The Colors of All the Cattle by Alexander McCall Smith

The Colors of All the Cattle

Alexander McCall Smith

Mma Ramotswe decides to run for a seat on the city council, but she will have to call upon her good humor and generosity of spirit to help the community navigate thorny issues.

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In this latest installment of the beloved and best-selling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, Precious Ramotswe finds herself running for office—much to her dismay.
When Mma Potokwane suggests to Mma Ramotswe that she run for a seat on the Gaborone City Council, Mma Ramotswe is at first reluctant. But when she learns that developers plan to build the flashy Big Fun Hotel next to a graveyard, she allows herself to be persuaded. Her opponent is none other than Mma Makutsi’s old nemesis, Violet Sephotho, who is in the pocket of the hotel developers. Although Violet is intent on using every trick in the book to secure her election, Mma Ramotswe refuses to guarantee anything beyond what she can deliver; hence her slogan: “I can’t promise anything—but I shall do my best.”
Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe has acquired a new client: one of her late father’s old friends, who was the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Charlie volunteers to be the lead investigator in the case to prove he’s ready to be more than an apprentice, as well as to impress a new girlfriend. With Charlie’s inquiries landing him in hot water and Election Day fast approaching, Mma Ramotswe will have to call upon her good humor and gen­erosity of spirit to help the community navigate these thorny issues, and to prove that honesty and compassion will always carry the day.

Advance Galley Reviews

I'm a big fan of The #1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith, and while I haven't quite caught up to this latest addition, I so enjoyed spending more time with Mma Ramotswe and her family and friends in Botswana. If only current politicians conducted themselves as Mma Ramotswe does in her run for city council in The Colors of All the Cattle! I look forward to filling in the gaps between where I left off in these books and Smith's latest one. If you haven't read any of this wonderful series yet, please don't hesitate to do so. Thank you to Penguin's First To Read for enabling me to read this ARC.

Precious Ramotswe, the great lady detective of Botswana, has always been one of my favourites, even though I have read only one book in the series so far, and that too a decade ago. Still, like her husband Mr JLB Matekoni, who also happens to be one of the finest mechanics in Botswana, I too think very highly of her. On the face of it, there isn’t one tight plot; more like a string of subplots involving a silent seven-year-old boy living on Sylvia’s Orphan Farm who steals birds’ eggs to Dr Marang who suffers terribly in a hit-and-run accident, from the election to a seat on the local council to the wooing of Queenie-Queenie, a pretty girl, by Charlie, and how Hercules, her bodybuilder of a brother does a fine job of keeping overeager suitors at bay. Despite the plethora of subplots, we have the satisfaction of seeing every one of them gently and resolutely tied up. The style of writing is such that before long we find ourselves warming to all the characters, even the minor ones. The author even draws our attention to colloquialisms like “late,” which is how the characters refer to deceased people. It was great to renew my acquaintance with Precious. A traditionally built woman, she has many qualities to recommend her. The cases she solves may be simple, but there is nothing simple about Precious. The omniscient narrator has a faint, very British, and affectionately patronizing attitude towards the characters. It is an attitude that is one-part annoyed, and three-part indulgent. There is an undeniable affection that we sense and imbibe. It makes Botswana come alive to those of us who’ve never been there and know nothing about it. A smattering of its history come alive, and we become aware, through Precious and the other characters, of the simplicity of its people. Read full and detailed review at

The Colors of All the Cattle reminded me why I so enjoyed a visit with the company of the #1 Ladies Detectives Agency. The Heartfelt and thoughtfulness makes for a true friend to snuggle up with. Precious Ramotswe always seems to have the right plan to fix things even if it isn’t quite hers. I have read many of this series and this book does fine by its self but any reader will be missing out by not catching the other ones. Thank you first to read for this arc.

Having only read one of Alexander McCall Smith's, No 1 ladies detective agency books I was surprised to see this was the 19th in the series. The story is mainly written in conversation, with little detail added which makes for quite a short novel, and a simple story line. Although I have been to many countries in Africa, I have never visited Botswana but the people are as I'd imagine, Precious Ramotswe the large family woman who takes everyone under her wing and brings the best out in them, also runs the detective agency. She has a few people who work for her and they are very proud people who want to better themselves, even if it's just in name. The story follows how Mme Ramotswe gets pushed into running for councillor, and the outcome of everyone's persuasion. There is also supposed to be a mystery about who ran over Dr Marang but there was not really any tale here at all. It was an easy read but just not enough content or depth for me. 2 stars

Love love loved this book. The characters have vivid personalities that shine through. Great story about taking doing what is best for the bigger picture and the challenges related to not wanting to disappoint one's elders while still remaining true to oneself. Mma Ramotswe's service to others shows in her commitment giving others a chance to shine. Another great book in this series.

I have read every book in this series, but I think this is my absolute favorite one. It seems very appropriate for the times to have one of the story lines center on politics. Mma Ramotswe is running for a seat on the council and she decides to be her self - by being honest and kind. The other story lines (one about the apprentice Charlie and the other about a hit and run accident) are equally interesting. I feel like when I read these books, I am coming home to my friends. I can visualize where they live, how it feels in the heat and how it tastes to drink tea with them when they have a break. Thank you for letting me read this as an advance reading copy. I can't wait to read more in this series.

Mma Ramotswe runs for a seat on the City Council at the request of Mma Potokwane to help save the late in the graveyard from the Big Fun Hotel. She runs against Violet Sephotho who promises the world but Mma Ramotswe only says “ I can’t promise anything...but I shall do my best.” This honesty wins her the election. She also takes on a hit and run case of an old respected friend and puts her junior assistant detective, Charlie, on the case. This case causes some personal problems with Charlie and brings in some old friendships. We also learn of Charlie’s girl troubles with Queenie. I always enjoy this series and the sounds and colors of Botswana.

Another wonderful entry in the Mma Ramootswe series. Perhaps not as action packed as some others, in this one the detecting is a minor, secondary plot line, but still full of Mma's wonderful observations and views on life. Her experience with the City Council seems especially relevant in today's challenging political climate, and I recommend this to everyone.

As always, Alexander McCall Smith delivered an entertaining, thoughtful, character-driven story that makes one want to curl up with a giant cup of coffee (no tea for me), a cozy blanket, and his book. Having read a number of the previous No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency's books, I was looking forward to checking in with Mma Ramotswe and the zany cast of characters who surround her. This book did not disappoint and I now need to go back and read the books I missed. And then, onto whatever follows this one! Thanks for the free read, First to Read!

I received this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review. Mma Potokwamke persuades Mma Preious Ramotswe to run for a seat on the local council to stop the building of a hotel near the resting places of people's ancestors. Mma Ramotswe does not want to run but is persuaded to because Violet Sephotho is also running and she does not think that Violet would be a good coucil women. Meanwhile, one of her late father's old firends who was the victim of a hit and run accident has asked her to find out who hit him. With little to go on, Mma Ramotswe agrees to see what she can find out. Charlie asks to be lead invesigator on the case to impress a girlfriend and Mma Ramotswe agrees to this. What Charlie and Mma Ramotswe find out about the hit and run is really surprising which in thinking about it afterword shouldn't have surprised me so much but it did. Also, the results of the election and subsequent events relating to that election were also rather surprising. Truly a delightful addition to the Mma Ramotswe's books by this author. Good editing and great character development, especially Charlie. Thank you, First to Read for the opportunity to read and review this book. A great read by a really good author.

Sit back and relax with a cup of tea and the 19th installment of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series. The same familiar cast of characters are here: Mma Potokwane has bullied Precious into running for town council, there is an unsolved hit and run to investigate, and Charlie is maturing. And the Talking shoes make a cameo appearance.

Thank you to First to Read for an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I have read every one of the books in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series and eagerly looked forward to reading this latest novel. This was another warm and gentle read visiting with Precious Romatswe and the other cast of characters in Botswana.

I was very happy to read this book, as The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is a favorite series. As always, the story brought me back to the lives of the characters and their latest challenges and the joy Precious feels for her family, friends and her beloved Botswana. She was pushed beyond her boundaries to run for councilor to stop a greedy, disrespectful developer from building a Hotel next to a cemetery. Reluctantly following through with the election process, she pushed through while upholding the principles her father taught her. Charlie in show cased in a more mature light in this installment. Enjoyable and entertaining as always. Definitely recommend.

I am a fan of Alexander McCall Smith! Although his stories revolve around his characters, he seems to have his characters reflect in some way the ills, difficulties, dilemmas societies encounter, communities encounter, and individuals encounter often. For example, in this book, The Colors of all the Cattle, Smith reviews the different sides about voting, public responsibility and the importance of candidates honesty. The people of Gabarone took the city council vote seriously--and Mma Ramotswe worried about doing the right/Botswana thing. Of course, everyone won in this particular city council vote. However, Elections today, everywhere it seems, are NOT what McCall Smith called for in The Colors of all the Cattle, yet, it seems that he and I wish that honesty and a clearing of council members were possible in elections. Look in all of his books, and he has a profound, calming way of saying what many people and/or communities are fired up about. He is also terrific at ferreting out individual strengths, weaknesses, and change. Thank YOU to First to Read for this galley copy, and thank you to Alexander McCall Smith for your insights.

The series of The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is very familiar to me. This installment,”The Colors of All The Cattle” is another chance to catch up with old friends. .So what’s not to like. The characters are true human beings who try to be kind, courageous and loving. When you finish an installment of this series, you can,’t help but feel calmer and a little smarter about human nature.Always a good read! Thanks for ARC.

Another excellent edition to the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. This is such a warm series. These are characters that I know well. I enjoy watching them adapt to the changes in their and their friends lives while staying true to themselves. I am particularly happy to have spent more time getting to know Charlie better. I had grown to like this character in the last few books. I was happy to see the changes in him. The mystery, as always, takes a back seat to life and friends and, this time politics. Just the way I expected. I confess to reading this book with a cup of (not red bush) tea and enjoying every moment of the time I got to spend with Mmm Ramostwe, her family and her friends. It will be hard to wait for our next visit.

If you are a fan of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency this book will not disappoint you. The last several books concentrated more on Grace as the secondary character and this book concentrates more on Charlie, who has always been the least of the characters. He is shown to be growing up and maturing and he benefits from Precious' thoughts and her help. There is a story about an election that is fun, with a familiar adversary. It is a gentle, feel-good book. It will leave you with a smile.

Reading this series of books is like curling up with a warm blanket and, of course, a cup of tea. The stories are seemingly simple yet profound. Readers can always expect a good solution to any problems presented. This one was especially good because we get to learn more about Charlie as he develops into a young man with what looks to be a promising future. Most important, we are reminded of the importance of kindness.

I am a long time fan of this series each one has been a delightful read a mystery that the detective agency has to solve.The best part is revisiting the people the characters the town.Already looking foward to the next o e,

I was very pleased to receive a copy of this book from First to Read in exchange for a review. This is a delightful series of books and this one does not disappoint. Again, the ladies are supportive and gentle with their situations in helping each other and others. All the characters are interesting and the plots have twists and turns. Their logic in taking care of dilemmas is inspiring. ' As they say, they take care of business, while Life just happens. Kindness is most important.

I have been a long-time reader and fan of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, and this latest installment is another must-read! Just like most of the other books in the series, nothing much really happens (although Mma Ramotswe does investigate a hit and run, and there is an interesting plot about her running for city council). However, the beauty of this book is the glimpse in offers us into ordinary people's lives. Even the most marginal character is well-drawn and interesting, and brings so much to the story. I look forward to joining these wonderful characters again soon.

Alexander McCall Smith gives us another absolute gem of a book. At this point in the series, the characters are as familiar and comfortable to the reader as a beloved old sweater. And yet, by having them experience personal growth and showing us new facets of their personalities, and of course providing new mysteries, McCall Smith keeps the book feeling fresh. As in prior books, the plot shifts between characters, sometimes bringing side players to the front. This time, it is Charlie, the half-mechanic/half-detective who we learn more about. It is always interesting to get inside of the head of a character we have only "seen" in prior books. Since the characters in the books age, McCall Smith shows us how Charlie has gone from a teenager who acts more like a boy to a grown man -- albeit one with some maturing still to go. The best thing about this series is getting to spend time with Mma Ramotswe, her family and friends, and The Colors of All Cattle did not disappoint in this respect. What a delight it is to read about a group of intelligent, kind characters who are flawed like all of us, but each one trying in the end just to be their best self.


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