Saturday, December 27, 2008

Books: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

"The No. 1 Ladies Detective Club" is a novel by Alexander McCall Smith. It follows the adventures of Mma Precious Ramotswe, a Botswana divorcee who, after years of dutifully helping everyone else around her informally, decides to open up a detective agency. She solves a lot of problems, covering everything from cheating husbands to stolen cars to insurance fraud. Her most difficult adventure, though, is a case involving a missing boy, witchcraft, and one of the most powerful men in Botswana.

Smith has an easy, relaxed style, and the book is presented as a series of vignettes, some of which delve deeply into Mma Ramotswe's background. Ramotswe is the most appealing heroine this side of Miss Marple - she's even-tempered, fair, cunning, and practical. This book is actually the first in a long series of novels (sort of the grown-up equivalent of Nancy Drew). The book's not long or difficult to read, so it's perfect for an evening spent by a warm fire.


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