Thursday, June 6, 2013

Book Review: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

When Precious Ramotswe’s father dies, he leaves her his large herd of cattle, telling her to sell it and buy a good shop. Instead, Mma Ramotswe decides to open a detective agency.

And so, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency opens on a rather curious note. It is not one single mystery, but a collection, and with digressions into Mma Ramotswe’s past, and how she came to be a detective. We see her first faltering steps, and how her good sense, sturdy principles, and of course the advice of Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni help her establish herself as the only female detective in Botswana.

Alexander McCall Smith does an excellent job of capturing the beauty and culture of Africa, and gives us an indomitable heroine who makes several gaffs but pulls through charmingly. Smith lived much of his life in Africa (including Botswana) and his love for his home shines through in this book. It’s generally lighthearted but is touching and thoughtful at times. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book.


  1. I tried reading this a couple years ago and just couldn't get into it. Maybe it deserves another chance.

    1. It's definitely a bit of an odd book but I found it interesting, and pretty hilarious at times. (There's one moment near the end where I had to stop what I was doing because I was laughing so hard!)