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Tears of the Giraffe

About the Book

Tears of the Giraffe

Tears of the Giraffe finds Precious Ramotswe firmly established as Botswana's first and only lady detective. She's not getting rich, but she's not losing money either, and under the imaginary ledger for happiness, her account is full. Indeed, she is about to marry Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, owner of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni is a thoroughly honest and loving man, a man whose generous impulses not only send him to the local orphanage to fix a water pump free of charge but also, somehow, bring him home with two small children. Now Mma Ramotswe has not only a husband but a family to care for, something she had not allowed herself to hope for after her own child died at birth.

But into this rich, full life comes Mrs. Curtain, an American whose son disappeared in the Kalahari desert ten years ago. Michael Curtain had been living in a commune, working on finding a better way to grow vegetables in the harsh land of Botswana, when he vanished one night without warning and without a trace. Stricken with grief, Mrs. Curtain has searched in every way possible for years, exhausting every avenue of inquiry, until the American Embassy recommended Mma Ramotswe. And even though Mma Ramotswe knows that old unsolved cases such as the one Mrs. Curtain brings her are what is known in the business as "stale enquiries," she agrees to try to discover what happened to Michael Curtain.

Given her own experience of losing a child, she can empathize with Mrs. Curtain. And in many ways empathy—between Mma Ramotswe and Mrs. Curtain, between Mr J.L.B. Matekoni and the orphan children, even between wheelchair-bound Motholeli and the engine of a van—is the central theme of Alexander McCall Smith's extraordinary novel. The idea that we are all "brothers and sisters" is what guides the story, sustains the lives of its remarkable characters, and offers readers so much more than the satisfaction of seeing a mystery solved.

Tears of the Giraffe
by Alexander McCall Smith

  • Publication Date: September 3, 2002
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor
  • ISBN-10: 1400031354
  • ISBN-13: 9781400031351