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To the Land of Long Lost Friends

(No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #20)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,616 ratings  ·  256 reviews
Mr J. L. B. Matekoni usually steers clear of Mma Ramotswe's cases, but on this occasion he is approached by a client of the garage who tells a tale of woe. This man has entrusted his brother to oversee the building of a house, yet the project is complete and now the brother won't leave. How is he to get him to move on? Surprisingly, Mr Polopetsi comes to the rescue. ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 5th 2019 by Little, Brown
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Caroline (readtotheend on IG) The summary for one of the editions looks like it is just for another book! A spoiler perhaps? But if you click on a different cover, it shows the…moreThe summary for one of the editions looks like it is just for another book! A spoiler perhaps? But if you click on a different cover, it shows the correct description.(less)
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Breakaway Reviewers
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Same old, same old

My dear Mma Ramotswe

In 2004, you found a wonderful man, Alexander McCall Smith to write your story. I will never forget the year and my excitement of meeting you for the first time. You restored my African soul and made me fall in love with you, Mr JLB Makatoni, Charlie and Fanwell. I tolerated Mma Makutsi and grew to respect her, but never to truly love her. Maybe, it’s her shoes, that answer back all the time.

Each year since then, I’ve waited in anticipation for the latest
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Oh, how exciting, a new “No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” book. Number 20 in the series to be exact.

Mma Ramotswe meets a friend at a wedding that the newspaper said died in a car accident. From this, master story teller Alexander McCall Smith weaves another interesting tale.

The book is well written. The story meanders in the AMS style. It is so good to be visiting with my friends, Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makati. AMS weaves humor, a moral dilemma and some action into a delightful tale. I just
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always look forward to a new book in The Ladies’ No.1 Detective Agency. This is the 20th book in this enjoyable series and have read them all with pleasure. If one is unfamiliar with these books, and looking for a fast-paced and complicated mystery involving brutality and murder, this may not be for you. These lovely stories contain much wit and wisdom and a gentle philosophy of life. This is a relaxing read where I feel I am welcoming back old friends.

In Precious Ramotswe’s thoughts:
“ The
Susan Johnson
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There is just something so refreshing about reading another Precious Ramotswe book in this long running series. I just love how much she loves Botswana and her life. I like how her kindness finds unique solutions to her investigations. This is so apparent in her case of a man whose wife suspects him of cheating with his math tutor. I love the solution to that case.

Precious also discovers a friend that she had long thought was dead and her renewed friendship leads her into an investigation of a
Diane Barnes
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni had been uncertain what to say. He wondered if he should ask Mma Ramotswe why she had not consulted him, but decided against it. If husbands started to question their wive's decisions, then where would it end, and what purpose would it serve?"

And that's why I love this series, and will continue reading each installment as long as Smith keeps writing them.
L.A. Starks
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An upbeat, easygoing book, perfect for the holidays. This is latest in the series from an author who is Botswana's best travel agent--(meant in the nicest way.) While Precious grapples with real problems and find ways to solve them, readers get to understand and enjoy her very humane world-view.

This series is 180-degrees from a hard-charging thriller; still, mystery and cozy readers will like this gentle book that nonetheless deals with weighty topics.

Highly recommended.
I cannot "not like" any of these stories, I just love the characters and the Botswana setting too much. Still, this one was - sadly - a little lacking. I missed the usual slow build-up of the one central case, where we are on a journey of discovery together with Mma Ramotswe and her helpers. Also the other developments, Charlie's engagement and baby Daisy, are treated a little too fleetingly for my taste.
I love Mr McCall Smith's writing, but could it be that he is working on too many projects?
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I am amazed that Alexander McCall Smith, one of the most prolific of contemporary authors, has managed to write another wonderful story about Precious Ramotswe and her fellow residents of Botswana. Mma Ramotswe meets an old friend who is estranged from her daughter, and her investigation dovetails in a surprising way with another problem handled by the indomitable Mma. Potokwame. Precious treats everyone with kindness, because “kindness, after all, did not distinguish between those who merited
Book #20 in my favorite series yay! There's just something about these books. It's the people, the descriptions of the land itself, and the positive depictions of almost everyone and everything including traditionally built ladies. Just look at some of the titles: The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, Blue Shoes and Happiness, The Full Cupboard of Life, The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine and some other titles like The Art of Gratitude and The Careful Use of Compliments. I've watched a lot of interviews ...more
Maybe not quite as good

I love Mma Ramotswe and J.L.B Matekoni. I adore Mma Makutse and Charlie and Mma Potekwane. And even though I have never seen Botswana, I love it as well.

But I did not love this novel as I have so many of the others. I have noticed a tendency in recent novels for the author to tie things together very quickly in just a few pages, as if he suddenly realized he was nearing a page limit and had to finish things up in the pages that were left. This installment has a similar
✰  BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰
Copy received from Hachette Australia for an honest review

I have read the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series on and off over the years and have enjoyed them.

However, this one was a miss for me. It was lacking that something that makes these books great.

This installment just felt like it was earlier books on repeat, and it really did not do Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi justice (though I have not really been a fan of Mms Makutsi in the past either)

I did like that Charlie got married (highlight
John Yingling
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I look forward to each of these books as I would to visiting with old, dear friends. There is gentle humor, delightful dialogue, warmhearted scenes, interesting mysteries, and just the feeling of kindness and of people relating to each other in different ways. There's an unhurried atmosphere throughout each book, which I especially like, since during too much of life we seem to want rush through it in a matter of minutes. I very much like each of the regular characters, and as the series has ...more
Dale Wyant
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading another tale of Mma Romotswe and her community is like reconnecting with old friends. Just the respite I once again needed! SO fun to settle in and see what interesting case will need to be solved and how Mma Makusti and Charlie are getting along. Even Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni gets an interesting storyline!
This series is a sweet and lovely escape to a "foreign" land that inhabitants aren't so foreign at all.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"Mma Ramotswe sighed. You had to sigh sometimes, because life was so complicated or impenetrable; or because people behaved in a messy way; or because there was simply no ready solution to a human mix-up ... you should not expect a resolution of everything because some details in any picture were simply not there, and never would be?"

I cannot tell you the complete and utter joy I get in opening up a fresh new tale from the ‘No.1 Ladies Detective Agency’. It is hard to believe this is the
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
As the year winds down, I have been catching up on some of the series that I have read faithfully over the years. Now it is time to head off to Botswana to visit with the practitioners at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. It is no. 1 and the only ladies' detective agency in Botswana.

This is the twentieth entry in this series that has been going since 1998 and I've been reading them for just about that long. This is a mystery series virtually without blood or violence. Instead, the mysteries
Carol (Reading Ladies)
1.5 Stars
If you read and loved this story, you may not want to read this review. Looking at the Goodreads overall rating, it appears that I’m a definite outlier! I’m offering this unpopular opinion as a fan of the series...I’ve read them all.. however, this recent installment is a huge disappointment. Fans of the series may want to read it and may enjoy it (I suggest that this is one to borrow and not buy)....but if you decide to skip it, you won’t have missed much. One pet peeve is that the
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ongoing-series
“Mma Ramotswe glanced down at her friend’s feet. They were on the large side, and they reminded her at that moment of the bottom sections of the concrete pillars of that new bridge on the outskirts of town; but she did not say anything about that, of course, as it is rude to make civil engineering comparisons when talking about a friend’s personal features.”

“She had never once regretted what she had done under the influence of tea, and would not start doing so now.”
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review to follow when I read the library copy...
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. I've read all previous, but probably won't read any more in the series. It reads like it was written quickly, to a publisher's timetable. There is a fair bit of filler here. And the repeated comments on the (supposed) behaviours of men is really getting on my nerves, it's repetitive and wrong and sexist in my opinion, and occurs in almost every chapter. I know he is writing for his feminist audience and they (probably) lap it up, but even then, these biting criticisms come across ...more
"My brothers and my sisters. Those words, as simple and direct as they were, never failed to resonate with her. They were words that said so much about how people should feel about one another. When you addressed others as your brothers or your sisters, you professed something deep and essential about how you felt towards them. You were saying We are not strangers to one another. You were reminding them, and yourself as well, of your shared humanity. You were not claiming to be anything more ...more
The Library Lady
Someone else here wrote a review as a letter to Mma Ramotwse, done in McCall Smith's style. She pled with Mma to talk to Mr McCall Smith because his recent books aren't doing her justice, and I wish I'd written that review myself.

Perhaps McCall Smith is tired of writing these. Perhaps he is yearning to write more children's books or more stand alone titles. I thought his children's books were awful, but people would buy anything with his name on them at this point (and do!), so perhaps he should
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Sep 15, 2019 rated it liked it
The 20th instalment in this series features all the familiar characters and follows the faithful formula, but it's not the best of the bunch. There are three central storylines but as usual they take a backseat to the characters sitting around drinking tea and discussing life. For whatever reason I found their conversations less interesting than usual and at least one of the storylines gets wrapped up so abruptly in the final two pages that I didn't fully understand how it had come together. ...more
Elaine Mulligan
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
No need to read the preceding books in the series Anytime I can connect with a new story of The 'No. 1' Ladies' Detective Agency and traditionally built Precious Ramotswe it is a good thing. Anyone who hasn't read a book in the series just try the opening sample of this book or the first title in the series, the writing just sucks you right in. The humor and the stories are wonderfully entertaining. This title opens up at a wedding in October just before the rains come and you really get a sense ...more
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I give Alexander McCall Smith 5 stars for consistent stellar writing that whispers the message, “no matter if we’re in a flat in Edinburgh or living in the arid clamor of Gaborone, we are all humans struggling to make our way. Let’s be there for each other with kindness.” There were some passages in this book that were so tender and true that I cried just because of the simple power we all have to make someone else’s life better. And no author does a better job poking a funny stick at when we ...more
Nov 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star
The latest in the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, it continues in the same vein. Just like the others, it’s a “cozy” read set in much simpler times where people are polite and caring. This particular book doesn’t have as much action in it but was still a good read. Certainly don’t just pick this book out of the series as your first. They definitely need to be read in order to fully understand and appreciate the story lines and characters.
Barb Martin
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Charlie plans to get married . . . if he can get money for the bride price. A self-made reverend woos the female members of his flock. A woman thought to be dead isn't.

Precious Ramotswe and her cohorts in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency do what they do so well. They quietly talk to people, eat fruitcake and help people. Like the other novels in the series, this one wanders slowly to its conclusion. Time spent with friends always is a wonderful way to live.
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
I still love how relaxing and gentle these stories are. So I am giving four stars partly out of nostalgia. However, the books are kind of trending a bit to less and less actual content. I will still read them, but they only are activating my "comfort" sensors now, and not my actual reading sensors, if that makes sense.
John McDonald
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mr. JLB Matekoni is concerned with meat, specifically how people who perform feats of physical strength require the protein and fats that meat offer. Mma Ramotswe certainly is sympathetic, but the reader wonders if Mr. JLB wants meat when he comes home for dinner, sometimes as late as 8 p.m.

This scene with its gentle, rolling, mildly funny dialogue between Mr. JLB and Precisou, persists for at least a half dozen pages. At the end of the book, we learn that meat is central to the solution of the
Conchita Matson
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So many good things!!
I laughed and I cried. I once again saw Botswana in all its beauty and felt the warmth of the sun and of long ago friendships renewed once again and those just beginning.
The best one yet.
Jo Dervan
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Precious Ramotswe and her Ladies #1 Detective Agency returns in this story about reconnecting with old friends. While Precious and her husband were attending a wedding of a distant relative, she spotted Calviniah, a woman she thought had died in an accident. It turns out the friend was very much alive and had been mixed up with someone else by the newspapers.

So the 2 ladies met for lunch to catch up on their lives since they had not seen each other for many years. Calviniah told Precious about
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Play Book Tag: To the Land of Long Lost Friends - Smith - 3 stars 1 7 Dec 04, 2019 01:02PM  

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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 (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
  • 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)
“Mr J. L. B. Matekoni thought that she was right. He was not a man with a very sophisticated theology, and there were times when he had his serious doubts. But when all was said and done he thought that there was something beyond us, something other than the human, and that if you closed your eyes and thought about this thing long enough you could hear its voice within you. That was enough for him.” 0 likes
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