The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Book - 2002
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Jul 24, 2019

Am watching the series on HBO and it was so delightful I looked to see if there was a book at the library and thankfully there is a whole series! I just read this first one and it is as lovely as the series, the main character is thoughtful, kind, fair, smart and the other characters are interesting as well. I don't usually do fiction but am learning about life in Botswana and finding it very interesting, looking forward to the rest of the series.

Jul 16, 2019

I enjoyed this book but probably won't be reading anymore of the series. The narrative voice was interesting. The overarching story held was my attention however the individual cases got repetitive after a while and could have been reduced in number to keep the pace up.

The author is a British man from Zimbabwe and the story is from the perspective of a Batswana woman. This is just a fact, do with it what you will.

Kristen MERKE
May 14, 2019

This is a really cute and enjoyable story. I love how it's not just one big mystery, and we follow her through solving small stories. The descriptions of Botswana are rich; and the cultural aspect of this book is very engaging. This is a very light read, but sometimes that's exactly what you need.

bibliosara Aug 16, 2018

I have found myself a wonderful new series! Smith is a fantastic author. His characters seem to jump out of the book, and talk with you, rather than simply be described. This book, following the adventures of Botswana Private Detective Precious Romotswe. Mma Romatswe is a big-hearted woman that readers will feel an immediate and genuine connection with. Her strength and perseverance are charming, and her blunt honesty sometimes makes you laugh out loud. However, things aren't always fun and games in her quiet town. As she solves smaller cases, Mma Romatswe finds herself wrapped up in case with evil at its' very heart. A great introduction to the series! I cannot wait to read the next one!

Nov 02, 2017


Jul 13, 2017

Fiction can sometimes teach you more than nonfiction, and that was certainly the case here. I didn't know a whole lot about Botswana, and I learned a bit about their government and way of life. I also admired their views on wealth. It was refreshingly simple.

Jul 11, 2016

This series was recommended to me by a friend and has become one of my favorites. The movie is good too, and the actors are true to the book characters. I read this whole series before reading any of his others, and am glad I got used to his contemplative writing before starting the Isabel Dalhousie series. Still love this series most, and especially the romances and marriages. Great books!

Jun 02, 2016

A delightful window into what, for me in Canada, is a very different world. I am delighted to have made the protagonist's acquaintance, and to have followed along on a few of her adventures.

CMLibrary_gjd Dec 17, 2015

I don't usually read "light and fluffies", but this was one title I could not resist. The country of Botswana is lovingly recreated by McCall-Smith and I enjoy visiting that side of the world. I love spending time with Precious, Grace and all the others that populate these novels. If you're looking for a good to great book, pick this one up!

gretchenmuz Sep 04, 2015

I really enjoyed this book. The first 1/4 of the book is serious and thoughtful and sometimes a bit sad. There were times when I wasn't sure I wanted to continue reading the book because of this but I am very glad I did. Mma Ramotswe is such a delightful, smart and interesting character. I very much look forward to reading the 2nd book in the series.

WVMLStaffPicks Jan 05, 2015

Enjoy a rare glimpse into the daily life of a contemporary African town in Botswana with this popular new mystery series. Mma. Ramotswe solves her clients' problems with a combination of common sense, humour, and wisdom. Charming, honest and life affirming, these little stories will leave you anxious for more.

Aug 05, 2014

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.

mrsgail5756 Jan 01, 2014

A very good book. Not to be missed.

Aug 15, 2013

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

glass_hurricane May 09, 2013

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

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

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.

Aug 15, 2012

Very good.

Nov 06, 2011

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

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 29, 2011

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!

Mar 31, 2011

I was not sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by the character and how the stories were told in small snippets, and then pan out to the larger picture. I enjoyed reading these tales of sleuthing by Mma Ramotswe and her friends. Can't wait to get into the 2nd book in this series.

May 16, 2010

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.

Sep 30, 2009

first book I read by this author and what fun - great summer read!

Sep 04, 2009

The start of a very good series!

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