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Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Book 2)
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Precious Ramotswe is the eminently sensible and cunning proprietor of the only ladies’ detective agency in Botswana. In Tears of the Giraffe she tracks a wayward wife, uncovers an unscrupulous maid, and searches for an American man who disappeared into the plains many years ago. In the midst of resolving uncertainties, pondering her impending marriage to a good, kind man, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, and the promotion of her talented secretary (a graduate of the Botswana Secretarial College, with a mark of 97 per cent), she also finds her family suddenly and unexpectedly increased by two.

Customer Reviews:

  • Nice, light reading
    Good mini mysteries with Botswana culture intertwined. I wouldn't call it a must read, but if you see it on the shelf at the library and nothing else you want is in at the moment, check it out for a quick, easy read. Some of the cases are funny, others interesting, but I wasn't drawn to the characters and it didn't leave a strong impression on me....more info
  • Rra Maketoni Meets an Orphan Girl
    Tears of the Giraffe (2002) is the second volume in this series, following The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. In the previous volume, Precious Ramotswe exposes an unfaithful husband, a con artist and a fraudulent doctor, returns a lost child, and agrees to marry Mr. J.L.B. Maketoni.

    In this novel, Precious inspects the house of Mr. J.L.B. Maketoni and declares it unsuitable for their domicile; they agree to live in the house on Zebra road. However, he is not to store automobile engines and parts within the house.

    Since Mr. J.L.B. Maketoni will no longer live in his present house after the wedding, he notifies his maid that her job will be terminated at that time. The maid, Florence Peko, is not very good at her job, but she has conditioned Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni to accept what is offered and does not really want to lose the position. Jobs are scarce and hard to come by. If it wasn't for that Ramotswe woman, she would keep her job. Florence wonders how she can get rid of the odious woman.

    Mr. J.L.B. Maketoni has helped the Orphans Home with mechanical repairs for years. When Mma Potokwane calls for his assistance with an overheating water pump, he drives out to fix it. While he is working on the pump engine, one of the orphans, a young girl in a squeaking wheel chair, brings him some water and stays to watch him finish the repairs. Afterwards, he oils the bearings and frees a sticking brake lock on her chair.

    Mma Ramotswe acquires an American client who is searching for her lost son. The client had come to Botswana over a decade ago with her husband and eighteen year old son. Her son had found interesting work on a farm commune and stayed behind when his parents left. A couple of years later, the son disappeared one evening and was never seen again.

    Highly recommended for McCall Smith fans and anyone else who enjoys detective stories set in foreign locales.

    -Bill Jordin...more info
  • Murder she wrote without the murder
    I started with this and went backwards through McCall Smith books describing the lives of a soon-to-be-betrothed garageman and detective agency owner. I know nothing about Africa. I know nothing about the languages of people there. I know little about the customs. Yet, after reading the McCall Smith books, it seems that life there is pretty much the same as here, with the exception of the people being more polite.

    Quick to read. Easy to read. Fun. These books could be described as an African version of television's "Murder She Wrote" without a murder....more info

  • Continuing the fun...
    Another superb book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series; fantastic characters, vivid scenes, and fascinating stories. Off to the library to get the next one......more info
  • Skullduggery and new Beginnings in Botswana
    The story of Mma Precious Rabotswe, founder of the Ladies' No. 1
    Detective Agency, continues in this second book of the series, taking up after she has accepted the proposal of a kind and patient mechanic, Mr. Matekoni. The only biographical flashbacks reference the honored Memory of her long-deceased father; thus the sequence of events is easier to follow and the plot reduced to a brief time span. Her fianc¨¦'s movements are chronicled in greater detail, as readers' attention shifts between the engaged protagonists. Maketoni reveals both his love for her and his genuine compassion for those in need--while secretly longing to train a competent and eager successor for his automotive repair shop.

    Although the couple is not married by the conclusion of the book, there is plenty of activity to capture the reader's interest. An ambitious secretary seeks to advance to assistant detective; a vicious maid learns the harsh lessons of betrayal; a womanizer is drastically reduced in his self-esteem. Then too, various moral and ethical dilemmas are raised by the conscientious women of this All-female detective agency, as they
    wrestle with their obligations to the Client versus those to the Law. As in the debut novel there is also an underlying mystery, which increases literary tension throughout the chapters dealing with both the engagement and other cases.

    A grieving mother begs for justice or failing that--information to put closure on her son's death. Emancipated Botswana--a region remote to most Americans--is depicted with compassionate respect and optimism by an author who grew up appreciating this continent and its struggle to emerge as a modern nation, while retaining traditional values. The book's unique title is explained at the very end: How much can a giraffe--or a human being for that matter--truly give? Smith's African characters give their all to the delight of readers the world over, revealing the universality of the human condition.














    ...more info
  • Tears of the Giraffe
    This is a wonderful, gentle book with mysteries, but with wise words from a wise woman and kind words too, from her kind fiancee. All in all reading this series ( I have read 2) has been a distinct and very different pleasure. The descriptions of daily life in Botswana and of cultural habits, landscape, etc., add to the pleasure and are never tedious "filler" as they can sometimes be in authors with less talent. A definite "feel good" book....more info
  • An utter joy to read, polite and gentle humour
    This is the audio cassette edition of the second book in the Precious Ramotswe series - quite nice reading, the books are better, but great listening in the car!

    I can't believe it has taken me so long to discover the Precious Ramotswe stories - of the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency - they are gorgeous. Precious like their owner, gently funny, beautifully polite and full of lovely moments.

    Precious is engaged to Rra J B L Matkekoni, owner of the Speedy car repair service and himself a gentle man. I love the intertwiing of the stories in this. There is the problem of the American woman who lost her son 10 years ago. She knows he is not alive anymore, she simply wants to know what has happened. Then there is the problem of the local butcher who wants to know if his wife is cheating on him with another man. Unknown to Precious she has caused another problem, that of Ra J B L Matekoni's maid. She resents Precious coming into his life and now making her life very difficult. A fiance for Ra J B L Matekoni will spell the end for her life of relaxation. She will have to clean the house, she will not be able to entertain male friends. There are complications she does not wish to deal with. She wants Precious to go away and is prepared to do something about it.

    These stories are very much about character development and plot. The problems which Precious has been hired for are generally small and not life threatening. The language is beautifully formal in the style you can imagine they speak, and the overall impression is of intimacy - these are concerns which I can relate to they aren't murder and international spy rings. They are small concerns involved mostly in every day life.

    There are some classic touches in this - the resolution of the butchers problem is classically beautiful, as in the undercover observation of the straying woman.

    This is beautifully written, it absolutely sings. I have fallen in love! Totally in love with this series!

    ...more info
  • Another Installment of Joy
    After reading Alexander McCall Smith's first book in this series "The #1 Ladies Detective Agency" I felt I had to read the following books as well because they are so enjoyable.

    "The Tears of the Giraffe" reads almost like a fable allowing us to determine whether or not lying for good or bad reasons can be wrong. It is an interesting delimma. I absolutely enjoy the way that Smith writes his characers. Precious Ramotswe, her secretary/assistant Mma Makutsi and her fiance Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni are immediately likable and often shyly funny in the way that they interact with one another. This book brings two orphan children into Mma Ramotswe's life and leaves a door open for the next installment.

    The ending of the book is left with a wonderful fable-like suggestion about baskets being woven from the tears of a giraffe because that is all they have to give us. We can all give something no matter how small or insignificant it may seem and Alexander McCall Smith has given us a true treasure here....more info

  • Haiku in prose
    If "brevity is the soul of wit", then McCall Smith has a huge soul and endless wit. In this second volume of Botswana intrigue, he carries forward the characters established in "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency". Mma Ramotswe maintains her role as "traditional" Botswana lady in both girth and personality. Her fiance, Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, however, gains in stature, revealed as a man of small confusions and immense strengths. A few worthy [and unworthy] supporters flesh out the cast. Overall looms the figure of an American mother seeking Mma Ramotswe's aid in tracking down her lost son. A decade of searching revealed nothing. Can she actually succeed where so many others have failed? And in so few pages?

    With a marriage offer given and accepted, Mma Ramotswe and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni enter a new level in their relationship. Both have houses and businesses. Will there be a clash over priorities? Both have domestic and business staff. How will those people be dealt with? Finally, distant and faintly present, is the question marriage inevitably raises - what about a family? McCall Smith deals with all these issues as he follows the interacting threads of the lives of the lady detective and gentle-hearted mechanic.

    Through it all radiates the presence of African traditions. How to greet people. How to offer and accept gifts. How to present solutions to a client's problems when none of the options avoid hurting someone else? When isn't it a sin to lie or even blackmail a person? These aren't simple questions at the best of times and in the society of Botswana, they loom as an ever-present reality. Clearly, McCall Smith is intimately familiar with these and other aspects of African life. Yet, while his characters live in a different world, their problems and approach to life are hardly alien. Still, there is a reason for a giraffe's tears - a reason we all need to learn. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]...more info

  • An Audio Treat
    Popping one of these cassettes into my tape player is like an instant trip to a warm and wonderful land where I am reacquainted with all my old friends. Lecar's reading enhances the gentle rhythm of Smith's prose and helps bring to life these fascinating characters. I am addicted to these stories.

    In this volume the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency tackles an old murder and a philandering spouse. While hardly unusual issues in the mystery genre. The setting and characters are the real story here. What fun it is to escape into this world if only for a little while. The series reminds me of Lillian Jackson Braun's Cat Who series but without the cats, the endless descriptions of twenty or so town resdents, and the unnecessarily detailed descriptions of the various gourmet foods eaten by the characters. Smith's characters eat stew and drink bush tea, and they will make your mouth water for this simpler way of life....more info

  • Can't Get Enough!
    My daughter and son-in-law gave me the first book in this series, and I was hooked. These books are simply yet beautifully written (a vital quality for me), and the characters are so real, so well-defined, and so human. In addition, there are beautiful descriptions of Botswana, and Africa in general, making the reader feel and "see" the settings, and appreciate the beauty of the place as the characters do. They do not want to live in America or elsewhere--they are proud of being African, and Botswanan in particular. In a simple yet poignant way, I felt humbled as an American who subconciously senses somehow that America is the center of the universe. These are such charming reads, and I am finishing my eighth in the series, and awaiting the ninth! If you want a lovely, diverting read, particularly after reading something deeper, more depressing or violent, this is the book you need. Though easy to read, these books are appropriate for serious readers--trust me! ...more info
  • Gently, quietly exceptional
    It was a treat to discover The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. I loved the first book in the series; Tears of the Giraffe is even better. This book gave me a very rare reading experience: Joy. I can't recommend it highly enough....more info
  • a book to heal the heart
    This wonderful book takes the promise of the first in this series and turns it into a fully realized novel. The reader arrives at the end of the book with a sense of satisfaction and simple happiness.

    The characters in this book feel absolutely real-- so real, in fact, that I almost have to struggle to accept that if I traveled to Botswana I would not be able to find them. Gentle humor, kindness, unique culture, truly good and decent values, yet human mistakes... this book has everything required for a wonderful read. The reader will finish this book wanting to immediately begin the next in the series.

    Wonderful dialogue, fascinating settings, real human dilemmas, and above all the most endearing characters ---- you will adore this book and feel lifted up by it....more info
  • Enjoyable second installment
    Smith's first book in the series, _No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency_, was enjoyable and easy to read. I found the second installment in the series, _Tears of the Giraffe_ even more enjoyable than the first. The characters continue to develop nicely and the stories held my attention better than the initial book. I particularly liked the introduction of the children from the orphan farm, and look forward to the parts they will play in the following books.

    The writing style and the stories are simple in nature, with morals that transcend the book. The books are in fact a wonderful advertisement for the country of Botswana, and Africa itself. Great emphasis is placed upon morality, respect and love.

    I look forward to the other books about Mma Ramotswe and the rest of the ensemble....more info

  • Africa Beckons You with Love in This Beautiful Novel
    If you have not read The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, I strongly urge you to do so before reading Tears of the Giraffe. Otherwise, this beautiful novel will seem like a four star effort as you fail to appreciate and integrate the background of Precious Ramotswe into your thinking as it was described in the earlier book.

    Tears of the Giraffe isn't so much a sequel as a continuation of the events in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. As that book ended, Mma Ramatswe accepted the proposal of Mr J.L.B. Matekoni. In Tears of the Giraffe, the couple decides in which of their houses they will live, picks out a ring and decides about having children. Each event has its unexpected twists . . . including an attempt by Mr Matekoni's maid to derail the marriage.

    There is less happening at the detective agency than in the prior story. This book involves solving only two mysteries, a wandering wife and a missing son. Mma Ramatswe learns that her able secretary wants to become a detective, and the savvy head of the agency tries out Mma Makutsi's talents with encouraging results.

    Both story lines focus on questions of right and wrong. As a prospective spouse, what are the right reactions to one's fianc¨¦ or fianc¨¦e? As a detective, how much may one do wrong to avoid greater wrongs? To one's community, what is owed? To one's employees, what opportunities should be opened? In each case, the suggestion is that all responsibilities must be borne . . . and borne bravely . . . but in a way that is tempered with love for one's fellow people.

    As with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Africa itself plays a role stronger than any single character in defining what is thought and done. The strong and distinct atmosphere makes the book more enchanting to those who do not know Africa.

    The story is strengthened by alternating narrators among many different characters and using lots of dialogue so that each part of the novel is vivid and varied. It's as though six or seven almost unconnected short stories were woven together into a seamless novel. It's an impressive accomplishment.

    As I finished the book, I wondered how much better off we all would be if we each took a strong responsibility for all those we meet and touch....more info

  • Charming
    Alexander McCall Smith does it again. This charming humorous delightful tale centering on the lady detective,Precious Ramotswe, is a quick read. Using unpretentious language Precious Ramotswe dispenses kernals of wisdom throughout the story. Further, the reader is drawn into the mysteries of her investigations and the careful way in which Precious reads the character of other people. We are now further introduced to her fiance, the mechanic,Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and her secretary, Mma Makutsi. Precious understands the importance of human dignity, and she makes sure to preserve that dignity in both the deserving and undeserving whenever possible. However, she is able to tease the truth out of liars and other dishonest people. She does so without rancor or unneccessary unkindness. She is manipulative only when neccessary. However, she puts the cocky and supercilious in their place while still maintaining her own dignity. In some ways she is very naive and unworldly, but in dealing with human nature she is wise beyond her years. We can all learn a thing or two from Mme. Ramotswe....more info
  • An utter joy to read, polite and gentle humour
    I can't believe it has taken me so long to discover the Precious Ramotswe stories - of the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency - they are gorgeous. Precious like their owner, gently funny, beautifully polite and full of lovely moments.

    Precious is engaged to Ra J B L Matkekoni, owner of the Speedy car repair service and himself a gentle man. I love the intertwiing of the stories in this. There is the problem of the American woman who lost her son 10 years ago. She knows he is not alive anymore, she simply wants to know what has happened. Then there is the problem of the local butcher who wants to know if his wife is cheating on him with another man. Unknown to Precious she has caused another problem, that of Ra J B L Matekoni's maid. She resents Precious coming into his life and now making her life very difficult. A fiance for Ra J B L Matekoni will spell the end for her life of relaxation. She will have to clean the house, she will not be able to entertain male friends. There are complications she does not wish to deal with. She wants Precious to go away and is prepared to do something about it.

    These stories are very much about character development and plot. The problems which Precious has been hired for are generally small and not life threatening. The language is beautifully formal in the style you can imagine they speak, and the overall impression is of intimacy - these are concerns which I can relate to they aren't murder and international spy rings. They are small concerns involved mostly in every day life.

    There are some classic touches in this - the resolution of the butchers problem is classically beautiful, as in the undercover observation of the straying woman.

    This is beautifully written, it absolutely sings. I have fallen in love! Totally in love with this series!...more info
  • Best Book in an Excellent Series
    The title, we learn on the last page, refers to doing what one can, for giving whatever one is able, to help the larger world. Giraffes in the Kalahari can offer only their tears. Our betrothed hero and heroine, the stalwart Mr. J.L.B. Maketoni and the shrewd Mma Precious Ramotswe expand their hearts-and in turn ours-when they adopt two orphans. Nothing turns out exactly as expected, either in this series or in life. And that's not necessarily a letdown. I absolutely loved this book! It made me laugh and cry. Beautifully, lovingly conceived and crafted. Unmistakably, the Scottish author found (or found again) his own heart in Africa....more info
  • Cute, comfortable, enjoyable read
    This is the kind of book one reads on an airplane. It's about 240 pages and there's nothing taxing about the plot. There's nothing sad to bring you down. Perhaps there's a joyful reunion to lift your spirits.

    At the same time one is taught the subtle or profound differences between Botswana and the USA, as well as countries closer to Botswana.

    Ms. Ramotswe is thoughtful, smart, full of common sense, and an unforgetable character of modern-day fiction. Apart from other detectives who are always unerringly never outsmarted, she is sometimes fooled by an adversary or the subject of her investigations...a purely common happenstance in real life, and she is all the more likeable for it.

    This is my second read of this series and I will probably read them all as long as the situation is right: a lazy summer afternoon on the porch swing, the aforementioned plane ride, or perhaps during an ill day from work....more info
  • Politically correct tear-jerker; no mysteries.
    Yes, there is a nice description of Botswana (nice thoughtful softhearted people all, beautiful land; AIDS? What AIDS?). Even that becomes a bit tedious at times. After first seven-eight times even I did get the idea that a proper Botswana's way to shake hands and to accept gifts is with two hands. It did not have to be repeated twenty three more times. Yet it was the best part of the book. Mystery solving? Well, it goes like that: Mma Ramotswe goes to the place of the crime, and "knows" how it all happened. Needless to say, she is correct. There goes deductive logic, Watson. And for a coup de grace the subplot: Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni (I think probably about twenty pages of this short book were filled by endless repetition of "Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni"; no short names in Botswana? Can we call him Bob?) adapts two poor little orphans, older sister and younger brother. Of course the orphans live in orphanage, and have everything they need, because this is Botswana's way (after all, we are not like Nigeria......), but still no parents. Touching. Not touching enough. Little girl is paraplegic. Still not touching enough. Turns out when little children's tribal mother died in the jungle, the newborn brother was buried with the dead mother, because it is the jungle's way, therefore it is correct, and who are we to judge. Apparently, the jungle way is also to bury the kid alive, rather than to finish him/her off first, and it must contain the wisdom of the millennia. Indeed, it turned to be quite fortunate in this particular case: the little girl (not a paraplegic yet), waits, digs out the brother, takes him to town, and cares for him for four years on the streets. I wonder, why the great tribal elders buried the kid rather than to take him to town, but never mind, may be it was a long walk, and it was raining, and no FedEx drop off box nearby. Then little girl becomes paraplegic, and is picked up by the great orphanage where she and the brother lack nothing. Anybody crying yet? Before accusing me of being so very insensitive, please realize that none of that actually happened. It is fiction, and as such I find this to be quite a bit overdone. And now, for a final politically correct vignette, Bob (Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni) is a car mechanic, and (being childless) has a dream that the little former orphan brother will inherit his garage. Noops, not touching enough. It is the little paraplegic girl who is interested and has a talent to become a car mechanic, and who are we to object to that? I bet that eventually she will succeed (but maybe after she becomes a quadriplegic and blind in some subsequent book to make it more touching?). I will never know. I was also told that the series gets better. I will never know myself, either...........more info
  • 2nd in series
    In this series, Precious and JLB Matekoni are starting to plan their lives together, which involves where to live, the diamond ring, the jealous maid and two orphaned children.
    Precious lets her secretary Mma Makutsi take her hand in solving a case in which Mr. Badule wanted to discover what his wife was up to.
    Mma Ramotswe was working on her own case of a missing son from 10 years ago. 2nd in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Series - it's a wonderful,uncomplicated read. ...more info
  • Another side of Mma Ramotswe
    I am so happy she finally decided to get married and chose a well known person for his integrity and kindness. She made it clear though that she accepted his proposal not because she is a woman who needs a man to protect her nor to be his servant NO she was satisfied with her life and her job and hurt from her experience with one failed marriage that was still so fresh in her memory..

    I love the series because of Mma's character. She wants to change and wants to learn about the modern world and life in the new century but doesn't shun her past .. on the contrary she is proud of her heritage and of her country and what makes it special. Through her investigations, Smith tackles various issues, he states Mma's point of view as the opinion of the learned people and leaders of her country and shows how a foreigner would percieve it... true and simple. He uses simple language, affirms the traditions of the country, draws the difference in behavior between past and present... Africa and the west.

    It's a funny sad book, clash of culture and modernization. Enjoy reading as Mma unfolds the mysteries of life!...more info