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To the Land of Long Lost Friends

(No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #20)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  813 ratings  ·  128 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 but her inquiries will require an even more delicate touch than usual.

Mma Ramotswe reconnects with an old friend who has been having problems with her daughter. Though Previous feels compelled to lend a hand, she discovers that gettingrequire
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by Pantheon Books
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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:
Breakaway Reviewers
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 antic
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 invest
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.
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 i
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
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 th
✰  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 of the book for me, though we didn't ge
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.”
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.
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 simil
Elaine Mulligan
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Barb Martin
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.
Jo Dervan
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 Prec
CW Howell
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading 20 novels about Precious, I'd know her if she walked in the room. This book is just another of her thoughtful, sober solutions for her friend's problems which is why I find her a calming escape.
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Always delightful to be in the company of his characters.
I would read “The Principles of Private Detection” by Clovis Andersen if it were a real book.

All in all, this was a rather convoluted entry in the series.
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
Laura Boudreau
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this series!
"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 than they were; you we"My ...more
Anne Herbison
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gentle content, but not without thought-provoking philosophies which make the reading contemplative and enjoyable.
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 perha
...more Mystery & Thriller
It was in 1998 that the world was introduced to Mma Precious Ramotswe. She was the owner and proprietor of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, and was in fact the only lady detective in all of Botswana. Her office, tucked into a spare room at the side of her husband’s auto repair shop on Zebra Road in Gabarone, would instantly become the home of not only the most famous lady detective in Botswana, but the most remarkable lady detective in the literary world.

As I am drawn to mysteries bot
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alexander McCall Smith's "To the Land of Long Lost Friends" is the latest installment in his long-running series about Precious Ramotswe, the managing director of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Business has been slow. Precious and her colleague, Grace Makutsi, have few cases to occupy them. Most of the novel deals with the vicissitudes of everyday life, with an emphasis on the sometimes thorny relationships between parents and children, spouses, and lovers (illicit or otherwise).

These books are so soothing and relaxing to read. It's like visiting with old friends. This time around the book starts with a wedding and ends with the planning of a wedding. In between lies the usual investigations with at times laugh out loud moments. It begins with what is supposedly the closing of a case. A woman suspected her husband was having an affair but he was only getting math lessons. Mma Makutsi however thinks there is more to the case and despite Mma Ramostwe telling her to leave ...more
Deon Stonehouse
Precious Ramotswe, the No. 1 Lady Detective in Botswana, is surprised to see an old friend, Calvinah Ramoroka, among the guests at a wedding. The two women reconnect over a lunch date and Calvinah tells Precious of her sadness at the recent changes in her daughter, the two hardly speak anymore. Seeing her friend’s distress, Precious of course wants to get to the bottom of this change in behavior to reunite mother and daughter.

Grace is not satisfied with submitting a report exonerating a husband
Rhonda Sue
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I polished this off in 2 sittings and thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with old friends- Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi, Mr. JLB, Charlie, Mma Potokwane, etc. The book is simple, and just talks about people and human nature and deals with everyday life in a way that we sort of dismiss. This is book #20 in the series and it is one of my favorite all time fiction series. I do enjoy the author's other books as well but this one is a real joy. Here, Precious reconnects with some old friends and solves the ...more
Gaby Meares
I am the No. 1 fan of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. However, I found this, the 20th book in the series, seriously disappointing.
Nothing much happens, and a lot of what does happen is forgettable. I felt I was being lectured to, rather than bestowed with Mma Ramotswe's usual gems of gentle wisdom.
I think McCall Smith needs to take a deep breath, and slow down his production of books, so that he can give each one the attention it deserves.
However, here is a small pearl of w
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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 is now known as Zimbabwe an ...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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