The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (Book 1)


The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (Book 1)

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THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY – Book 1

Fans around the world adore the best-selling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series and its proprietor, Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s premier lady detective. In this charming series, Mma  Ramotswe—with help from her loyal associate, Grace Makutsi—navigates her cases and her personal life with wisdom, good humor, and the occasional cup of tea.

This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith’s widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detect

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3 Comments/Reviews

  • Fafa Demasio says:
    109 of 112 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Detective Work African style!, August 12, 2002
    By 
    Fafa Demasio (New York City) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Oh, how I’m enjoying the continuing series in the story of Mma. Ramotswe, owner of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency in Botswana, Africa! I love this strong African woman who is proud of who and what she is and where she is from and I’m highly entertained by the clients and other characters that she comes across.
    “We help people with the problems in their lives. We are not here to solve crimes,” Mma. Ramotswe tells one client. Not your average detective, she and her staff of one (Mma. Makutsi, her secretary turned-assistant detective) help people from different backgrounds with varied problems. Mma. Ramotswe even has a personal problem to resolve when her fiancée (Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, owner of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors) starts acting in a strange manner without warning or reasoning.
    I like the way the author brings out the close relationship between Mma. Ramotswe and Mr. Matekoni. The couple chooses to address each other formally but it is done in the context of respect, affection and love. The mannerisms and dialog between the other characters show the reader some of the cultural nuances in that part of the world.
    The issue of morality — how people treat each other, forgiveness, helping others — comes up as the detectives work. On a job assignment, Mma. Makutsi goes in search of a beautiful girl with morals for a beauty pageant(hence the title). Mma. Ramotswe wrestles with the idea of whether some of her methods of detective work are moral.

    Set to a vivid background of the dry but beautiful land of Botswana with its great Braham bulls and colorful people, Alexander McCall Smith describes scenes that remind me of the picturesque movies like OUT OF AFRICA and I DREAMED OF AFRICA.
    MORALITY FOR BEAUTIFUL GIRLS is another fun book to read.
    Fafa Demasio

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  • A. Ross says:
    131 of 137 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Lives Up to the First in the Series!, December 15, 2002
    By 
    A. Ross (Washington, DC) –
    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)
      
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    This second entry in Smith’s Botswana-set series picks up right where the wonderful The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency left off. Indeed, the two books are utterly seamless, and it’d be a real shame to read this without reading its predecessor first. The book picks up with the engagement of “traditionally built” Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s sole woman detective, to local master mechanic Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni. While the structure is the same as the first book�a missing son as the central running mystery, and some smaller cases interspersed�the new couple’s relationship is the real focus.
    So, while Precious is asked by an American woman to find out what happened to her son, who disappeared from a commune ten years previously, she must also negotiate the pitfalls of setting up house with Mr. Matekoni, the acquisition of an engagement ring, and the dastardly schemes of Mr. Matekoni’s nasty housekeeper, and the unexpected addition of two foster children to her household. All of which she does with her keen sense of human nature and wisdom. Her secretary/typist is also given increased attention, allowed to take on the case of a cheating wife all by herself.
    Built into the stories are ruminations of the tensions between modernity and traditional values. There are a number of passages that attempt to capture the essence of Africa, and how that noble vision is under constant assault by greed, corruption, and power. The adventures of Precious and her cohort are a warm antidote to the often depressing news that dominates coverage of Africa in the West. Smith writes in a delightfully fluid and simple prose with pacing that makes the book quite difficult to put down. The series thankfully continues with Morality for Beautiful Girls and The Kalahari Typing School For Men, with further volumes to follow, one hopes.

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  • JLind555 says:
    201 of 214 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Miss Marple, move over!, March 21, 2003
    By 

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    This review is from: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (Book 1) (Paperback)
    Precious Ramotswe is a comfortable size-22 African lady (none of your Euro/American size 6’s for her, thank you very much) with a fund of mother-wit and a penchant for minding other people’s business. Having survived a disastrous, abusive marriage and the death of her infant son, she turns a small legacy from her late father, whom she adored, into “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency”, the only one of its kind in Botswana, or maybe in all of Africa. From shaky beginnings with non-paying clients and chauvinistic male attitudes (“Who ever heard of a woman detective?” demands a border policeman; “Haven’t you ever heard of Agatha Christie?” Mma Ramotswe shoots back, not missing a beat), she builds up a small but solid clientele that brings her problems to solve concerning cheating husbands, wayward daughters, malingering employees trying to commit insurance fraud; and a spectacularly sinister case involving a missing eleven year old boy who may or may not have been murdered for witchcraft purposes. Giving Mma Ramotswe quiet but ever-present moral support, while keeping her old car from falling apart, is Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, who loves every inch of Mma Ramotswe’s ample frame and is patiently waiting for the brick wall of her resistance to marriage to crumble, so she can make him the happiest man on earth.
    Smith has written an enchanting book that is can be described as a cross between an engaging detective story and a love poem to Africa. Mma Ramotswe is as warm and as solid as the red earth of Botswana; she loves every inch of the Africa she knows and identifies with and wouldn’t live anywhere else. She embodies the African traits of deep ties to family and community, concern for one’s neighbors, and respect for tradition. She commands respect and she gets it. Smith has added a delightful and enduring creation to the pantheon of famous detectives in fiction. Jane Marple, move over. Or rather, make a separate space for Mma Ramotswe. She deserves a pedestal of her own.

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