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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

To the Land of Long Lost Friends: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (20)

1. This is the 20th book in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. What keeps you coming back to this series?

2. How has Mma Ramotswe grown as a character throughout the novels?

3. Who is your favorite recurring character in the series, and why?

4. The series is set in Botswana. What does this setting lend to the stories? What have you learned about this African country and its people?

5. On page 44, Mma Ramotswe reflects: “Kindness, after all, did not distinguish between those who merited it, and those who did not. It was like rain, she thought. It fell everywhere and made everything green and new and alive once more. That is what it did.” What do you think of this sentiment? In what ways does Mma Ramotswe show these kindnesses?

6. “Ask anybody what their idea of heaven is, and the answer will reveal that person’s soul” (p. 47). Mma Ramotswe thinks heaven is like a peaceful garden. How would Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni envision heaven? What about Mma Makutsi?

7. What is Mma Ramotswe’s relationship to Mma Potokwane? Do you have friends like this?

8. Why does Mma Ramotswe go to see Nametso at the Botswana Diamond Sorting Consortium? How does she convince the guard to talk to her? What does she discover?

9. Discuss the relationship between Charlie and Queenie-Queenie. Do you think they are meant for each other?

10. What is Hector’s proposition to Charlie? Is it helping Charlie or is it wrong? Does Hector see it that way? What about Queenie-Queenie’s father? How does Charlie decide to deal with the situation?

11. How is Charlie’s concern about his relationship with Queenie-Queenie resolved? What do you think of this turn of events?

12. Mma Ramotswe often reflects on continuity --- of the birds and the trees and the people of Botswana --- but is quick to say that progress in important, too. Do you think the two are mutually exclusive? Do you favor one over the other?

13. What do you think about Mma Ramotswe’s taking in of Daisy? Precious’s impetuousness in matters of giving is wonderful, but should she have consulted with her husband before taking in a child? Why or why not? What does Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni think of the situation? How is this a reflection of their marriage as a whole?

14. What do you think of Mma Boko? What role does she play in the story?

15. Mma Potokwane says a few words to Preacher Flat Ponto. Could someone else have had the same effect? What would Mma Makutsi or Mma Ramotswe say? What change would their words have on Ponto’s behavior?

16. How is Calviniah’s problem solved? Why did Nametso cut her mother out of her life? How does Calviniah respond when Nametso returns?

17. Much is made about equality between women and men in this story. What is Charlie’s double-standard? What is Mma Makutsi’s?

18. Mma Ramotswe and Mma Mukutsi recognize each other’s personality quirks without mentioning them (Mma Ramotswe sees Mma Makutsi’s need for attention, Mma Makutsi sees Mma Ramotswe’s overdeveloped devotion to President Seretse Khama). Do you do the same? What do you think your friends note about your behavior?

19. Is the situation with Daisy resolved? What will happen to her? Why do you think Daisy’s sickness is never named?

20. What do you think is next for Mma Ramotswe’s future?

To the Land of Long Lost Friends: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (20)
by Alexander McCall Smith

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor
  • ISBN-10: 0525564276
  • ISBN-13: 9780525564270