Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “To the Land of Long Lost Friends” as Want to Read:
To the Land of Long Lost Friends
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

To the Land of Long Lost Friends

(No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #20)

by
3.93  ·  Rating details ·  5,313 ratings  ·  752 reviews
In the latest book in the widely beloved No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, Precious Ramotswe takes on a case for a childhood acquaintance and finds that family relationships are always a tricky proposition—even for Botswana's premier female detective.

Mma Ramotswe has reconnected with an old friend who has been having problems with her daughter. Though Precious feels c
...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by Pantheon Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about To the Land of Long Lost Friends, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Peggy Almost nothing in the description happened in the book. Even the plot line about the "troublesome daughter" which did happen, was not because the woma…moreAlmost nothing in the description happened in the book. Even the plot line about the "troublesome daughter" which did happen, was not because the woman came to see Mma Ramotswe. The woman is her long-lost friend, and Mma undertakes the investigation completely on her own. There is no subplot involving Mr. JLB Matekoni or Mr. Polopetsi or Fanwell. The large Print version (published by Wheeler) seems to have the correct description.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,313 ratings  ·  752 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of To the Land of Long Lost Friends
Elite Group
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 i
...more
Phrynne
Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019
I am so glad that Alexander McCall Smith is such a prolific writer. It means he writes books faster than I can find time to read them so I never run out. Of course when it comes to the latest No.1 Ladies Detective Agency book I make the time to read it.

As is expected Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi drink lots of Rooibos tea, discuss the failings of mankind, and still solve a few mysterious cases along the way. The little white van is amazingly still more or less road worthy, Charlie is showing sign
...more
Jean
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 h
...more
Carolyn
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 b
...more
cloudyskye
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?
...more
Susan Johnson
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Diane Barnes
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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.
Julie
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This book provided me with several pleasant interludes while cycling my stationary recumbent bicycle. I find I will exercise longer if I am sufficiently distracted! There were the usual references to cups of tea and teatime, which provided several of my favorite quotes:

"A cup of tea usually restored perspective on things.."
"Tea was served and the cake was wordlessly taken from its tin, given admiring looks by Mma Ramotswe, and served on Mma Potokwane's best plates..." This stirred fond memories
...more
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 lov
...more
Laura
The latest Mma Ramotswe novel is out, and yes. The magic is still there. I love the wisdom and the kindness (but without any type of feeling of sickening-sweetness) in these books. There is humor that is genuinely funny, sometimes laugh out loud funny, because as you get to know these characters, you can't help but love them, even for their faults. They are real and I love spending time with them.

AMS loves Botswana, and it shows. He loves and appreciates trees, the sky, gardens, birds, etc. He
...more
L.A. Starks
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Marianne
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wishlist
“She had already had a cup of tea at home before she left for the office, but that was no reason not to have one now. A cup of tea usually restored perspective on things, and that was what she needed now, rather than to sit and think about the ways in which the modern world was ordered. And she was right: a steaming cup of redbush tea was sufficient to banish thoughts of change and decay and to restore the spirits. This was going to be a good day - she was determined to make that so – and she wa ...more
The Library Lady
I am not sure why I disliked this book when I read it in 2019 as a review copy. But though it has too many silly Mma Makutsi argues with Mma Ramotswe (or Charlie) sequences, I enjoyed it a lot more this time around.
✰  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 o
...more
Virginia
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 pr
...more
Linden
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 i
...more
Moonkiszt
I'm a long time fan of this series, but this one seems to have out-gentled all the others I can remember. There is a sweetness to it, with families wrapping themselves around those who need it, and secular mini-homilies about forgiveness, refraining from assumption, generosity of spirit and loyalty. For me this book was less mystery than it was observation on human relationships.

But there is a little dark streak of women v men, rich v poor, religion v tradition, the in people and the out people.
...more
EchoWolf
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Irene
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
Deanna
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I passed on the last couple of books in this series, largely because I’ve only ever wanted to listen to them on audible and suddenly the formerly delightful narration was overrun by unpleasant, distracting mouth noise.

The quality of these stories has always been variable, with odd and sometimes important narrative inconsistencies running throughout, and I had grown weary of both. I thought I was finished with the series.

But I found myself missing my escapes to Botswana through the eyes of thes
...more
Ruby
Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yet another enjoyable entry in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. The characters are moving on in life, even though Mma Ramotswe is still driving her tiny white van, much to the displeasure of Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni. Mma Ramotswe agrees to investigate why an old friend's daughter doesn't want anything to do with her mother anymore. Mma Makutsi and Charlie look further into a case that seemed to have been solved. The Ramotswe/Matekoni family gains a new member, and Charlie's and Queenie-Quee ...more
Marianne
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“She had already had a cup of tea at home before she left for the office, but that was no reason not to have one now. A cup of tea usually restored perspective on things, and that was what she needed now, rather than to sit and think about the ways in which the modern world was ordered. And she was right: a steaming cup of redbush tea was sufficient to banish thoughts of change and decay and to restore the spirits. This was going to be a good day - she was determined to make that so – and she wa ...more
John Yingling
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 pro ...more
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
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. Nev ...more
Dale Wyant
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lulu
Nov 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another lovely visit with characters we’ve grown to love.

The author loves Botswana and it’s people and you can tell through his beautiful descriptions.
Dorothy
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 ge
...more
Helen
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5*

"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 20
...more
Alisha
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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.”
Rebekah Giese Witherspoon
What a joy and a comfort to return to the company of my dear friends in Botswana.

Mma Ramotswe found Mma Potokwane helping herself to a plateful of sausages from one of the barbecue pits. “I am helping myself,” explained the matron. “After all, don’t they say that the Lord helps those who help themselves?”

“Sometimes, you know, it’s a question of finding the right tree by barking up a whole lot of trees, some of which may be the wrong ones. You never know. The tree knows, of course, but you don’t.
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • All the Devils Are Here (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #16)
  • Beating About the Bush (Agatha Raisin, #30)
  • Trace Elements (Comissario Guido Brunetti #29)
  • The Old Success (Richard Jury, #25)
  • Galway Girl (Jack Taylor #15)
  • Twisted Twenty-Six (Stephanie Plum, #26)
  • A Killer Carol (An Amish Mystery #7)
  • Redhead by the Side of the Road
  • A Cruel Deception (Bess Crawford, #11)
  • Shepherd
  • A Better Man (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #15)
  • Silver
  • Riviera Gold (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, #16)
  • The Last Séance: Tales of the Supernatural
  • The Confession Club (Mason, #3)
  • Here Comes Santa Paws (Melanie Travis, #24)
  • Confessions of a Bookseller
See similar books…
10,162 followers
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 21 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 (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #4)
  • 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)

Related Articles

His Favorite Books Set in the Tropics: Take your imagination to the Cayman Islands in his new novel, The Forever Girl, and in these five recs set...
15 likes · 20 comments
“people who believed not that the end was coming—as some people did—but that it had actually come, and we had simply failed to notice” 0 likes
“a cloud of dust thrown up behind her white van like the vapour trail of a high-flying aircraft,” 0 likes
More quotes…