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The Kalahari Typing School for Men

The Kalahari Typing School for Men

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Written by Alexander McCall SmithAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Alexander McCall Smith

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 224 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor
  • On Sale: March 9, 2004
  • Price: $14.95
  • ISBN: 978-1-4000-3180-1 (1-4000-3180-X)
Also available as an eBook and a hardcover.
about this book


A beguiling mystery and lyrical novel of Africa—the fourth in a series that the L.A. Times calls “thoroughly engaging and entertaining.”

Now that The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (the only detective agency for ladies and others in Botswana) is established, its founder, Precious Ramotswe, can look upon her life with pride: she’s reached her late thirties (“the finest age to be”), has a house, two children, a good fiancé—Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni—and many satisfied customers. But life is never without its problems. It turns out that her adopted son is responsible for the dead hoopoe bird in the garden; her assistant, Mma Makutsi, wants a husband and needs help with her idea to open the Kalahari Typing School for Men; yet Mma Ramotswe’s sexist rival has no trouble opening his Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency across town. Will Precious Ramotswe’s delightfully cunning and profoundly moral methods save the day? Follow the continuing story of Botswana’s first lady detective in the irresistible The Kalahari Typing School for Men.

“The apparent simplicity of the story belies McCall Smith’s keen eye and sly sense of humour.” —Layla Dabby, The Gazette (Montreal)

“They [McCall Smith’s books] are closer to being moral fables, fascinating explorations of guilt and conscience and reparation and atonement. … [Mma Ramotswe’s] cleverness lies in her way of resolving the situations that arise to the satisfaction of all parties. I can’t even begin to say how profoundly satisfying this makes the books. …[A]t a certain point in reading the Ladies’ Detective books, I experienced something I haven’t felt since reading Nancy Drew books as a child. I no longer wanted to read about Mma Ramotswe: I wanted to be her.” —Sara O’Leary, The Vancouver Sun

“Reader, be warned: This is not your ordinary detective novel. With more than a touch of whimsy, Alexander McCall Smith filters his sometime homeland of Southern Africa through the Agatha Christie medium, and emerges triumphant . . . The Kalahari Typing School for Men maintains the breezy-to-read, gentle tone of Smith’s previous work, and leaves us wanting more adventures ASAP” —Daneet Steffens, The Globe and Mail, April 26, 2003

“There’s no mystery as to why Alexander McCall Smith’s books are everywhere . . . His works are engaging, delightful events, immersing readers in a world that is foreign, yet familiar, where good people try to do their best in life, with mixed results. … [T]his is a love letter to Botswana and her people . . . The memorable characters, cadence, turns of phrase and imagery create a pleasing, haunting, [sic] tableaux readers will want to visit more than once.” —Ruth Myles, Calgary Herald

“The fourth appearance of Precious Ramotswe, protagonist of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and two sequels, is once again a charming account of the everyday challenges facing a female private detective in Botswana . . . But the real appeal of this slender novel is Ramotswe’s solid common sense, a proficient blend of folk wisdom, experience and simple intelligence . . . A dose of easy humor laces the pages, as McCall Smith throws in wry observations, effortlessly commenting on the vagaries his protagonist encounters as she negotiates Botswana bureaucracy. This is another graceful entry in a pleasingly modest and wise series.” —Publishers Weekly

“His fondness for the country is deeply felt and his highly amusing books are gems . . . Smith’s characters, too, are captivating, their sanguine celebrations of life the perfect backdrop to small and curious adventures.” —The London Free Press

“It’s a novel rich in humor and insight that provides a glimpse into African culture.” —The Observer