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Things are busy for Mma Ramotswe and No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency in The Kalahari Typing School for Men. She is frustrated with Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, as he has still not set a date for their wedding. In turn, he has his own problems, as one of his young apprentices has become "born again" and is losing focus on his work, instead wanting to spend all his time at the church.

Mma Ramotswe is working on a difficult case involving a man wanting to repent for his actions many years ago. The case takes her all over the country and requires her to open some painful wounds, but in the end, all is well and the man is able to repay his debts.

The children, Motholeli and Puso, are having some problems adjusting to their new life with Mma Ramotswe and Mr J.L.B. Matekoni. Motholeli is depressed about not having a "real mother", and Puso is lashing out violently. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni spends quality time with Puso, and brings Motholeli to the garage, where it's discovered that she has a natural talent for fixing things.

Mma Makutsi decides to pursue a second career to boost her meager cash flow. As the most outstanding graduate in the Botswana Secretarial College's history (with a 97% on her final exams), it is only natural that she open a typing school. Mma Makutsi's school has a twist - it's the only typing school designed specifically for men. Thus, the Kalahari Typing School for Men is born. Mma Makutsi falls for one of the students in her class, but soon finds out with the help of Mma Ramotswe that this man is not what he seems.

To make matters worse, a rival detective agency has opened up in town, and the owner is a "worldly" man who flaunts his belief that women shouldn't be detectives. However, the man's approach to business backfires, and Mma Ramotswe finds herself with more clients than ever!

This is one of the stronger novels in the series, as it pays more attention to the supporting characters and paints a picture of the difficulties of life in a small country. The reader finds themselves cheering for Mma Makutsi to triumph over adversity, delights in her success with the Kalahari Typing School for Men, and is saddened when her heart is broken.

Kalahari book cover

Listen to Alan Cheuse's review of the book on NPR's All Things Considered, May 16, 2003.


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