Tears of the Giraffe

Originally published in November 2004, on my original 52 Books blog.

Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Year published: 2000
Where got: Public library
Genre: Detective story, literature

Had a sleepless night and rather than allow myself to be frustrated over it, I decided to read a book and picked Tears of the Giraffe, the second of Alexander McCall Smith’s books about Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s only lady private detective. The first one was the wonderful The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

The story:
Precious has been handed her most difficult case to date: to find out what happened to a young American who disappeared on the edge of the Kalahari desert 10 years ago. In the meantime, Mr. Matekoni gets talked into taking in a pair of orphans, and his maid plots to get rid of Precious so she can continue to meet her male “friends” at Mr. Matekoni’s house during the day. Last, but not least, Precious’ secretary, Mma Makutsi, gets promoted to assistant detective and gets her first case.

Technique and plot:
As in the previous book, there are multiple plots in this one, although not as many. The previous book was a collection of stories with only a vague narrative thread. This one has a clear narrative thread with the occasional independent story thrown in. The narrative is written in the same beautiful, fluid and simple language as the first book, and there is a good deal of philosophy in the story. I love how, without going into too many details, Smith can make the reader feel as if she is in Africa.

Another great Precious Ramotswe story, even better than the first. 4+ stars.


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