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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

McCall Smith, Alexander

(Book - 2002)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Print
This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith's widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to help people with problems in their lives. Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors.
Publisher: New York : Anchor Books, 2002
Edition: 1st Anchor Books ed
ISBN: 1400034779
9781400034772
1400031346
9781400031344
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY MCCALLSMI
Characteristics: 235 p. ;,21 cm

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Mme Ramotswe, a Botswanan woman of confidence, solves mysteries with a combination of wit, charm and humanity.

Botswana: Mme Ramotswe solves mysteries with a combination of wit, charm and humanity.


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Aug 05, 2014
  • mc3387 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I've had this book on my bookshelf at home for ages, and I finally picked it up last week. I thought it would be a fun summer read, simple and yet funny detective book. Though it was humorous and a great read, it was in no way simple or light. It tackled some of Africa's darkest history from the racist and deadly South Africa mines to mistreatment of women. It was wonderful to read this book. The narrator is a witty and intelligent woman that you can't help but love. I will definitely read the sequels, and I highly recommend this book to others.

Aug 15, 2013
  • lynnwl rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I listened to this book on audio tape, as well as the books in the rest of the series. They were all excellent.

May 10, 2013
  • glass_hurricane rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I tried this book because I'd heard great things about it and because it's set in Botswana - a country that doesn't generally get a lot of play in English-speaking literature. As a typical neurotic North American, I found the portrayal of the Motswana mindset with its lack of neurosis and obsessive self-analysis a welcome change of pace from my own day-to-day experience. Given that the series is written by a Scottish man it's entirely possible that this attitude is complete fiction - but what an appealing fiction! I'm not going to lie - if appropriation of voice is one of your pet peeves, you're going to hate this book. It's a quick read. The writing style is simple and straightforward while still maintaining a distinctive voice. Precious Ramotswe may be a young woman in modern day Botswana, but her relaxed attitude, cunning mind, and seen-it-all-before analysis of different personality types brings to mind the elderly Miss Marple of St. Mary Mead. It's no wonder that Agatha Christie is one of Mma Ramotswe's heroes. Recommended for a good summer read on one of the hottest days of the year (early to mid August would be good). If it's too hot to do anything but put your lawn chair in the shade and immerse yourself in a book, this would be that particular book.

May 08, 2013
  • vitareader rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I too enjoyed the telling of the life of Precious Remotse and her profession (that makes her sound like a woman of ill repute)... Precious is independent, strong and sensible. She is content with her life and herself and Botswana sounds beautiful. The description of her life and country is so the opposite of what one imagines any place in Africa to be that it makes me want to go there too and I hate the heat.
However, even in this idyllic place, Precious is confronted with the darkness that is life everywhere. She has suffered brutality at the hands of her first husband (hyena meat is what he should be) and is beset by cases of disappearances, infidelities and kidnappings.
Do not despair dear reader as The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency has enough light, humour and joy in it to make it a very satisfying read.

Feb 27, 2013
  • TwinklyOne rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I can see I'm the odd one out, but I couldn't even make myself read this book because it was so terrible. The writer (rich white male professional) is the polar opposite of his main character (poor African female) and I couldn't read a single word without finding prejudice, bigotry and sexism in every page. I gave up after page 2 when I saw comments eluding to preconceptions of girls being generally worse at math than boys. To me this book was absolutely awful. Sorry I even picked it up.

Nov 06, 2011
  • AbsolutelyObvious rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This novel is like an African armchair, snuggly and traditional in shape (like Mme Ramotswe) - but you just wonder whether an armchair is appropriate in the climate? Somehow, this cosy read works beautifully.

Sep 13, 2011
  • Travel rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Light and fun to read. A glimpse into life in Botswana that, to paraphrase Mma Ramotse, only a few whites understand, because they are too busy being busy all the time.

Jul 31, 2011
  • lisahiggs rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The not-obviously linear storyline McCall used was a great way to unfold the story: I sat in the African sun and languidly plucked the petals of each chapter until the book was soon finished. Precious Ramotswe gets a little too much help from God for me to be completely impressed, but her understanding of human character is inspiring.

Jul 29, 2011
  • ECC rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this as I don't usually read things in the 'mystery' section, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is a wonderful gentle story that is beautifully written. It is gentle and a loving look at Africa. I will continue to read the series with great delight!

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AislingN thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Sep 10, 2011
  • nomi1 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

nomi1 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 13 and 99

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