The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

 

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithMystery The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective AgencyAlexander McCall Smith; Anchor Books 2002WorldCat

After her father died, Precious Ramotswe decides to use the inheritance from the sale of his cattle to open her own detective agency. She knows it is risky, but there are no other investigators in Gaborone, Botswana. There have to be people who wanted something discovered. She is the lady to do it.

Mma Ramotswe starts having a small trickle of customers come through her door. She learns the business both through their needs and her studies. She finds books on how to be an investigator and uses their hints. As each case is worked upon, she learns more. The biggest plus for Mma, though, is her own intellect and intuition. Her varied learning throughout her life puts her in good stead. She uses wisdom from the Christian Bible, knowledge of the local customs, the stories in the newspapers, and the ancient tribal lore when solving a case.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is a fun, lighthearted novel. It is not only vignettes from different cases Mma solves, but her father’s and her life stories thrown in as well. The book shows a contemporary rural Africa that is not war-ridden, although there is war in the countries around Botswana. Mma often reflects how happy she is where she is living, away from the rush of the white man and his schedules. Alexander McCall Smith gives us a portrait of the continent rarely seen, where the racial differences are kept to a minimum and people are all treated pretty much the same. The differences in treatment tend to come from social status and money (usually self earned) rather than skin color or political leanings. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency became extremely popular, and there are now sequels to it.

Notice: Suggestive dialogue or situations

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