Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith – Audio Edition

Posted by on May 5, 2017 in 2017, 3.5 stars, Alexander McCall Smith, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith narrated by Lisette LecatPrecious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith

Genre: Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Series: #17 in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 9 hours, 49 minutes
Narrated by: Lisette Lecat
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Changes are afoot at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, where Mma Makutsi, who has recently been promoted to co-director, has been encouraging Mma Ramotswe to update to more modern office practices. However, an unusual case will require both of them to turn their attention firmly to the past. A young Canadian woman who spent her early childhood in Botswana requests the agency’s help in recovering important pieces of her life there. With only a faded photograph—and, of course, some good old-fashioned detective skills—to guide them, Precious and Grace set out to locate the house that the woman used to live in and the caretaker who looked after her many years ago. But when the journey takes an unexpected turn, they are forced to consider whether some lost things may be better off unfound.

Busy as she is with this challenging investigation, Mma Ramotswe can always be relied on to come to the aid of her friends—who seem to have a special knack for landing in hot water. Mr. Polopetsi, an occasional assistant at the agency, has made an ill-advised business decision that may lead to serious trouble. And next door at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, Fanwell, the junior mechanic, has become helplessly attached to a stray dog who proves to be a bigger responsibility than he can handle. With Mma Makutsi by her side, Mma Ramotswe dispenses help and sympathy with the graciousness and warmth for which she is so well known, and everyone is led to surprising insights into the healing power of compassion, forgiveness, and new beginnings.

My Thoughts:
I’m still enjoying this series seventeen books in. I’ve never read the print editions because Lisette Lecat’s narration is a lot of the reason I like this series

These are sometimes classified as mysteries but despite the fact that the main character is a detective the mystery part of the book is rather light. I consider the series light general fiction.

They are about relationships, friendships, and a love story about the country of Botswana. Precious Ramotswe is the kind of woman I’d like to meet for tea and an afternoon of chatting. She loves her husband, she’s fiercely protective of her friends and she’s immensely proud of her home country of Botswana.

This time around the case involves a Canadian woman who lived in Botswana as a girl and would like to find her childhood nanny. As usual the outcome is not as straightforward as originally expected. There is also the stray dog and a business opportunity that could be troublesome.

I just enjoy listening to these books as I’m driving. It’s good entertainment and Lisette Lecat is wonderful. The voices she does for the characters are wonderful and I’m glad I don’t have to figure out how to pronounce some of the names.

 

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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The Woman Who Walked In Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith – Audio Edition

Posted by on Nov 18, 2016 in 2016, 3.5 stars, Alexander McCall Smith, Audio, Book Review | 0 comments

The Woman Who Walked In Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith narrated by Lisette Lecat
The Woman Who Walked In Sunshine by Alexander McCall Smith, Narrated by LIsette Lecat

Genre: Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Series: #16 in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2014
Length: 9 hours, 20 minutes
Narrated by: Lisette Lecat
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

In this latest installment of the beloved and best-selling series, Mma Ramotswe must contend with her greatest challenge yet – a vacation!
Business is slow at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, so slow in fact that for the first time in her estimable career Precious Ramotswe has reluctantly agreed to take a holiday. The promise of a week of uninterrupted peace is short-lived, however, when she meets a young boy named Samuel, a troublemaker who is himself in some trouble. Once she learns more about Samuel’s sad story, Mma Ramotswe feels compelled to step in and help him find his way out of a bad situation. Despite this unexpected diversion, Mma Ramotswe still finds herself concerned about how the agency is faring in her absence. Her worries grow when she hears that Mma Makutsi is handling a new and rather complicated case.
A well-respected Botswanan politician is up for a major public honor, and his reputation is now being called into question by his rivals. The man’s daughter has contacted the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency to investigate these troubling claims, but, as in so many cases, all is not as it seems. In the end, the investigation will affect everyone at the agency and will also serve as a reminder that ordinary human failings should be treated with a large helping of charity and compassion.

My Thoughts:
Clearly since I just listened to the sixteenth book in this series it’s obvious I enjoy it. These characters have become old friends.

While they are sometimes classified as mysteries this series is much more light general fiction than mystery. Yes, they’re detectives but that’s only a small part of these books.

They are about relationships, friendships, and a love story about the country of Botswana. Precious Ramotswe is the kind of woman I’d like to meet for tea and an afternoon of chatting. She loves her husband, she’s fiercely protective of her friends and she’s immensely proud of her home country of Botswana.

This time around Precious is talked into taking a vacation. As vacations go, it’s pretty darn busy. She rescues a mistreated street urchin, she worries about how her business is going without her, she gets pulled back into work when the temporary help at the agency comes to her with concerns about a new case.

As usual, the sources of any conflict between the recurring characters is based on misunderstandings and concern over each other’s’ feelings.

Along the way there are the usual aphorisms and praise for the beauty and character of Botswana. In between there is plenty of humor too.

This continues to be a light and enjoyable series that is perfect for my driving around and commute time listening. Lisette Lecat does a wonderful job with the characters and saves me the trouble of trying to figure out pronunciation of unfamiliar words

Rating
3.5 stars 3.5/5 for the book

4.5 stars 4.5/5 for the narration

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Nutshell Review – Audiobook – The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café by Alexander McCall Smith

Posted by on Nov 21, 2014 in 2014, 3.5 stars, Alexander McCall Smith, Audio, Book Review | 2 comments

The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café by Alexander McCall Smith, Narrated by LIsette Lecat

The Hamdsome Man's De Luxe Cafe by Alexander McCall Smith

Genre: Fiction
Series: #14 in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2013
Length: 9 hours, 55 minutes
Narrated by: Lisette Lecat
Source: Purchased


The Book:

From the publisher:

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency often helps people find things they have lost. But they have never had to help a client find herself—until now, in this latest installment of Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling and beloved series.

A kindhearted brother and sister have taken in a woman known only as “Mrs.”—a woman with no memory of her name or of how she came to Botswana. And so it’s up to Precious Ramotswe and her new co-director, Grace Makutsi, to discover the woman’s identity.

Meanwhile, motherhood proves to be no obstacle to Mma Makutsi’s professional success. As she settles into her role as partner at the agency, she also launches a new enterprise of her own: the Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café, a restaurant for Gaborone’s most fashionable diners. But even Miss 97 Per Cent isn’t fully prepared for the temperamental chefs, drunken waiters, and other challenges that come with running one’s own business. Help may come from an unexpected source, if only Mma Makutsi can swallow her pride and ask.

With sympathy and indefatigable good humor, Mma Ramotswe and her friends see one another through these major changes and discover along the way what true friendship really means.

My Thoughts:
Clearly since I just listened to the fifteenth book in this series it’s obvious I enjoy it. These characters have become old friends.

While they are sometimes classified as mysteries this series is much more light general fiction than mystery. Yes they’re detectives but that’s only a small part of these books.

They are about relationships, friendships, and a love story about the country of Botswana. Precious Ramotswe is the kind of woman I’d like to meet for tea and an afternoon of chatting. She loves her husband, she’s fiercely protective of her friends and she’s immensely proud of her home country of Botswana.

This time around the detective work is about identifying a woman who may have amnesia. At the same time Grace Makutsi is branching out from her work at the detective agency and opening a restaurant. Predictably things don’t go smoothly. When one of the apprentices is let go from the garage he is soon exploring new and unexpected career opportunities.

Mostly it continues to be a light and enjoyable series that is perfect for my driving around and commute time listening. Lisette Lecat does a wonderful job with the characters and saves me the trouble of trying to figure out pronunciation of unfamiliar words.

 

6a117-rating_35stars Rating 3.5/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4.5/5 for the narration

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Audiobook – The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith

Posted by on Feb 11, 2014 in 2014, 3 stars, Alexander McCall Smith, Audio, Book Review | 3 comments

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith

Genre: Fiction
Series: #14 in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2013
Length: 9 hours, 45 minutes
Read by: Lisette Lecat
Source: Copy provided by the publisher through LibraryThing Early Reviewers

The Short Version:
Precious Ramotswe works a couple of cases and at the same time her assistant is facing major changes in her life and perhaps her career.

Why I Read It:
I have been and continue to be a fan of the audio versions of this series and I try to keep current.

The Book:
From the publisher:

Modern ideas get tangled up with traditional ones in the latest intriguing installment in the beloved, best-selling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.

Precious Ramotswe has taken on two puzzling cases. First she is approached by the lawyer Mma Sheba, who is the executor of a deceased farmer’s estate. Mma Sheba has a feeling that the young man who has stepped forward may be falsely impersonating the farmer’s nephew in order to claim his inheritance. Mma Ramotswe agrees to visit the farm and find out what she can about the self-professed nephew. Then the proprietor of the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon comes to Mma Ramotswe for advice. The opening of her new salon has been shadowed by misfortune. Not only has she received a bad omen in the mail, but rumors are swirling that the salon is using dangerous products that burn people’s skin. Could someone be trying to put the salon out of business?

Meanwhile, at the office, Mma Ramotswe has noticed something different about Grace Makutsi lately. Though Mma Makutsi has mentioned nothing, it has become clear that she is pregnant . . . But in Botswana—a land where family has always been held above all else—this may be cause for controversy as well as celebration.

My Thoughts:
Since I’m still listening to this series at number 14 I obviously enjoy it.

This is one of those series that I doubt I’d enjoy nearly as much in print because for me it’s the narration of Lisette Lecat that makes the series a delight for me to listen to. They’re light on the mystery and heavier on observations of life and a love for the country of Botswana.

One of the reasons I like listening to these is that I would be at a loss as to how to pronounce many of the places and names. Beyond that though is the narrator’s talent at giving the characters their own voices and personalities. Lisette Lecat is the reason I continue to listen to this series.

In this one the mysteries are only a part of the story. The bigger storyline is Grace Makutsi’s pregnancy and what this will mean for both the #1 Ladies Detective Agency and the relationship between Precious and Grace. I loved the way this one played out. I absolutely giggled at the reaction of Charlie from the garage to Grace’s baby.

The books themselves are OK but the narration of Lisette Lecat makes them a delight.

3 stars Rating 3/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration


SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.

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Audiobook – The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith

Posted by on Jul 20, 2012 in 2012, 3 stars, Alexander McCall Smith, Audio | 4 comments

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith

Genre: Fiction
Series: #13 in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2012 Recorded Books (Book originally published 2012)
Length: 10 hours, 30 minutes
Read by: Lisette Lecat
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Precious Ramotswe comes to the aid of friends as one of the garage apprentices and also her friend Mma Potokwane find themselves in need of her assistance.

Why I Read It:
I have been and continue to be a fan of the audio versions of this series and I try to keep current.

The Book:
From the author’s website:

In this latest episode in the beloved, best-selling series, the kindest and best detective in Botswana faces a tricky situation when her personal and professional lives become entangled.

Precious Ramotswe is haunted by a repeated dream: a vision of a tall, strange man who waits for her beneath an acacia tree. Odd as this is, she’s far too busy to worry about it. The best apprentice at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors is in trouble with the law and stuck with the worst lawyer in Gaborone. Grace Makutsi and Phuti Radiphuti are building the house of their dreams, but their builder is not completely on the up and up. And, most shockingly, Mma Potokwane, defender of Botswana’s weak and downtrodden, has been dismissed from her post as matron at the orphan farm. Can the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency help restore the beloved matron to her rightful position?

As wealthy and powerful influences at the orphan farm become allied against their friend, help arrives from an unexpected visitor: the tall stranger from Mma Ramotswe’s dreams, who turns out to be none other than the estimable Clovis Andersen, author of the No. 1 Ladies’ prized manual, The Principles of Private Detection. Together, Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi, and their teacher-turned-colleague help right this injustice and in the process discover something new about being a good detective.

My Thoughts:
I’ve said it many times before about this series but I just enjoy listening to Lisette Lecat’s narration so much that I just can’t imagine reading the print versions. Her voice characterizations of the regular and visiting characters are just a delight to my ear. This is a series that makes my driving around town time much more pleasant. I truly appreciate that she is the one who has to figure out and pronounce the names and places because I’d surely butcher them if I tried to sound them out to myself.

Although my library classifies this series as mystery fiction I hesitate to call what Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makusti work on as cases. This really isn’t much of a mystery story. It’s much more an ongoing story of Mma.Ramotswe and her family and friends as they live their lives in Botswana. By now with the 13th book the characters are old friends and I enjoyed another visit with them

I love Precious Ramotswe’s love for her family, friends and country. I laugh at Grace Makutsi’s constant reminders of her 97% final score from the Botswana Secretarial School. I was thrilled for Mma. Ramotswe to be able to meet her unwitting mentor when Clovis Andersen arrives in town. His total surprise at finding himself in a mentor role just adds to the fun.

Don’t expect much of a mystery. Do expect to be transported to small town Botswana with a kind hearted main character and some oddball regulars in the cast. I haven’t read any of the print versions but I highly recommend Lisette Lecat’s audio versions.

3 stars Rating 3/5 for the book

4 stars Rating 4/5 for the narration

SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.

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Audiobook – The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith

Posted by on Sep 2, 2011 in 2011, 3 stars, Alexander McCall Smith, Audio, Book Review, What's in a Name | 3 comments

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party by Alexander McCall Smith

Genre: Fiction
Series: #12 in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2011
Read by: Lisette Lecat
Source: Library

The Short Version:
Precious Ramotswe and her Associate Detective Grace Makutsi juggle a case involving dead cattle, wedding plans and a possible ghost van.

Why I Read It:
I have enjoyed this series for several years now and it makes light and fun driving around listening.

The Book:
This is the twelfth in the series so it’s hard to say anything without possible spoilers for previous books.

From the publisher:

At a remote cattle post south of Gaborone two cows have been killed, and Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s No. 1 Lady Detective, is asked to investigate by a rather frightened and furtive gentleman. It is an intriguing problem with plenty of suspects—including, surprisingly, her own client.

To complicate matters, Mma Ramotswe is haunted by a vision of her dear old white van, and Grace Makutsi witnesses it as well. Is it the ghost of her old friend, or has it risen from the junkyard? In the meantime, one of Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni’s apprentices may have gotten a girl pregnant and, under pressure to marry her, has run away. Naturally, it is up to Precious to help sort things out. Add to the mix Violet Sephotho’s newly launched run for the Botswana Parliament and a pair of perfect wedding shoes—will wedding bells finally ring for Phuti Radiphuti and Grace Makutsi?.

My Thoughts:
This is a series that I would likely not have continued past the first one or two if I’d read them instead of listening to them. I tend to do most of my audiobook listening in 10 to 15 minute increments as I’m driving to and from work and on errands. These books lend themselves well to that. Perhaps if I listened in more extended chunks of time that would not be the case, but for me it’s the perfect match of book and my listening habits. I have found the audio versions to be just delightful. I enjoy Lisette Lecat’s reading and the way she reads the various characters.

As usual the case the detective agency is hired to investigate is only a small part of the story. The now familiar extended cast of characters continues to provide a mix of humor and troublesome behavior. Mma Ramotswe’s beloved tiny white van seems to have been reborn from the junk heap. Charlie the apprentice seems to have escalated his irresponsible ways. Grace Makutsi manages to find ways to work in her 97% final grade from the Botswana secretarial school into any conversation she can. Her nemesis, Violet Sepoto is still causing trouble, but will any of it cause troubles for the weddind and will Mma Makutsi have just the right shoes?

By this point in the series the ongoing stories wrapped in what amounts to a love letter to Botswana and the traditional ways of life there are the major part of the story. The case of the dead cattle weaves in and out of the narrative and gives Mma Ramotswe a bit of a hard time as she struggles with what really is the right thing to do.

It’s not a series for everyone, but for my audiobook style it’s one I enjoy..

Rating 3/5

SoundBytes is a weekly roundup of audio book reviews hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books.

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