Monitor Picks

Five things we think you'll like this week, including a Domingo concert without the expensive seats, the return of Botswana's answer to Miss Marple, and a TV show of dance choreography inside national parks.

Africa's no. 1 GumShoe

In her boutique No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Botswana's Mma Ramotswe has faced down numerous challenges, from a cobra in her office to the romantic travails of her assistant, Grace. But in Alexander McCall Smith's latest series entry, The Miracle at Speedy Motors, she has to help an adopted woman find her family – if she even has one.

Stump of approval

The tag line for Stumpedia ( is "the human powered search engine." Could a group of people actually produce more accurate results than the algorithms and bots that govern the Google and Yahoo engines? The answer: yes, in a roundabout way. Stumpedia works by allowing other users to vet and index search terms; the results, ostensibly, are much more relevant than the errata pumped out across the digital aisle. For now, the site is a work in progress, and data levels are low. Expect that to change, fast.

Domingo's virtual domain

Spanish tenor Placido Domingo sings to celebrate his four decades as one of opera's brightest stars on April 18. Tune in live at 7:30 p.m. PST, to hear Domingo, along with guest stars at the L.A. Opera, all in fine form, at

Darfur's 'Devil'

Using still photographs and moving images, The Devil Came on Horseback tells the harrowing story of the genocide in Sudan through the eyes of Brian Steidle, a former marine hired by the African Union as an unarmed military observer. It airs April 18 at 10 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel; check local listings.

Dancing in the park

A hula troupe from Hawaii, the US Olympic Synchronized Swim Team, and four choreographers and their dance companies perform among the cliffs and waterways of America's most scenic national parks in PBS's Dance in America (April 21, 10 p.m. EST; check local listings). The show was commissioned by Wolf Trap's Face of America. Armchair travel doesn't get better than this.

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