The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

In which we amble pleasantly.

no1ladiesAlexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is said by people who ought to know to paint a fairly accurate picture of life in Botswana. I have no idea as to the veracity of this, but it seems likely to be true. There is a wonderful sense of unhurriedness in this book, about Precious Ramotswe, who, following her father’s death and her inheritance of his amassed “fortune” – cattle, which she sells – becomes the first Lady detective in the country. It is not a detective novel in the sense of western European literary traditions. There is mystery, definitely, and crime and cruelty, at least potential cruelty, but there is no temptation to turn to the last page to check “whodunnit”. In fact, there is an amazing contradiction in the “feel” of the book, for while it feels unhurried and relaxed, like a good cup of tea in the shade under a tree, there is also a drive to the story which makes the pages fly by.

Highly recommended, by both me and Pia (who lent me the book), which ought to be more than enough for you. Go read it!