Tears of the Giraffe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tears of the Giraffe
First edition
Author Alexander McCall Smith
Country Scotland
Language English
Series The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Genre Detective novel, mystery novel
Publisher Polygon Books
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 227
ISBN 978-1-4000-3135-1
OCLC 49495035
823 /.914 21
LC Class PR6063.C326 T4 2002
Preceded by The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Followed by Morality for Beautiful Girls

Tears of the Giraffe is the second in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series of novels by Alexander McCall Smith, set in Botswana, and featuring the Motswana protagonist Precious Ramotswe.

Plot outline[edit]

Mma Ramotswe has become engaged to Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, the garage owner, but his rude and exploitative maid has other ideas, and tries to frame her for a serious offense. Mma Ramotswe helps an American woman whose son disappeared in Botswana some years previously, and deals with a paternity case. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni adopts two orphans, and Mma Makutsi is promoted.

Plot summary[edit]

Mma Ramotswe is not impressed with Mr. J.L.B Matekoni's maid, who has been sleeping in his bed with other men and not feeding him properly. The maid, sensing that the forthcoming marriage will involve her dismissal, attempts to plant a gun on Mma Ramotswe in order to have her jailed, but the maid's plan is foiled and it is she who ends up behind bars.

Mma Ramotswe also investigates a butcher's wife who is suspected of an affair, and discovers that the woman's son has – unknown to her husband – been fathered by another man who is paying for his private education. The resolution of this case highlights differences between the methods and moralities of Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi. Mma Makutsi has expressed her yearning to do detective rather than administrative work, and Mma Ramotswe promotes her to assistant detective (although also retaining her secretarial role). The solution of the paternity case proves to be the first test of Mma Makutsi's detective and diplomatic skills.

Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is maneuvered into offering a home to Motholeli and Puso, two orphaned children with a tragic past. He worries that this may affect his engagement to Mma Ramotswe, but she accepts the children. Mma Ramotswe and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni both see potential in the children, particularly in the girl, Motholeli, who uses a wheelchair but displays a real aptitude for, and interest in, the work of the garage. A family unit begins to emerge.


  1. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni's House
  2. A Client Arrives
  3. The Boy with an African Heart
  4. At the Orphan Farm
  5. Judgement-Day Jewellers
  6. A Dry Place
  7. Further Problems with the Orphan-Farm Pump
  8. The Children's Tale
  9. The Wind Must Come from Somewhere
  10. Children are Good for Botswana
  11. The Glass Ceiling
  12. At Night in Gaborone
  13. A Problem with Moral Philosophy
  14. A Trip into Town
  15. The Sullen, Bad Maid Acts
  16. Family
  17. Seat of Learning
  18. At Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors
  19. What Happened
  20. Bulawayo