SueMagee 4

SueMagee

Add to my Circle of Trust

Subscribe to reviews

About me: There is a great gulf between dog and man. We can't understand why they pee on the carpet. They can't understand why we pee in their water bowl.

Member since:19.07.2001

Reviews:233

Members who trust:525

Quote-start

All for cubic zirconium

Quote-end
19.02.2005

Advantages:
A well - written, uplifting story .

Disadvantages:
It isn't detective fiction !

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Would you read it again?

Story

Characters

Readability

How does it compare to similar books?

How does it compare to other works by the same author?

61 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
exceptional by (11%):
  1. rowei
  2. BawBaw
  3. Louise90
and 8 other members
very helpful by (89%):
  1. mightymuffin
  2. Essexgirl2006
  3. weetoon
and 84 other members

View all ratings

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

Share this review on Google+


Precious Ramotswe is the proprietor of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, set up with money left to her by her Daddy, Obed Ramotswe. She’s Botswana’s finest (and only) female detective. Her fiancé, Mr J.L.B. Matekoni is the owner of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors and they are planning their life together. Meanwhile Mma Ramotswe investigates the disappearance of an American student a decade ago and Mr J.L.B. Matekoni accidentally adopts not one, but two orphans.

Last year I bought the first book in this series “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency”. I read and enjoyed it; it passed a few idle hours one sleepless night. With no intention of reading it again I sold the book on Amazon within a matter of days. I’d no thought either of reading any more in the series until I found “Tears of the Giraffe” at the library and another sleepless night was filled.

I’m a voracious reader of detective fiction, but despite being a book about a detective this isn’t detective fiction. It isn’t about the careful accumulation of evidence and elimination of other possibilities. It’s about intuition, hunches and guess work – together with a lot of luck and coincidence. It’s not a bad story though and it’s certainly well-written. Alexander McCall Smith writes with an elegant simplicity and the words slip from the page into the brain with little effort on the part of the reader.

This isn’t a book about Africa either – well, certainly not about the Africa of today. There are echoes of a post-Colonial past, with McCall Smith drawing on his upbringing in Zimbabwe. The series has been accused of being patronising to Africans. It’s difficult for a white who has never been to Africa to judge such matters, but I felt that the characters had dignity. The good get their rewards and the less-than-good get their just deserts with an emphasis on traditional African values. The book’s about the responsibility that we all have to our fellow men. There’s an exploration of the need to do right and just occasionally, very occasionally, the need to do wrong to achieve the right result. It’s a modern-day version of a morality tale.

Reading the book you could be forgiven for thinking that it is actually half a dozen short stories woven together. The detective agency has just two cases – the missing student and a man whose wife is unfaithful to him. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni’s maid is determined to stop his marriage, with unfortunate consequences, whilst Mma Ramotswe’s secretary wants to become a private detective herself. I laughed aloud at the vision of the hapless Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni taking on the orphans and allowed myself a whoop of glee at the thought of who might be in line to take over Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. The interweaving of the stories is very skilfully done – in fact it’s so well done that it looks simple.

If I have a quibble about the book it’s that the characters are rather, er, black and white! The good are wonderfully so, but the bad have few, if any, redeeming features. Life is rarely that simple. It means too that there is little in the way of surprise as to how matters resolve themselves.

This book could be read on its own. Much of the story line from the first book in the series is recapitulated, but it is more rewarding to read it after having read The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. It’s one of those rare books which have universal appeal. I can see it being read by men or women and I would even be happy to give the book to a child who was a confident reader. They might struggle initially with some of the African names, but they would love the story. There are no sexually explicit or graphically violent scenes.

Confidently recommended.

• Paperback 224 pages (August 7, 2003)
• Publisher: Abacus
• ISBN: 0349116652
• Price £6.99 but currently available on Amazon for £5.59


  Write your own review

Share this review on Google+

  Next review »

Rate this review »

How helpful would this review be to a person making a buying decision? Rating guidelines

Rate as exceptional

Rate as somewhat helpful

Rate as very helpful

Rate as not helpful

Rate as helpful

Rate as off topic

Write your own review Write a review and you will earn 0.5p per rating if other members rate your review at least helpful. Write a review and you will earn 0.5p per rating if other members rate your review at least helpful.   Report a problem with this review’s content

Comments about this review »

Pip111 06.12.2005 16:21

Good review, i have read all the book in the series and they are very samey but good light reading for in the bath!

AJ26 22.10.2005 13:25

heard a lot of good things about his books but havent tried them myself yet

e.j.kingham 15.06.2005 17:06

Not into this kind o book myself but a good review nonetheless.

Add your comment

max. 2000 characters

  Post comment

Compare prices »

1 to 3 out of 3 offers for Tears of the Giraffe - Alexander McCall Smith   Sorted by: Price 

Product Information »

Product details

Type Fiction
Genre Modern Fiction
Title Tears of the Giraffe
Author Alexander McCall Smith
ISBN 0349116652
EAN 9780349116655

Show all Product Information

More reviews »

Review Ratings »

This review of Tears of the Giraffe - Alexander McCall Smith has been rated:

"exceptional" by (11%):

  1. rowei
  2. BawBaw
  3. Louise90

and 8 other members

"very helpful" by (89%):

  1. mightymuffin
  2. Essexgirl2006
  3. weetoon

and 84 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

Products you might be interested in »

The Immaculate Deception - Gareth Russell

The Immaculate Deception - Gareth Russell

(+) Humourous look at the priviledged existence of Belfast's rich kids
(-) Darker than the previous book in the series

User reviews (1)

Buy now for only £ 6.39



Are you the manufacturer / provider of Tears of the Giraffe - Alexander McCall Smith? Click here