiance. 2.5 stars
Jun 12, 2015 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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.
I always enjoy going back to Botswana and visiting the ladies who run the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. I've read this one before, years ago, and I think I enjoyed it even more this time. I hadn't been to Botswana in a while so it was like visiting old friends. Charming as always.
Jul 06, 2017 Courtney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Smith writes in a witty, contemplative style that is very pleasant to read. The series exhudes love for Botswana and the good, simple things in life, which adds to its unique charm. Though not the most riveting mystery, reading this novel felt like unwinding after a busy day by enjoying an episode of a much beloved show. As soon as I finished the book, I was itching to get my hands on the next one.
Dennis D.
Jun 24, 2010 Dennis D. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
aPriL does feral sometimes
The Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency has opened across town, and it is drawing attention. The brusk owner Cephas Buthelezi, who claims to be ex-CID, is polite to Mma Precious Ramotswe, owner of No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency when she comes to visit her new competition, but he is rude to Mma Makutsi, her partner and assistant manager. It is worrisome that a man of such credentials has opened a detective business in the small town in Botswana, a country of 2 million people.

Ramotswe is not
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
Sep 26, 2009 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 11, 2010 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 25, 2008 Sue rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2005
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) ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: The Kalahari Typing School for Men 1 5 Jun 25, 2012 04:31PM  
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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 18 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.” 35 likes
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