I love the way McCall Smith builds his primary characters in this series; they feel very real, and his details make it very easy to feel as if you, too, are seated with a mug of bush tea, brainstorming ways to drum up business. Highly recommended for those interested in mysteries and/or African culture.
This book was a breath of fresh air. The author has succeeded in conveying the feeling of the culture, their pace of living and struggle to integrate its old-time values with the new technologies and influence of Western cultures. I found this book highly enjoyable and refreshing to the spirit.
I just started this series because my parents got hooked. After one page I was too. I've read the second book and am starting on my third by this author. If you want to live in Africa for a couple days and get fascinated by the warmth and pride of "Precious" the No. 1 Lady detective of Botswana--this is a gift to yourself.
As a fan of murder mysteries I did not think I would like this series, but I picked it p when I was stuck at Jury Duty with nothing else available to read, and I have to say, it was excellent. Well written, entertaining with enough intrigue to keep the reader held until the next book in the series.
This is the first of the series about Mma Ramotswe and her detective business. It is a marvelous book, the start of a wonderful series, which you will never forget. The characters jump from the page, nearly as true as in the flesh, and they develop from book to book. I highly recommend these stories to anyone!
There were some interesting and evocative passages about Africa, but I found the writing style too aggressively simplistic (reminiscent of Dick and Jane books, to be honest) and the mysteries so inconsequential that I don't remember them 20 minutes after finishing the novel. If I don't think of these as mysteries I might at some point pick up another, but probably not.
This charming book is set in Botswana and tells of a detective agency run by Mma Precious Ramotswe. Precious shows her love for her country in such a way that you can smell the dust, see the sunsets, hear the buzz of the insects. The cases Precious takes on are not your typical murder and mayhem, but rather more seemingly mundane cases of missing husbands, stolen cars, missing children, and con men. But the real heart of this book is the simple wisdom and kindness Precious uses to help her clients. And in so doing, she gives us a glimpse into her soul.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Africa, books with strong heroines, cozy books, and those who are looking for something a little different to while away a lazy evening.
The first in a popular series, this book follows Precious Ramotswe, whose father's death and her subsequent inheritance offer her the opportunity for independence as she starts her own detective agency. Though it deals with some heavy subject matter, it's overall light and upbeat reading. Her attitude, so pragmatic yet optimistic, make her very likable.
This was a 5 star book all the way. What a breath of fresh air. The story takes place in Africa, which I did not expect, I didn't read the details, I loved the cover so I bought it, lol. I was memorized through the whole book, it is one of those that you can not put down and I didn't. I stayed up till 3am, waiting to see what would happen next. Its full of mystery, intelligence, humorous moments, geezzz its just awesome. I see that this is book 1. This series goes all the way to book 15. Ive a long way to go, but Ill enjoy the ride!
n2deep2quit - reviewed The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 1
Utterly charming and delightful. I love the characters and story is interesting, but light and I feel like I've visited another place after every reading session. Just a nice, little read that I strongly recommend.
In a word, bland. Set in Botswana, this is the first in a series about a woman detective. While the main character, Precious Ramotswe, is endlessly likeable- generous, dry-witted, and endlessly nosey, the story dragged along, with no real high points, and no real low points. I found the setting, modern Africa, much more interesting than the story itself, and maybe there's value in that as well. But I doubt I'll be looking into the rest of the books in this series.
I thought this book started off slowly, but I loved the way the characters were developed. Further, I don't really think this book fits well into the category of mysteries & thrillers.
It is the story of an African woman who opens the first detective agency and her clientele. You get to hear about the African culture, about mining, about her marriage, and about her definition of success.
I enjoyed the style of writing. All of the characters were well developed as were the stories. Further, I enjoyed the way that Africa acted as a character in the novel. I enjoyed the way that the author made me understand the culture that he was portraying.
Someday, I may go and pick up book 2. For now, I'm content with having finished book 1.
I read this book in a couple days and loved it. For lack of a better word, it is very charming. The heroine, Precious Ramotswe, opened a detective agency. She is clever and practical and "helps fix people's lives". It is really interesting reading how she solves the various cases that she is hired for. I loved reading about Africa, especially the country of Botswana where the book is set in. I even looked up information on the internet to learn more about the country, people and language. I am hooked now and want to read the entire series.
A Really great fun, quick read that actually is empowering to females and is even a great read for those who are active in the fat acceptance movement, meaning that the main character is fat and yet is not made into a joke! The writing isn't quite my style, i.e. very formulaic, like most detective works, so it took me a little longer to get what all the buzz is about, but I would definitely recommend it. I also found it very interesting to read a detective book that does not take place in the Western world, so not only was it an entertaining read, but it also was a little educational (for me, a person who lives in the States). HBO is currently doing a series based upon the books-unfortunately, I cannot compare, since I don't have HBO!!!
This was very refreshing from all the Fantesy and Si Fi I ususaaly read. Not a sit on the edge of the chair type but just enough to keep you interested and appreciate the womanly way she goes about things.
AMS is a fantastic author. I really enjoyed his Scotland Street series and this series has not left me disappointed. He has a way of transporting you to another place and creating very true characters. I recommend.
This is a wonderful book of figuring out what life means. Precious Ramatswe has wonderful insights to what a human being should strive for to survive in this world. She decides to open the first ladies detective agency in Botswana. Precious is funny, intelligent, brave and sensitive to everyday life. This book will make you feel like the world is better because of her! I loved her sense of well-being for humanity!
Alexander McCall Smith so impressed me with this book I joined his readers fan club to get the newsletter and stay current with his latest. He's a trail-blazer of an author, he creates his own sub-genres. From what I have read he has several series going and I can't wait to read every single book he has written.
This is just a light, fun, but educational book too. You will grow to love Prescious Ramotswe and her struggles to open the #1 Ladies Detective Agency in Botswana. Alexander McCall Smith provides us with a good description of what it is like to live there. I've ordered book 2 & 3 in the series.
A highly enjoyable book about a woman who uses her inheritance to start a detective agency after her father dies. It took a little while to get used to the slower pace of this book, but that pace gives the reader a feel for a more laid-back society in Botswana. I enjoyed the difference in culture, and how Mma Ramotswe used her intuition to solve cases. I look forward to reading more in this series.
A wonderful adventure of Mma Ramotswe. Her common sense and compassion has turned her detective agency, the only one run by a woman in Botswana, into a success. A glimpse into a culture, so unlike our own, reminds us that humans share many qualities regardless of what they do or where they live.
Smith has written an enchanting book that is can be described as a cross between an engaging detective story and a love poem to Africa. Mma Ramotswe is as warm and as solid as the red earth of Botswana; she loves every inch of the Africa she knows and identifies with and wouldn't live anywhere else. She embodies the African traits of deep ties to family and community, concern for one's neighbors, and respect for tradition. She commands respect and she gets it. Smith has added a delightful and enduring creation to the pantheon of famous detectives in fiction. Jane Marple, move over. Or rather, make a separate space for Mma Ramotswe. She deserves a pedestal of her own.
Mma Ramotswe inherited enough money from a sale of her dead father's cows to buy a home and establish the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana. Relying on memory, gossip, and instructions from a book on how to be a detective, she found missing husbands, solved a fraud case and learned the secret of an off-again, on-again doctor.
I wish I knew Precious Ramotswe. She would be a great friend to have, especially if you happened to live in Botswana. As it is, she introduced me to her culture through her intuitive detecting, her strength of character, and her adventurous mystery solving. She is a person worth knowing!
This is the first in the series. (So far I've read two.) I find the simple prose and storytelling pleasant, the main characters likable, their relationships engaging and the depiction of Botswana, a place I don't know, interesting. I'd catagorize these mystery novels as "cozies." The detective, Precious Ramotswe, solves her cases via intelligent conversation and intuition.
Allison D. (A-Darbs) reviewed The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 1
Lots of humor and humanity with a dash of suspense thrown in. I bought this book thinking it would be stereotypical fluff, but was pleasantly surprised. Smith presents us with a world both exotic and familiar and a main character we laugh with and respect.
This book hooked me on the series. It's an engaging character study with some clever mysteries to sort out. You'll enjoy getting to know the protagonist, Mma Ramotswe, and her view of life. After I read this book, I started doing an Internet search on Botswana to learn more about the setting.
I was going through my bookshelf and I saw that I still had this poor book. I was originally going to get them all, but seeing as they are still coming out, I decided what the heck... and read it :)
This was such a good/cute read. I have no idea why it took me so long. Totally not something I would have picked up myself and now I'm looking forward to reading some of the others. Definitely, definitely worth a read!
tani reviewed The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Bk 1) on
It is a thin book, but its gentle humor and humanity leaves you feeling good. You also get to know something about a nice little country not often in the news, but which appears to have a treasure in its people and customs.
Reading this one hooked me on McCall-Smith, and I have bought just about all his books. This one is the first of his Botswana series. For your delectation, there are also several in The Sunday Philosophy Club (Isabel Dalhousie) series and several again in the 44 Scotland Street series, which, by the way, has one of the funniest depictions of a mother determined to bring up her child strictly according to modern psychology and her own warped theories and the efforts of her poor frustrated little boy to lead a normal boy's life that I have ever read. I buy each new book in the series as it comes out, just to see whether he manages to do a few normal things and have fun.
Just before Precious Ramotswe's father dies he tells her to open a store. she immediatly decides she will open a detective agency.she is hired to solve a few small cases but the main case that tugs at her heart and puts her in danger is that of a missing boy who may have been snatched by witch doctors
I have no idea how this series has gotten so popular. I enjoy a quick mindless read as well as the next person, but this book is beyond simplistic. However, I think it would be something that I may have liked in 6th grade. I think this should be categorized as "young adult" readers.
I enjoyed the book, but I find it different from the mysteries I am used to reading. This book consisted of several short detective stories within the one book. I usually read a mystery where the entire book involves solving it. However, I will give book two a try.
the cover copy claims it to be "one of the best, most charming, honest, hilarious and life-affirming books to appear in years." personally, that was not my experience and, in fact, i put it aside in favor of the next book in my stack as i simply did not find it particularly engaging. it's a little too polly-ann-ish and, surprisingly, emotionally detached. definitely do not think you have any insight into any part of africa having read this book. but don't let me put you off -- others obviously enjoy this book very much.
I resisted picking up this book for a long time and quite frankly I don't know why I even bought it. I am now sorry that I waited so long. A charming book- serious, sad, funny and warm. Happy ending too.
I want Mma Ramotswe as my friend. Of course, that means I have to read more books about her and The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. She is a modern woman in a country struggling to become modern. Using money from the sale of cattle inherited from her father, Precious Ramotswe begins her own detective agency. She rights wrongs that include cheating husbands, missing children, witchcraft, and questions of identity and strange behavior.
With wit, wisdom, and insight into the people, culture and landscape of Botswana, the author draws the reader into Precious Ramotswe's life and adventures. The book is an easy read filled with joy, humor and insight. There is also a surprise ending.
Interesting book that leaves you with a better understanding of a different culture. The names are a little difficult to keep straight. I read the "Cupboard of Life" before I read this one, so I skimmed a lot as repeating.
I absolutely loved this book and ordered Bk. 2. Fascinating insight into Botswana everyday life. Makes the everyday dilemmas of ordinary people, in Botswana or anywhere in the world, something you can feel personally.
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.
Really enjoyed this light read about an African woman who opens her own detective agency. The author includes interesting facts about Africa - its terrain, people, customs, history. The "mysteries" are uncomplicated and solved rather easily by this generous, big-hearted woman. If you're looking for a light, quick read for an airplane flight, this is it. I'll definitely check out the other books in the series.
Very good. I held off reading this, not expecting to like it and I loved it from the first page. Very, very good and full of good information about African life and how they approach life and the way they live. Good stuff!!!!!
A treat. If you haven't read Smith's stories about the only lady detective in Botswana, this is a good one with which to start. Not only is Smith a good writer, he knows his people. In this one Mma. Precious Ramotswe tracks down a not so missing husband, uncovers a con man, follows a wayward daughter, and gives her whole heart to finding an 11 year old boy snatched by witch doctors.
The #1 Ladies Detective Agency is set in Botswana, where Mma Ramotswe has opened the first woman owned detective agency. It is knowing human nature that allows Mma Ramotswe to solve her cases. This is a down to earth book, that allows you to think you could actually do the same thing she is doing. Very believable characters. I have enjoyed each of the books in the seies so far.
I had a fun time reading this book. I liked the descriptions of Precious' background and the lessons that she learned from her childhood. I liked how the different cases she worked on led up to the one conclusion. It was a fast easy read.
It took me awhile to get into this book. I stuck with it, though, and in the end I enjoyed it quite well. It's *not* an action-packed book if that's what you're looking for. But it does provide a new insights into Africa in a "cozy-mystery" style.
"The 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 drrwan to her profession to "help people with the problems in their lives." Funny book that takes you straight to Africa and its wonderful people.
I began to read this book and just couldn't get into it after I read about fifty pages. However, I have heard that the book is really good, so I would like to pass it along to someone who will enjoy it!
A truly delightful book and character. You will love to meet Mme Precious Ramotswe and hear her bits of daily wisdom as she experiences her ordinary yet extraordinary daily life. Do not come to this series expecting some great thiriller or mystery, they are more about the rich texture of lives of a different culture that you are thrilled by the pure simplicity and richness of it all. Think of eating a well made milk custard;..simple, yet rich.
It's the detective as folk hero, solving crimes through an innate, self-possessed wisdom that, combined with an understanding of human nature, invariably penetrates into the heart of a puzzle. If Miss Marple were fat and jolly and lived in Botswana--and decided to go against any conventional notion of what an unmarried woman should do, spending the money she got from selling her late father's cattle to set up a Ladies' Detective Agency--then you have an idea of how Precious sets herself up as her country's first female detective. Once the clients start showing up on her doorstep, Precious enjoys a pleasingly successful series of cases.
But the edge of the Kalahari is not St. Mary Mead, and the sign Precious orders, painted in brilliant colors, is anything but discreet. Pointing in the direction of the small building she had purchased to house her new business, it reads "THE NO. 1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY. FOR ALL CONFIDENTIAL MATTERS AND ENQUIRIES. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED FOR ALL PARTIES. UNDER PERSONAL MANAGEMENT."
The solutions she comes up with, whether in the case of the clinic doctor with two quite different personalities (depending on the day of the week), or the man who had joined a Christian sect and seemingly vanished, or the kidnapped boy whose bones may or may not be those in a witch doctor's magic kit, are all sensible, logical, and satisfying. Smith's gently ironic tone is full of good humor towards his lively, intelligent heroine and towards her fellow Africans, who live their lives with dignity and with cautious acceptance of the confusions to which the world submits them.
This is a great introduction to a new mystery series. Set in Africa, it's not like the usual whodunit but instead has a series of "stories" or cases from the #1 Ladies Detective Agency. Very enjoyable!
This is the first novel in the series of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. You will be introduced to Precious Ramotswe who lives in Botswana and earns her living solving disputes, small mysteries and miscommunications around her village.
This is the 1st novel in the no. 1 ladies detective series and tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging precious Ramotswe whoe is drawn to her profession to "help people with the problems in their lives". The first day she gets three big cases but the one that tugs at her heart and lands her in danger is that of a missing 11 yr. old boy, who may have been snatched by witch doctors. 2 Booker Judges special recommendations and 1 of the International Books of the Year by the Times Literary Suppplement.
This is a story about a woman who opens Botswana's first private detective agency.
This was a fun, fast read. The sentences had a very basic structure, which made the book easy to read, but also made me feel like the book was written for teenagers rather than adults. This might have been because the author was writing in a language that was not his first language, or it may have been intentional, to portray the basic life of people in Botswana as compared to our more complex lives.
Regardless, the book was enjoyable, and I look forward to reading the next one in the series.
I have throughly enjoyed this series and the characters are amusing, endearing and I became totally invested in their "lives". Otherwise I am not a fan of A. McCall Smith or any of his other works. I think I became a fan of this series because I caught the show on HBO. It's not Agatha Christie, a much light fare, but it's a quick read on a rainy afternoon. Be sure to have a cup of "Bush Tea" nearby.
I LOVE cozy mysteries of all types. But I found this one BORING! I read the second one to give it another chance and it too was dull and uninteresting with flat, unengaging characters. The local color is kinda fun, but I would not recommend this series at all.
Just the beginning of a wonderful series of 12 (so far!). We can all learn from Mma Ramotswe--a sweet but strong character who naturally embodies common sense, common decency, and loyalty. The stories, dialogues, and characters are so dear, and McCall's descriptions of the African countryside will have you taking in all it's beauty and feeling the sweet air as the rain approaches. My sister-in-law travelled to Botswana just because of these books. She reported that the people and places are just like Alexander McAll Smith presents them here: a true village of decent folk in a beautiful country.
One of the reasons I picked this book up was that the cover had a quote from The Plain Dealer that stated: "One of the best, most charming, honest, hilarious and life-affirming books to appear in years." I don't know if they were talking about a different book or what. There was nothing hilarious in it. The story-line was good for what it was (various cases and background information of the main character), but I would not even come close to calling this book funny. If you're looking for humor, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a glimpse at African life and a woman who can solve mysteries, then this is your book.
Really enjoyable first novel in the No. Ladies' Detective Agency series. Smith really paints a vivid picture of the tranquil buts sometimes problematic conditions in Botswana. We are introduced to Precious Ramotswe, who sets up a detective agency with the money she receives from the sale of her father's cattle upon his death. She always had a knack for solving problems in school and makes good use of her skills as a detective. The novel is actually a series of vignettes which showcase her intuitive skills. She is able to solve cases involving a missing husband, a wayward daughter, and a missing 11-year old boy who is thought dead. I have had this book for several years and finally got around to reading it. I also have several others in the series and am looking forward to reading them!
I also watched the HBO miniseries based on this novel and really enjoyed it. I would recommend both the book and the TV show.
This was a light read but was very enjoyable. Wonderful characters and an intriguing plot makes for a good story. The book had a great message and a good ending.I look forward to reading more of Alexander McCall Smith books.
I enjoyed my visit to Africa and reading about Precious Ramotswe and how she came to start her detective agency. I loved reading about her father and was sad to hear about her marriage to a man who wasn't good to her. She drank a lot of "bush tea" so I looked it up and ordered some. I enjoyed trying something new.
This book should be listed as young adult. The writing is very simplistic. It is written as if the speaker is speaking English as a second language and is not used to it. It makes the characters seem simple minded.