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The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection

(No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #13)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  12,813 ratings  ·  1,697 reviews
In Botswana, Precious's assistant detective Grace's new husband Phuti suggests Academy name to Clovis Andersen, visiting author of their constant reference. Their three puzzles are: mechanic apprentice Fanwell fixes stolen car, board member Ditso fires orphan mother Potokwane, and Phuti's builder is bankrupt, yet builds himself the best.
Hardcover, 257 pages
Published 2012 by Pantheon
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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,813 ratings  ·  1,697 reviews

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Petal Eggs
Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book is like going out to tea with a couple of great aunts who always give you a cheque as a present. The pair of them sit there reminiscing about old times and their old friends. And you sit there, taking tea with them, nibbling the fairy cakes, smiling and nodding in all the right places to the stories you've heard year after year. After tea, they rise to leave and as you kiss their papery cheeks goodbye, one of them presses a generous cheque into your hand, the pay-off. Only this time, i ...more
I love these gentle mysteries set in Botswana. I love the slightly slower pace of life, the obtuseness of Grace Makutsi, the single-mindedness of Mma Potokwane, the fact that we still don't know what the J.L.B. stands for in the name of Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, and the wisdom and kindness of Precious Ramotswe, the owner of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency!
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: serious McCall fans only
Although I finished this book in about a day, I've been stuck on this review for weeks. Could it be that I've moved on from the series? Could it be that McCall Smith is starting to repeat himself? Has he lost his magic?

Yes, yes, and yes, along with the added discomfort of lingering weirdness for reading a book written by an old Scottish white dude about a middle-aged African woman from Botswana. There's just something that smacks of being interpreted and romanticized by the Other that doesn't se
Margaret Sankey
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
This series is really comfort food--the beloved sleuths of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency of Botswana take on several cases--apprentice mechanic Fanwell is in trouble for unwittingly assisting in car theft (and he has the world's worst lawyer), newlywed Grace and her husband wrangle with a crooked builder to get their house finished, a nouveau riche philanthropist wants to fire the long-time director of the orphan farm and there's an unexpected visit by Clovis Anderson, midwestern author of t ...more
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing

To the joy of Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutski, Clovis Anderson - the revered author of their venerated guidebook "The Principles of Private Detection" - wanders into the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency when he's visiting Gabarone.

Meanwhile the detective agency is involved with a couple of crises: Mr. JLB Matekoni's apprentice Fanwell is arrested for inadvertently doing mechanical work on stolen cars; and Mma Potokwane - the director of the Orphan Farm - has her job threatened by a rich businessman
Third read:

AMS wrote a new novel in this series, and I'm rereading the series through once more until I come to the new one and finish it. This series has magic and happiness baked right in, and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in Botswana, but more than that, for people who are looking for a panacea of decency and goodness in the midst of everything.

May God bless AMS's pen, his typewriter, his PC, Mac, and the terrific narrator for the audiobooks: Lisette Lecat.

Second read:

OK, so a
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
It's so easy for a long-running series to get stale, but somehow, Mr. Smith has avoided that pitfall with these stories of Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi, and Mr. J.L.B. Matakoni. This latest installment is just as fresh as the first with some new characters being introduced (Thomas, Mr. Ditso, and the famed Clovis Andersen!), old antagonists making appearances (Violet Sephotho, Phuti's aunt), and of course the well-loved familiar cast of characters (Mma Potokwane, Charlie, Fanwell, Phuti Radiphuti). ...more
Thomas Strömquist
After the little bump in the road which was the weak The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party, McCall Smith not only finds his bearings again with this part 13(!) in the series, but manages one of the very top books with it. I was hesitant of him bringing the (for Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makuti at least) legendary Clovis Andersen to Botswana, but he pulls it off beautifully and the character is one you instantly sympathize with and even grow fond of.

There are a fair number of parallel stories in this a
Una Tiers
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, delightful and now my favorite Alexander McCall Smith book. His analysis of the truth and description of Africa are gentle and fun, making the reader linger. The shoes of Mma. Makutsi have a new feature.
Jan Rice
Last October or November I won a couple of No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books, and even though there were no obligations, I nevertheless felt obligated to "catch up" on this series, so here's the next-to-last.

It's not hard to read these books. In fact, for me each book is like several thousand of dollars worth of therapy (which, given today's prices, may be less than you think). I'm just saying McCall Smith has a gift of framing comments in a very positive manner. He voices what, from a posit
Mal Warwick
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
An Exceptional Tale of Botswana's #1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Many years ago, when I was pretending to be a science fiction writer, I got to know a famous figure in the genre. Though he himself never admitted as much, I was told that he had worked himself through a prestigious college in the 1950s by turning out shelves-full of sci-fi novels at a penny a word. He rented an office near campus and would show up every weekday morning at 9, remove the cover of his typewriter, and begin typing — nonst
Book Concierge
Audiobook performed by Lisette Lecat

Book thirteen in the series featuring Mma Precious Ramotswe, her associate Mma Grace Makutsi, and their husbands, friends and clients. In this volume personal and professional lives become entwined. The best apprentice at Mr J L B Matekoni’s garage is arrested, Grace and her husband are building their dream house, and Mma Potokwane (matron of the orphan farm) has been dismissed.

I love this gentle cozy series, where the mysteries are usually of the financial o
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Mar 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Take a slow, deep breath, curl up in your favorite chair with a hot drink and prepare to enjoy another satisfying meal of literary comfort food. The latest instalment in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series may not win any new converts, but it will most definitely not disappoint its fans. All the familiar characters are back and their stories are woven in with little musings on subjects like always doing your best or the value of taking time out just to sit, gaze upon static things and be c ...more
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely book about Bostwana, a beautiful place with very beautiful people (inside not outside) living in it. This book is like a comfort food, something you partake to bring smiles (and occasional tears) to your face. I really admired Mma Ramotswe and if everyone could learn to be a bit more like her, then I think the world would be a much better place.
Nancy Brisson
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In the midst of mass shootings and too many 90-degree days and droughts and fires and all the other worries that plague our lives (when we let them) it is so nice to escape once again to Gaberone, Botswana with Mma Romotswe, Mma Makutsi, and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and their friends and families where, although there are problems, they usually have a much more human scale than those facing us in more metropolitan environments. The newest book in this big-hearted series is called The Limpopo Academy ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have probably read 10 or 12 McCall Smith books. Can't say that this one stands out from the crowd but the "No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series definitely does (a whole order of magnitude above "the Isabel Dalhousie" series or "the Portuguese Irregular Verbs" or "the 44 Scotland Street" series.

One thing I noticed as I read this book, which I expect applies to McCall Smith's other Botswana books as well, and may apply accross the board to African speach: almost everything that is said, is said
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Not for me. I remember reading the 1st book written by Alexander McCall Smith some years ago and liked it, however 64 pages in, all I can say is boring. Going to find a good classic.
Aug 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Having read all of the other No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novels, I thought this one fell short. Maybe it's because the mysteries weren't solved as the book went along, but kind of all together in a hurry at the end. Maybe it's because Violet Sephotho didn't really make an appearance. Mma Makutsi's house wasn't finished at the end even though the teaser on the inside front flap made the house building out to be a big dramatic part of the book and it wasn't. I got a bit lost in the long musings ...more
Jill Furedy
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Limpopo Academy had better make a repeat appearance, because with the appearance of Clovis Anderson, I was looking forward to seeing what the academy had to offer and who would take the classes. But it ended up as an idea that was never developed. I would love to see Charlie take the classes, as he's clearly not a great mechanic, and would drive any instructor crazy, which would be amusing (but who knows, he might be good at this!). And Grace's ambition does seem to lead to her not being hap ...more
Apr 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
As usual a very pleasurable read. McCall's simple style is captivating, heartfelt, poetic- and conveys his deep love for Botswana. I have come to love all his characters over the series and I admire Mma Ramotswe's approach to life and love, her generosity of spirit. I think you have to love the entire series to love this book because it is very similar to all the others. The cases she solves and the dilemmas the characters face are solved neatly using the common-sense-and-redbush-tea formula. Th ...more
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another pleasant read about the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency in Botswana. Precious Ramotswe is dealing with multiple problems. Help arrives in the person of Clovis Andersen, author of "The Principles of Private Detection." Together they resolve these problems and set the stage for another book.

I give it 4.5 stars out of 5.
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy returning to this series but I particularly liked this instalment. Mma Ramotswe finally meets her hero, Clovis Anderson while the cases Grace and Precious have to deal with involve Fanwell and Mma Potokwani. I think the fact that the problems revolved around established characters meant that the investigation was less of a background detail this time round.
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries, tbr17
Maybe my expectations were too high for an encounter between the two Botswanan lady detectives and Clovis Anderson, whose book is their bible for detective work. Although there are some nice touches, I thought the book overall did not live up to the potential of its premise. 2.5 stars rounded up.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
I listened to the audiobook during a long drive. As always, the tone is light and fun but with serious themes below the surface. This one had a little more meandering than usual, but it's still a satisfying book that made for a pleasant car journey.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I always enjoy a good Precious Ramotswe novel. They're a quick,light read with a touch of humour, and usually well written and enjoyable. This one presents the mysteries of life more close to home, as it is now Precious' friends and relations who need her help and expertise. As usual, she sorts it all out with little effort. I did wonder, however, how she could make sure that a corrupt official would not renege on his promise to do better--if she can pull that one off, I'm sure more than one gov ...more
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels solve problems but only after several cups of tea. In fact, we learn that Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi (of the 97% success rate at the secretarial school) estimate they drink one hundred cups a week!

There are the problems of life, along with the usual surprises. A reader of this series knows Clovis Andersen wrote the main manual they can quote extensively. In the magic of books he appears in Botswana! His wife is late (their word for dead) and he is pin
May 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I find these stories to be a welcome change of pace - they are told at a gentle pace and perhaps it is romanticizing the country but it is to be hoped that these books give you the feel of the heart of Botswana. I may never get there in person, but I think that these novels allow me to sit down and read them and be transported to Gabarone. These novels are the voice of Precious Ramotswe, now an old friend, and we are going sit down with a cup of bush tea while she tells me how she resolved the l ...more
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I just happened to take a detour, a beautiful detour, into Botswana. I stayed there a couple of weeks (long enough to drink up 13 delicious books) soak up the sun and scenery, and get well reacquainted with some old friends to hear their latest joys & woes.

They've really buoyed me up, made me laugh, filled me with their beauty, kindness goodness, humanity. 13 books and there's still fresh stories to tell and the same feeling of love shared....broadcasted, in fact.

McCall Smith...regarding
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As always, this series makes me laugh out loud at our human foibles! Wouldn't it be nice if life were reflective, slow paced and agreeable as it is in Botswana. Do we take time to think about our neighbors, friends and coworkers? Do we recognize that they may have troubles and concerns in their lives? I doubt that we do. We are all so busy with our own lives in this modern, rush and succeed world that we don't take time to ponder how others are doing! Do we remember to do the right thing as Thom ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: one last cover for audiobook 2 12 Apr 20, 2018 11:28PM  
The first book was the worst book I've ever read 15 91 Apr 27, 2014 11:15AM  

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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

Other books in the series

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
  • Tears of the Giraffe
  • Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #3)
  • The Kalahari Typing School for Men
  • The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #05)
  • In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
  • Blue Shoes and Happiness
  • The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
  • The Miracle at Speedy Motors
  • Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #10)
“Men are very sensitive, Mma Makutsi. You would not always think it to look at them, but they are. They do not like you to point out that they are wrong, even when they are. That is the way things are, Mma--it just is.” 7 likes
“Now the tea began to do its work- as it always did- and the world that only a few minutes previously had seemed so bleak started to seem less so.” 3 likes
More quotes…