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The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party

(No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #12)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  13,597 ratings  ·  1,650 reviews
At a remote cattle post south of Gaborone two cows have been killed, and Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s No. 1 Lady Detective, is hired by fearful client, himself a suspect. She and secretary Grace Makutsi, wooed by Phuti Radiphuti, both see her old white van. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni’s apprentice runs away under pressure to wed. Violet Sephotho runs for the Botswana Parliament.
Hardcover, 213 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by Pantheon (first published 2011)
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Showing 1-30
4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,597 ratings  ·  1,650 reviews

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Petra Eggs
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is more like it! After the disappointing The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection with its collection of lame stories with no overarching plot and rather limply written characters, this is back to a good story and realistic people.

The main story is about a couple of dead cows and who killed them. There are lots of suspects, a confession or two which aren't necessarily the truth, and instead of a denoument a face-saving solution to the problem that has caused the torture of these two innocen
Feb 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-challenge

In this addition to the "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series - set in Botswana - Mma Makutski plans her long-awaited wedding to Phuti Radiphuti while Mma Ramotswe handles a difficult case.

Mma Ramotswe, the detective agency owner, is approached by Mr. Botsalo Moeti, a cattle farmer who reports that two of his cows were purposely maimed. Mr. Moeti doesn't want to contact the police and asks Mma Ramotswe to investigate. The detective drives to the client's farm and finds a fairly common situatio
Jul 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful. Like a warm tasty comforting free meal on a cold night. Some surprising developments in the case of Charlie the apprentice who finds out that he has twins to support, until Precious Ramotswe discovers that perhaps he is not the father after all. Precious finally gets her tiny white van back and Grace Makutsi marries Phuti Radiphuti in style after Mma Potokwani invites herself to the wedding and takes over preparations. Much simple wisdom and funny situations and talk, but the book is ...more
*third read*
Third read, and still great. I just love this series. If you ever want a smile, try these books. I highly recommend the audio performances by Lisette Lecat. She is unmatched. She turns a really good book into something truly spectacular. I can't praise her or this series highly enough.

*second read*
I'm running out of things to say about this series. I've read this book now twice in the same calendar year. I could be perfectly happy to be reading one of the books in this series all th
Jan Rice
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I sit here, sipping a steaming mug of African red bush tea, wondering how to convey to you why I feel about Alexander McCall Smith, in general, and this book, in particular, as I do.

Here in Atlanta there was a local right-wing talk-show host, eventually nationally syndicated and now retired (and, I always remember, my exact same age) who used to bluster that he said what everybody else was thinking but was afraid to say--nasty, mean-spirited comments about others, of course. Alexander McCall Smi
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Taking her old shoes out of the box into which Paticia had tucked them, she slipped them back on her feet and continued on her way to the Tlokweng Road. One or two people had witnessed the tragedy, or at least had seen part of it: a young man passing by, a boy on a bicycle, an old man standing in the shade of a tree. But they had only seen a woman racing after a white van and then stumbling; they had seen her bend down and change her footwear before walking off towards the main road. So might w ...more
Will Byrnes
Oct 18, 2011 rated it liked it
In the 12th volume of this delightful series, Botswana’s most renowned lady detective looks into a mysterious event on a farmer’s land. Cattle have been slashed. Who would do such a thing? Of course Precious Ramotswe and her able, if somewhat shoe-addled assistant, Grace Makutsi, are on the case, and you know they will get to the bottom of it, by and by.

In the meantime, Grace is eagerly planning for her upcoming wedding. This entails getting the finest possible shoes. If you have read any of the
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Alexander McCall Smith's No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series is one of my favorite series. This installment is probably the best of the twelve books so far.

In this book, Precious Ramotswe thinks at one point: ". . . she would always take the time to drink tea, to look at the sky, and to talk. What else was there to do? Make money? Why? Did money bring any greater happiness than that furnished by a well-made cup of red bush tea and a moment or two with a good friend? She thought not" (p 198). Th
Mal Warwick
May 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Join Precious Ramotswe, proprietor of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, for the weeks that elapse in this charming tale of life in Botswana, and you may emerge with fresh perspective on life. Mma Ramotswe — the prefix is a title akin to “Ms.” — and those who surround her live their lives in a slow and steady way that would be familiar to village-based people everywhere but alien to those of us who populate the world’s fast-paced urban centers.

Mma Ramotswe’s Botswana is a nation displaced from
Apr 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I know that not everyone is a fan of Precious Ramotswe, but she makes me smile. These books are so comfortable and comforting, soothing almost. I love the cadence of the language and diction of the Botswanan characters; it momentarily transmits the slower pace of life to the reader. I can feel myself relaxing as I read.

Quick, light read with enough mystery for a detective agency to earn its keep, but lots of affirmation that most people really are good at heart. These books make me smile. :)

Thomas Strömquist
This one was way too repetitive if you've read others in the series. Everyone does what you expect them to do - and nothing they haven't done before. One of the side stories fizzles out into absolutely nothing (almost as if the author forgot he had started that particular thread) and the "main mystery" comes to an undramatic but still a bit disturbing closure. Most others in the series (that I have read so far) are better choices.
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: african, mystery
When I pick up a book from The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series I have certain expectations. I expect a slower pace and to reacquaint myself with familiar friends who have traditional values such respect for people, for property and to have manners. In fact if someone doesn’t portray these values then they are usually the ‘baddie’.

THE SATURDAY BIG TENT WEDDING PARTY, the twelfth in the series, opens a few weeks before Mma Makutsi's long awaited wedding. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency take
Apr 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am such a fan of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books and I love the wisdom of Precious Ramotswe. The books are such a peaceful read. My favorite passages:

"So might we fail to see the real sadness that lies behind the acts of others; so might we look at one of our fellow men going about his business and not know of the sorrow that he is feeling, the effort that he is making, the things that he has lost."

"She looked at him fondly; that he had been sent to her, when there were so many other l
Another enjoyable instalment in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series. McCall Smith certainly churns them out along with his other two 'middle class comfort zone' series - but they work for me!

This is possibly one of the slighter books and with some disappointments but some welcome familiar themes - Charlie the apprentice's waywardness, Mma Makutsi's passion for shoes. In this book there is a lot reflecting on the differences between men and women. Occasionally McCall Smith can jar when he 'g
Lucy Hannigan
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have read every book in "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series and have loved them all. As in any series some books are better than others, but all have been a delightful read. When I heard that HBO was doing a TV show based on the books I was a little concerned, but having now watched them all, I think they did a great job in casting and staying true to the books (other than introducing a regular character who is NOT in any of the books). I love Mma Precious Ramotswe (who is a "tradition ...more
Lori Rader-Day
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
These books are the only nearly-plotless books I can stand and, in fact, I love them beyond reason. They wander, they dilly-dally. Sometimes mysteries get solved. I can't explain why they've grown on me, except to say that they star charming characters who deal with the problems people bring them in charming ways. I am charmed. And now I have to wait months and months for the next one and hope that Alexander McCall Smith lives forever.
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
After an unsatisfied, uncomfortable read of the latest book in this series, I found myself going back to number 1 to see if I still love wd the first one. I have just kept going, almost automatically, with the re-read to this point.

I'm losing steam, though. Not sure I'll continue this re-read-athon.

In the more recent novels, an authorial grumpy old guy voice near overshadows the natural voices of the characters.

Since the mystery arcs in each book are secondary to the series character arcs and
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Botswana's favorite fictional detective stories from the traditionally built. Now with soccer. The beautiful game crops up in this one. As always, sweet and funny while wise and elegiac - a love song to Africa that goes down as smooth as bush tea.
Oct 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
I like Laurel's review of this series. The books are comforting, I agree. For me, it is like having a bedtime story read to me. I like them even more because I've watched the HBO series of dramatizations of the books. How did they manage to cast the characters EXACTLY as I had imagined them? This book aided in my recovery from a siege of sickness. I know that it helped me get better!

The main mystery in this book had an intriguing solution.

Here's Laurel's review:
Jun 14, 2008
Laurel rated it
Lis Carey
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is our latest visit with the ladies of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and their family and friends. After many months, epic bride price negotiations with Grace's greedy uncle, and the trauma of Phuti's loss of a foot in a previous book, Grace Makutsi and Phuti Radiphuti are at last making the final preparations for their wedding day. And Grace is starting to realize how her life will change, when she is married to this man whom she loves and who loves her--and who is wealthy enough that ...more
Dec 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: family-story, mystery
Mma Ramotswe, proprietor of the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botstwana, is back, and is as busy as ever. Her assistant, Mma Makutsi, is preparing (at last!) for her wedding to Puti Radiputi, and the question of shoes causes her great distress. Charlie, whose apprenticeship in the repair shop has gone years past the normal span of an apprenticeship, is in trouble with a girl--and this time, it's serious. Then of course there is the case of Mr. Mweti, a farmer who had two cows hamstrung in the ...more
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
It's been a while since I last read about the adventures of Precious Ramotswe. Or, I should say, listened to. I listened to the very first book back in 2009 and immediately became enchanted by the story, the characters and the wonderful narrative skills of Lisette Lecat. I enjoyed her voice and interpretation of the different accents and nuances of speech so much, that I have listened to all of the series rather than read the books.

By the time you get to book 12 in any series, you want to have
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
what can i say? brillantly crafted story. all the familiar nuisances and pleasantries. the normal twists and turns. intrigue. mystery. reason. uncertainity. fact. proof. fiction. perception. ambiguity. wisdom. comedy. and truths:

"You are the lady to help people. The words came back to her as she made her way home that evening. It was pleasing to know that people thought of you, but worrying too. You could not help everybody-nobody could-because the world was too full of need and troubles, a wide
Judy Iliff
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books never fail to satisfy a yearning for serenity that you're not even aware your want! The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party is no exception. Precious Ramotswe is asked to discover who killed 2 cows of a farmer; then she's faced with the problem of a promise she made to a small boy. Grace Makutsi, in the meantime, must find the perfect pair of shoes for her upcoming marriage to Phuti Radiphuti. On top of all of this, Mma Ramotswe thinks sh ...more
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Once again, Precious Ramotswe is on the case. This time it's about dead cattle. I love how she stews about it for a couple days, drives somewhere, makes one inquiry, and scores an incredible lead, if not the solution. If only all detective work was this easy.
I don't know how she deals with Grace Makutsi. She's bugged me for several books now. Nobody that blunt and untactful should be allowed to do detective work. It's probably a good thing she spends most of her time typing, filing, or shoe shop
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, humour
In this twelfth episode of the 'No 1 Ladies Detective Agency' series, Precious Ramotswe's assistant detective Grace Makutsi is finally getting married to Phuti Radiphuti. While she is busy planning her wedding and in particular what shoes to buy, the agency is investigating the killing of two cows at a distant farm. It proves to be a difficult case for Mma Ramotswe and one where the truth might not be what it appears. Mr J.L.B Maketoni, Mma Ramotswe's husband has his own problems with his appren ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-cosy
Mma Ramotswe investigates a mysterious attack on some cattle, and Mma Makutsi prepares for her wedding. Meanwhile Charlie the apprentice finds himself in a difficult situation.

Warm and charming as always, this episode is an improvement on the previous one in the series, despite the weakness of the 'mystery' that occupies Mma Ramotswe's attention. The interactions between the characters is uplifting, and the warmth and wisdom of Mma Ramotswe's observations are reassuringly present throughout the
Although I really love this series,this was way too short (only 171 pages). I got this for my Nook and later found out that the Amazon and iBook ebook versions came with a video that did not come with the Nook version.
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mccall-smith
I decided that it's time to give one of these books 4 stars. There's nothing that makes this one stand out from the others, but it was the type of story I wanted to read after having read books that were grim and/or intense.

None of these titles are action-packed, but they all are gentle stories that read smoothly. The main characters are like old friends, each basically good-natured and each with his/her own personality quirks. Embedded throughout the story are little reminders about living a go
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: soothing
I love the novels about No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, I love the TV-series about the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, I love the characters in the novels, the atmosphere, the landscape and in fact, I think I love everything about it.

It's always nice to be able to go back to Gaborone, Botswana and spend some time with Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi. Even though the novels is written by a Scotsman, it still feels as if the respect for the main characters is bone deep. Mma Ramtoswe is not a superhero,
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Goodreads Librari...: please add cover to audiobook 2 11 Apr 20, 2018 04:02PM  
Still a pleasure to read, but getting a bit thin 16 79 Oct 26, 2013 09:05PM  
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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, #01)
  • Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #02)
  • Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #3)
  • The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #04)
  • The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #05)
  • In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #06)
  • Blue Shoes and Happiness (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #07)
  • The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #08)
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“--a drive in the country, an expedition to a shoe shop a quiet cup of tea under a cloudless sky; each of us had something that made it easier to continue in a world that sometimes, just sometimes, was not as we might wish it to be.” 9 likes
“A wedding was a strange ceremony, she thought, with all those formal words, those solemn vows made by one to another; whereas the real question that should be put to the two people involved was a very simple one. Are you happy with each other? was the only question that should be asked; to which they both should reply, preferably in unison, Yes.” 7 likes
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