In the 2nd novel of his series on Precious Ramotswe, the only lady detective in Botswana, Alexander McCall Smith continues to turn the detective genre inside out with some of the best writing you'll see in any genre. Precious is African, female, of "traditional build," open-hearted, optimistic, and wise, in opposition to the classic hard-boiled cynical American wiseguy. "Tears of the Giraffe" develops the metaphor of a detective as a kind of mother who, by observing the people around her carefully, is at the same time taking care of them. The maternal theme is explicit in this story: the primary mystery involves an American mother looking for a long-lost son. At the same time Precious must cope with the sudden adoption of two winsome orphans by her fiancee, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni. Watching out for people, watching out for Africa itself, is a way of respecting it. The style of the book mirrors Precious herself: simple, too-the-point, a fine sense of humor, and very observant. There are some really eloquent even lyrical passages as Precious drives across her belowed Botswana.
About the Author
Alexander McCall Smith, CBE, FRSE, (born 24 August 1948) is a Zimbabwean-born Scottish writer and Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. McCall Smith was an expert on medical law and bioethics and served on British and international committees concerned with these issues. He has since become internationally known as a writer of fiction, being best known as the creator of the The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.
He is an amateur bassoonist, and co-founder of The Really Terrible Orchestra
. He helped to found Botswana's first centre for opera training, the Number 1 Ladies' Opera House
, for whom he wrote the libretto of their first production, a version of Macbeth set among a troop of baboons in the Okavango Delta.