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Life Lessons with Precious Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

Prolific author Alexander McCall Smith has given life to countless memorable characters, but none so widely beloved as Precious Ramotswe. This intrepid private investigator has won hearts the world over with her cleverness, compassion, and incorruptible moral compass. Through the years Precious has solved cases ranging from domestic violence to mistaken identity with her characteristic pragmatism and determination.

In The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine, out in paperback this week, Precious must contend with her greatest challenge yet—a vacation! As usual, things don’t quite go according to plan, and soon she gets caught up in the plight of a young troublemaker in need. All the while, Mma Ramotswe can’t help but worry about her agency, which she has left in the hands of her assistant, Mma Makutsi. Her concern only intensifies when she learns of the complicated new case being handled in her absence.

This sixteenth installment of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series is filled with all of the humor and warmth that we have come to expect from Alexander McCall Smith, not to mention plenty of advice about life and love from the sensible Mma Ramotswe. As one of the characters observes, “she put things so well, so succinctly, so profoundly, and appeared to do this with such little effort.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, so in honor of the book’s paperback release, we’ve gathered some useful pieces of wisdom from our favorite lady investigator. Enjoy!

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"The trouble with the world today, she thought, was that people were not prepared to stand up to bad behaviour." —Alexander McCall Smith, The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine "We should be careful, thought Mma Ramotswe, of the insults we fling at others, lest they return and land at our feet, newly minted to apply to those who had first coined them." — Alexander McCall Smith, The Miracle at Speedy Motors "When there is nothing you can do to stop the march of adverse events, the best thing, she felt, was to get on with life and not to worry." —Alexander McCall Smith, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built "You simple could not help everybody; but you could at least help those who came into your life." —Alexander McCall Smith, Morality for Beautiful Girls "People were forever digging up events that had taken place a long time ago. And what was the point in doing this if the effect was merely to poison the present?" —Alexander McCall Smith, Tears of the Giraffe