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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Book 1) Paperback – February 6, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
The African-born author of more than 50 books, from children's stories (The Perfect Hamburger) to scholarly works (Forensic Aspects of Sleep), turns his talents to detection in this artful, pleasing novel about Mma (aka Precious) Ramotswe, Botswana's one and only lady private detective. A series of vignettes linked to the establishment and growth of Mma Ramotswe's "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" serve not only to entertain but to explore conditions in Botswana in a way that is both penetrating and light thanks to Smith's deft touch. Mma Ramotswe's cases come slowly and hesitantly at first: women who suspect their husbands are cheating on them; a father worried that his daughter is sneaking off to see a boy; a missing child who may have been killed by witchdoctors to make medicine; a doctor who sometimes seems highly competent and sometimes seems to know almost nothing about medicine. The desultory pace is fine, since she has only a detective manual, the frequently cited example of Agatha Christie and her instincts to guide her. Mma Ramotswe's love of Africa, her wisdom and humor, shine through these pages as she shines her own light on the problems that vex her clients. Images of this large woman driving her tiny white van or sharing a cup of bush tea with a friend or client while working a case linger pleasantly. General audiences will welcome this little gem of a book just as much if not more than mystery readers.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
“The Miss Marple of Botswana.” The New York Times Book Review
“Smart and sassy...Precious’ progress is charted in passages that have the power to amuse or shock or touch the heart, sometimes all at once.” Los Angeles Times
“The author’s prose has the merits of simplicity, euphony and precision. His descriptions leave one as if standing in the Botswana landscape. This is art that conceals art. I haven’t read anything with such alloyed pleasure for a long time.” Anthony Daniels, The Sunday Telegraph
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I just saw a talk by Alexander McCall Smith at the Washington Library. It took place when Bush was in office. He spoke about "No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" at length and he took questions. I could listen to this man speak forever. I love his speaking voice and I love his laugh. He has a great laugh. I like a good laugh and he has a really good laugh. He is so cute and he has a great sense of humor. I would love to see him in person. I have so many questions for him. I have to look at his schedule to see when he will be in NYC. I'd like to see him. I don't know where this man gets the time to write all of these books, travel and teach at the University too. I am amazed by his energy.