Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books
Authors
Books
Features
Newletters and Alerts

Buy now from Random House

See more online stores - Mystery of Meerkat Hill

Buy now from Random House

See more online stores - Mystery of Meerkat Hill

Buy now from Random House

  • The Mystery of Meerkat Hill
  • Written by Alexander McCall Smith
    Illustrated by Iain McIntosh
  • Format: Hardcover Library Binding | ISBN: 9780345806161
  • Our Price: $13.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Mystery of Meerkat Hill

Buy now from Random House

See more online stores - Mystery of Meerkat Hill

Buy now from Random House

See more online stores - Mystery of Meerkat Hill

Buy now from Random House

  • The Mystery of Meerkat Hill
  • Written by Alexander McCall Smith
    Read by Adjoa Andoh
  • Format: Unabridged Audiobook Download | ISBN: 9780385363839
  • Our Price: $7.50
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Mystery of Meerkat Hill

Mystery of Meerkat Hill

    Select a Format:
  • Book
  • eBook
  • Audiobook

A Precious Ramotswe Mystery for Young Readers

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



eBook

List Price: $6.99

eBook

On Sale: October 22, 2013
Pages: 96 | ISBN: 978-0-345-80447-1
Published by : Anchor Knopf

Audio Editions

$15.00

Read by Adjoa Andoh
On Sale: October 22, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-385-36382-2
More Info...

Read by Adjoa Andoh
On Sale: October 22, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-385-36383-9
More Info...
Listen to an excerpt
Visit RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO to learn more about audiobooks.


The Mystery of Meerkat Hill Cover

Bookmark,
Share & Shelve:

  • Add This - Mystery of Meerkat Hill
  • Email this page - Mystery of Meerkat Hill
  • Print this page - Mystery of Meerkat Hill
ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PRAISE PRAISE
EVENTS EVENTS
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Precious wants to be a detective when she grows up. She is always practicing at being a detective by asking questions and finding out about other people’s lives. There are two new students in her class, a girl called Teb and a boy called Pontsho. She learns that they are brother and sister, and—even more exciting—that Pontsho has a clever pet meerkat named Kosi.
 
One day, Teb and Pontsho’s family’s cow disappears. Precious helps them look for clues to find the cow. But getting the cow back home will require some quick thinking and help from an unexpected source.

Excerpt

Excerpted from Chapter One



THIS IS THE STORY of a girl called Precious. It is also the story of a boy whose name was Pontsho, and of another girl who had a very long name. Sometimes people who have a very long name fi nd it easier to shorten it. So this other girl was called Teb. There is no room here, I’m afraid, to give her full name, as that would take up quite a few lines. So, like everybody else, we’ll call her Teb.

Precious’s last name was Ramotswe,  which sounds like this—RAM—OT—SWEE. There: try it yourself—it’s not hard to say. She lived in a country called Botswana, which is in Africa. Botswana is very beautiful—it has wide plains that seem to go on and on as far as the eye can see, until they join the sky, which is high and empty.
Sometimes, you know, when you look up at an empty sky, it seems as if it’s singing. It is very odd, but that is how it seems.

There are hills that pop up on these plains. The hills look rather like islands, and the plains look a bit like the sea.

Precious lived with her father, Obed, in a small house outside a village. Obed was a good, kind man who wore a rather battered old hat. That hat was well-known in the village and even further away.

“Here he comes!” people would say when they saw his hat in the distance. “Here comes Obed!”

On one occasion Obed lost his hat while walking home in the dark. A wind blew up and lifted it right off his head, and because there was no light he was unable to find it. The next day, when he went back to the place where he had lost the hat, there was still no sign of it. He searched and searched, but without success.

“You could buy a new one, Daddy,” Precious suggested.

Obed shook his head. “A new hat is never as comfortable as an old one,” he said. “And I loved that hat.” He paused, looking up at his daughter. “It saved my life, you know.”

Precious wondered how a hat could save your life. “Please tell me the story,” she said. She loved her father’s stories ,especially when he told them at bedtime.There is something very exciting about a bedtime story, and it is even better if the story is told after the lights have been turned out. The words sound different—as if they are being whispered just for you and for nobody else. The words are all around you, like a warm blanket.

So Obed told her about the hat that evening, when it was already dark outside and the African sky was filling with stars.

“Quite a few years ago,” he began, “before you were even born, I worked for a while on a farm. It was a very dry place, as there was not much rain in that part of the country. But each year the rains came, and the land would turn green as the plants returned to life. That could happen so quickly—sometimes overnight.

“My job was to see that the cattle were getting water to drink. We had to pump the water up from deep wells. Then the cattle could satisfy their thirst. I had to go and check that everything was working properly and fix it if it was not.

“Now, it was rather remote and empty down there, and although there were no lions, there were other wild animals—and birds. And this is all about one of those birds—a very dangerous bird.”

Precious interrupted him. “Birds can’t be dangerous,” she said, laughing at the thought. “Birds are far too small.”

Obed shook his head. “That’s where you’re wrong, my darling. There are some birds that are very big.”

“An eagle?” asked Precious.

“Bigger than that. Much bigger.”

She thought and thought, and was still thinking when Obed said: “An ostrich!

“An ostrich,” her father went on, “is much bigger than a man, and yes, it can be very dangerous. You have to be very careful if you get too close to an ostrich because they can kick. They have these very strong legs, you see, and at the end of one of them there is a claw. You can be very badly hurt by an ostrich kick—very, very badly hurt.”

Precious shivered. Sometimes her father’s stories were a little bit frightening, even if they usually ended well.

“Now,” Obed continued, “I was walking through the bush one day, looking for some stray cattle, and suddenly I heard a noise. It was a very strange noise, and I stopped in my tracks wondering what it was. Then I saw it. Not far away from me, looking at me with those big angry eyes that they have, was an ostrich. And I knew right away that I had disturbed this creature and that it was about to attack me. The reason why it was so angry was that I had come too close to its nest. These birds make large nests on the ground in which they lay massive eggs. Think of a hen’s egg. Then think of an egg twenty times bigger than that—that’s an ostrich egg.

“Suddenly I remembered something I had been told, and it was just as well it came back to me. Looking down on the ground, I saw a long stick that had fallen from a nearby tree. I picked this up and put my hat on the end of this stick. Then I held it up high in the air—like this.

“Ostriches may be strong, but they are not very bright. I had remembered being told that if you put your hat
on a stick and then held it up high, an ostrich would think that the hat was your head. They would also think that you were much taller than they were, and so they would leave you alone. And, do you know, it worked! The ostrich saw my hat and thought I must be a very tall and strong creature—more than a match for her. So she backed off and I was able to continue on my way unkicked.”

Precious breathed a sigh of relief. She did not want her father to be kicked by an ostrich—who does?

“I’m glad it worked out well for you,” she said.

“Thank you,” said her father. “And now you go off to sleep, Precious, as you must be ready for school tomorrow morning.”

Precious closed her eyes and thought of school. She had heard that there was a new family coming to the school the next day—a boy and a girl—and she wondered what they would be like. New people are always interesting, and she thought that perhaps they might be her friends. It was good, she thought, to have old friends, but it was also good to have new ones.

But what about the lost hat? Did Obed get it back after it had blown away? Yes, he did. It landed a long way away but when people picked it up they knew immediately whose it was, and it was returned to him a few days later none the worse for its adventure. Of course he was very pleased, and from that day onwards whenever there was a high wind, he held onto his hat very firmly. Which is what all of us should do, don’t you think?
Alexander McCall Smith

About Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith - Mystery of Meerkat Hill

Photo © Michael Lionstar

Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the beloved, bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, the 44 Scotland Street series, and the Corduroy Mansions series. He is also the author of numerous children’s books. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh and has served with many national and international organizations concerned with bioethics. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and taught law at the University of Botswana. He lives in Scotland. Visit his website at www.alexandermccallsmith.com.

Praise

Praise

"If you’re lucky, you’ve met sleuth Precious Ramotswe in Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency mysteries for adults. Now in The Mystery of Meerkat Hill, second in Smith’s series for children, young readers get a chance to follow her adventures.... The book is written with the ease of a consummate storyteller, while Iain McInstosh’s woodcuts enliven the text and handsomely depict the terrain, people and animal life of Botswana."
     --BookPage

"A marvelous chapter book ideal for young readers, and, really, all fans of McCall Smith." 
     --Booklist (starred review)

“Kids will love this kind and clever new detective.”—Patricia Reilly Giff, Newbery Honor–winning author of Lily’s Crossing
Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith Events>

Alexander McCall Smith - Mystery of Meerkat Hill

Photo © Michael Lionstar

11/5/2014 BARNES AND NOBLE
150 East 86th Street
NEW YORK, NY 10011-4962
7:00 pm
Confirmed
Map It
11/6/2014 PORTER SQUARE BOOKS, INC PORTER SQUARE SHOPPING CENTER
25 WHITE ST
CAMBRIDGE, MA 02140-1413
7:00 pm
Confirmed
Map It
11/7/2014 A CAPPELLA BOOKS
208 HARALSON AVE NE
ATLANTA, GA 30307-2534
7:00 PM
Confirmed
Map It
11/9/2014 Lewis & Clark Library

Helena, MT
7:00 pm
Confirmed
Map It
11/10/2014 TATTERED COVER BOOKSTORE
9315 DORCHESTER ST
HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO 80129-2521
7:00 pm
Confirmed
Map It
11/12/2014 WARWICKS
7812 GIRARD AVE
LA JOLLA, CA 92037-4287
7:00 pm
Confirmed
Map It
11/13/2014 Aliso Viejo Library with MYSTERIOUS GALAXY
2810 ARTESIA BLVD
REDONDO BEACH, CA 90278-3408
7:00 pm
Confirmed
Map It
11/16/2014 Miami Book Fair

Miami, FL

Confirmed
Map It

Your E-Mail Address
send me a copy

Recipient's E-Mail Address
(multiple addresses may be separated by commas)

A personal message: