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The House of Unexpected Sisters

(No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #18)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  6,742 ratings  ·  1,022 reviews
Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are approached by their part-time colleague, Mr. Polopetsi, with a troubling story: A woman, accused of being rude to a valued customer, has been wrongly dismissed from her job at an office furniture store. Never one to let an act of injustice go unanswered, Mma Ramotswe begins to investigate but soon discovers unexpected information that cause ...more
Hardcover, 227 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by Pantheon Books
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4.15  · 
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 ·  6,742 ratings  ·  1,022 reviews

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Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4000-books
Another book in this series from Alexander McCall Smith and a few more pleasurable hours spent with Mma Ramotswe and associates.

All the usual characters are there, debating life and its particulars in their own inimitable way. There are the scenes of the Botswanan countryside we have come to expect and Precious is still driving her little white van and drinking Rooibos tea. It is a land where change happens slowly and things passing are always regarded with regret. I love it!

The title however i
Lois R. Gross
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bayb-2018

In this 18th book in the series Mma Ramotswe, owner of the 'No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency' in Botswana, takes a case at the behest of af Mr. Polopetsi - a part-time chemistry teacher who helps out at the agency from time to time.

Mr. Polopetsi's acquaintance, Charity Mompoloki, lost her job as a furniture saleswoman at 'The Office Place' for being rude to a customer. Charity needs the job to support her children, and Mr. Polopetsi would like to see her reinstated. Charity claims she wasn't rude,
Susan Johnson
Precious is back along with her cast of supporting characters and I realized just how much I had missed her. This is one of my top 5 series and nothing is better than curling up with these lovely people and getting reacquainted.

It's amazing that after all the books in this series and writing two other excellent series, how current and fresh Smith keeps this story. It touches on a lot of old plot lines and although you absolutely do not have to read the earlier books as it works as a stand alon
Diane Barnes
This gentle little mystery series is always great to pick up when I don't want to tax my brain or emotions. Like sitting under an Acacia tree, discussing things with good friends, drinking a cup of Red Bush tea. There were a couple of surprising revelations in this one.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*Third Read*

This series is the ultimate comfort read for me, and since I'm an audiobook listener as well, it's an even better listen.

Something quite unexpected happens to the main character in this book, and I'm curious to see where this storyline goes. Looking forward to reading the latest volume in the series (for the first time!) next month!

*Second Read*

I've now read the entire series twice, and considering everything, it's quite likely I'll read them all a third time in the not-too-distant
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan of The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency. Each year I eagerly await the arrival of the next book in the series. I must say this book is far more complex or complicated than the prior episodes. Reading the book is like taking a trip to Botswana. AMS provides a look at the culture as well as beautiful descriptions of the land. I can see the sun rise over the acacia trees and hear the bells on the cattle heading out to pasture for the day.

Smith has a gentle and easy to read writing
L.A. Starks
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, and this is the newest. The endings are humane, universal, and not always obvious. We would all like to know a person (or perhaps do) like Mma Ramotswe.


This book has many pages of description, repetition and interior thoughts, so the pace drags in places.

Still, Smith does a good job of setting up the problems and creating suspense about their resolutions.

Ivonne Rovira
First, the good news. The House of Unexpected Sisters, the 18th book in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, most of the old favorites reappear: Charlie the slipshod apprentice; Grace Makutsi, now the self-styled Principal Investigating Officer — whatever that means; the sensitive Mr. Polopetsi, high-school chemistry teacher and volunteer at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency; kind and loyal husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni; Silvia Potokwani, the redoubtable matron of the orphan farm; and, of ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just such nice stories to read.
Always enjoy this entire series.
“That fear was something that was always with you in the bush, and it was only the foolhardy who would ignore it. There were things that it was perfectly right to be scared of – because they were, in themselves, frightening things. Some of them you could see, others were not so visible; some you could hear; others you sensed in some other, indefinable way.”

The House of Unexpected Sisters is the eighteenth full-length novel in the popular No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Scottish author, Al
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this series and look forward to it all year. In this book Mr. Polopetsi comes to the ladies of the No. 1 detective agency with the case of a woman who may have been wrongfully terminated. This case may unknowingly have far reaching consequences for Mma Makutsi and her husband's furniture business. There is also the mystery of a woman who shares the unusual surname of Ramotswe with Precious and who even looks like her. Is she a long lost relation? In between solving these mysteries there w ...more
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started a little slow, and I began to think that maybe it wouldn't measure up to the earlier books in the series. It is the 18th book, after all. But I needn't have worried. Precious has still got it, in full measure.

As usual, the mystery that has to be solved is not some great crime, and the solution involves an understanding of human nature and not really the investigation of clues. And I really mourned with Precious when she believed for a time that her beloved daddy, Obed, wasn't t
Cathy Daniel
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
#18 and this series isn't even close to getting stale. Each book is just as great and each time I finish a new one I think this is the best one yet! I loved this book so much because certain things come out, new characters are introduced but still the same type of gentle mysteries. I hope this series goes on for many more books!
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Read & reviewed for The Bookbag:

Dear Mma Ramotswe is back, for the eighteenth (!) book in the series, and what a beautiful book it is. I ran through the whole tumult of emotions whilst reading this story, with all the usual moments of humour, annoying (and yet endearing) idiosyncrasies of character, low level mystery solving and endless cups of redbush tea. There is a case for the agency with a lady who has been wrongfully fired from her job.
Mal Warwick
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For sheer charm, it's hard to beat Alexander McCall Smith's delightful series of novels about the #1 Ladies Detective Agency in Gaborone, Botswana. (If you know where Botswana is, much less anything else about it, go to the head of the class.) The 18th entry in this ongoing series is a case in point. In The House of Unexpected Sisters, McCall Smith outdoes himself. The novel is a gem.

The House of Unexpected Sisters features the whole cast of characters that fans of the series have grown to love:
Sara Halvorsen
I'm starting to lose interest in these books as the author rambles too long about things I don't find interesting. I enjoy the stories within, but they are just too wordy. I skipped 5 pages at times to get back on track with the story. Not sure I will read any more.
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
First of all, this is no. 18 in this series! Eighteen! And not a genuine dud among them. Do you know how hard that is? Over 18 books, Mr McCall Smith has maintained the charm to keep me and many others loyally returning, year after year. Not only that, but this one is one of the best yet. I've often promoted the theory that AMS has a little game with himself to see if every time he writes a book, he can incorporate less of a plot than in the previous one. But not this time! This time there's a r ...more
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pantheon Books kindly sent me an advance copy of this book for reviewing purposes!

The House Of Unexpected Sisters is a worthy addition to the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. It has two central plotlines: one professional and one personal, both handled at the gentle, steady pace that characterizes this series. Frequent divagations take you inside the minds of the characters, and while these do tend to slow down the action, they are often amusing or relatable. It's a technique that renders
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So I love all these books. They are all so comforting, beautifully written and just nice stories. Naturally, I like some better than others. The one where Clovis Anderson visited Mma Ramotswe was one of my favorites. And so is this one. It has so many wonderful little stories in it. And the issues about her father are absolutely so touching--could not have come at a better time in my life for me to read. And yes, I did get teary at the end. Thank you Alexander McCall Smith!
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
NYTimes Book Review: "In anxious times we turn to comfort foods. But what about comfort books?" Is that a perfect summation of this series or what? Anyone who has read my reviews will know that's how I feel about Precious Ramotswe and her crew, be it family, friends or co-workers. She finds her red bush tea a calming influence, I find her the same.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Where I've always enjoyed sitting down to one of the books in this series, I struggled to get through this one. I find the series is getting stale now (kind of like the Stephanie Plum books).
Rebecca Serrato
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love all his books!
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 18th book in this delightful series, and have enjoyed them all. A quick, soothing read to relax with, preferably with a nice cup of tea. The books are full of humor and wisdom with lots of Mma Precious Ramotswe’s kindness and gentle philosophy shining through. Her conversations with colleagues often makes me smile. Although she runs the No.1 Ladies Detective agency, be prepared for a lack of violence and mayhem. Instead she investigates and solves solves clients’ personal problems, v ...more
Breakaway Reviewers
Some unexpected news for Mma Precious Ramotswe

Mr Polopetsi, who sometimes works part-time for the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency when not teaching chemistry at the Gaborone Secondary School, asks Mma Ramotswe if she would be prepared to help Charity Mompoloki, the sister of the games teacher at the school. She was fired from her job at The Office Place, supposedly for being rude to one of the clients, but he’s sure that there is more to the story and that this poor widow has been wrongfully fired
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019reads
climbing up the wrong tree ('false discovery') may be the theme for this... Tempted to give less star but I am a biased and devoted fan of Precious Ramotswe and her other wise friend, Potokwani ;D
Leslie Reese
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
The #1 Ladies Detective Agency series continues to be one of my favorite cozy reads.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another charming book in this series. The reader comes to feel that they actually know Botswana, it is so lovingly described. Wonderful characters, poignant life lessons without sentimentality.
I always enjoy the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books, but I especially liked this one! It made me chuckle at times and surprised me at others. They're such great "comfort reads"!!
Precious and Grace are back, as wonderful as ever. Mr. Polopetsi comes to Precious and Grace about a wrongful termination, but while on the case Precious learns of a Mma Ramotswe she has never heard of named Mingie and is soon searching to find this woman and find out how she might be related. Also, Precious's first husband, Note, has been spotted by someone in Gabarone. Really, the description given is good and I don't want to give away anything.

It is rare to find a series that continues to be
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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

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No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (1 - 10 of 20 books)
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  • The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #05)
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  • Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #10)
“Those images of those old places, the places you come from, never completely disappear. They remain with you, those scraps of memory; those pictures somewhere in your mind of how things were, of what the sun looked like when it shone through the window of your childhood room and caught floating specks of dust in its rays; of how you looked up at the ceiling above your sleeping mat; of the faces of an aunt or a grandparent or a friend; of all the things that once were, in that place that was home to you then, and perhaps are no longer.” 3 likes
“Inside every one of us, thought Mma Ramotswe, there is the child we once were, the child that was unsure about the world and our place in it.” 3 likes
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