Read Precious and the monkeys Online

Authors: Alexander McCall-Smith

Precious and the monkeys

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This edition first published in 2011 by

Polygon, an imprint of Birlinn LtdWest Newington House10 Newington RoadEdinburghEH9 1QS

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

ISBN 978-1-84697-204-1eBook ISBN 978-0-85790-068-5

First published in the Scots language in 2010by Itchy Coo

Text copyright © Alexander McCall Smith 2011Illustration © Iain McIntosh 2010, 2011

The rights of the copyright holders have beenasserted in accordance with the Copyright,Designs and Patents Act 1988

All rights reserved. No part of this publicationmay be reproduced, stored in a retrievalsystem, or transmitted in any form, or by anymeans, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,recording or otherwise, without permission inwriting from the publisher.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is availableon request from the British Library

Printed and bound in Italy byGrafica Veneta S.P.A.

Table of Contents


Title Page



A Map of Botswana

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

number of years ago I went to live for a short time in a country called Botswana. This is a very beautiful country in Africa – a place famous for its great wild places and the animals that live in them. When I lived there, I remember thinking: it would be fun to write about this place some day.

And I did. A long time afterwards, I sat down one day and wrote a story about a lady called Precious Ramotswe, who lives in Botswana, and who starts a little business. People thought that she might start a small store or something like that, but instead she sets up a detective agency. A detective agency! What does she know about being a detective? The answer to that is nothing, but – and this is an important but – she has just the right talents for it. She is a born detective – which means that she is somebody who is naturally good at the work involved in being a detective.

She is not one of those police detectives who solve major crimes. No, she is a person who deals with the mysteries that ordinary people – just like you and me – may have in their lives.So if we think that somebody is not telling us the truth about something, then we may go to her and ask her to find out what is really going on. Or if we have lost something that is very important to us, we may ask her to find it. Such people are called private detectives.

I have now written quite a number of books about Precious Ramotswe and from time to time, people have asked me more about her life. One of the questions I have been asked is this: what was Precious like as a girl? That is what this book is about.

Although there is no actual Precious Ramotswe in real life, I can promise you that there are plenty of girls and women in Botswana who are just like her. I have met lots of ladies – and girls too – in that country who are every bit as intelligent and kind and nice as Precious Ramotswe is. And Botswana is real, as is the village of Mochudi, which is where she lives. So yes, it could be true – she really could exist.

That's enough from me. Now listen to the story. Think of Africa. Think of a girl living there. Think of what it would be like to discover, when you are still quite young, that you are a born detective …


AVE YOU EVER SAID TO YOURSELF– not out loud, of course, but silently, just in your head:Wouldn't it be nice to be a detective?I have, and so have a lot of other people, although most of us will never have the chance to make our dream come true. Detectives, you see, are born that way. Right from the beginning, they justknowthat this is what they want to be. And right from the beginning, even when they are very young – a lot younger than you – they show that solving mysteries is something they can do rather well.

This is the story of a girl who became a detective. Her first name was Precious, and her second name was Ramotswe.

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