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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series) [Kindle Edition]

Alexander McCall Smith
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (401 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Wayward daughters. Missing Husbands. Philandering partners. Curious conmen. If you've got a problem, and no one else can help you, then pay a visit to Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's only - and finest - female private detective.

Her methods may not be conventional, and her manner not exactly Miss Marple, but she's got warmth, wit and canny intuition on her side, not to mention Mr J. L. B. Matekoni, the charming proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. And Precious is going to need them all as she sets out on the trail of a missing child, a case that tumbles our heroine into a hotbed of strange situations and more than a little danger . . .

Delightfully different, THE NO.1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY offers a captivating glimpse of an unusual world.

Books In This Series (15 Books)
Complete Series

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    Product Description


    * Adjoa Andoh reads like a dream' GUARDIAN * 'Everything about [McCall Smith] is appealing. He's just full of delight - it just bubbles out of him' SUNDAY HERALD * 'A rare pleasure' DAILY TELEGRAPH * 'A publishing phenomenon' GUARDIAN

    Anthony Daniels, Sunday Telegraph

    The author's prose has the merits of simplicity, euphony and precision.

    Product details

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 730 KB
    • Print Length: 241 pages
    • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (2 Oct. 2008)
    • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B002TXZRRM
    • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (401 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,399 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Reasoning with Ramotswe 3 Aug. 2005
    By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME
    Precious Ramotswe inherits her father's cattle herd and sells it to start a new life. The options are limited for a woman in Botswana. She sets out on an uncharted course, opening the first private detective agency run by a woman. At least in Botswana. Mma Ramotswe is a commanding figure. She's stout, observant and reasons with precise logic. She would have made a great politician. Instead, she buys a house, an office, hires a secretary, installs a telephone - and sits down to wait for clients. It seems she's likely to shut it all down within a week.
    Instead, clients come calling. The result is a series of vignettes of her clients' problems and their resolutions. There are wandering husbands, rebellious teen-age children [are there any other kind?] and a missing, probably murdered child. Justice, although never mentioned by either McCall Smith or Mma Ramotswe, is an important element throughout these episodes. Justice and the value of being an African. McCall is knowledgeable about Southern Africa and its people. He imparts that understanding with marvelous skill. His Scottish background never intrudes or distracts. Except perhaps in one of Mma's more bizarre cases. The Scots treasure their reputation for producing fine doctors. One of Mma Ramotswe's mysteries is the occasionally inept doctor. It is clearly the highlight of this superb book.
    Mma Ramotswe, in establishing her unique agency, might be thought to have shed her personal life. After all, she had a brief, unhappy marriage. Men are to be watched, controlled, and manipulated in ways to prevent their wandering. Yet, as might be expected, there is a man in her town whose value transcends the image dominated by wandering husbands or lovers. He knows her worth and she his, but his stumbling proposal is rebuffed.
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    110 of 112 people found the following review helpful
    A cracking start to the trilogy (so far - more I hope on the way) sees the establishment of Botswana's number one detective agency for ladies. And if you want to read something happy and uplifting for a change, this will send your spirits soaring. Precious Ramotswe is the complete antithesis of the emaciated, fashion-conscious, glamourous heroine we are often stuck with nowadays. A huge, beautiful, wise and proud woman who does not suffer fools at all - sets out against all odds to use her inheritance to make a real difference to other people's lives. If you think it's going to be a worthy, dull, stick of a read with Africa and Africans portrayed as victims, think again. I haven't laughed so much in a long time and it's rare to read a book with so much humanity.
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    18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Audio CD
    If you have not read The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, I strongly urge you to do so before reading Tears of the Giraffe. Otherwise, this beautiful novel will seem like a four star effort as you fail to appreciate and integrate the background of Precious Ramotswe into your thinking as it was described in the earlier book.
    Tears of the Giraffe isn't so much a sequel as a continuation of the events in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. As that book ended, Mma Ramatswe accepted the proposal of Mr J.L.B. Matekoni. In Tears of the Giraffe, the couple decides in which of their houses they will live, picks out a ring and decides about having children. Each event has its unexpected twists . . . including an attempt by Mr Matekoni's maid to derail the marriage.
    There is less happening at the detective agency than in the prior story. This book involves solving only two mysteries, a wandering wife and a missing son. Mma Ramatswe learns that her able secretary wants to become a detective, and the savvy head of the agency tries out Mma Makutsi's talents with encouraging results.
    Both story lines focus on questions of right and wrong. As a prospective spouse, what are the right reactions to one's fiancé or fiancée? As a detective, how much may one do wrong to avoid greater wrongs? To one's community, what is owed? To one's employees, what opportunities should be opened? In each case, the suggestion is that all responsibilities must be borne . . . and borne bravely . . . but in a way that is tempered with love for one's fellow people.
    As with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Africa itself plays a role stronger than any single character in defining what is thought and done. The strong and distinct atmosphere makes the book more enchanting to those who do not know Africa.
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    16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
    Format:Audio CD
    I can think of no better book for someone to read as their introduction to detective fiction. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency combines heart-warming values, love, a spunky female protagonist, African wildlife and every day problems into a delightful social commentary on the dangers and foibles of vanity and wealth. Along the way, there are little problems to be solved, little in terms of Sherlock Holmes perhaps, but not so little in terms of the lives of the people in Botswana.
    The structure of the book is a little unusual for detective fiction. The main focus is on the life of Mma Precious Ramotswe, a round women in her late thirties with a failed marriage behind her, who starts a storefront detective agency with the money her father left her when he died. Botswana doesn't have any other private detectives, and women usually have circumscribed roles in the society. But Precious knows that women notice more than men, and should make good detectives. Her father had hoped, instead, that she would buy an existing business. Like most new business people, she worries about going broke. She knows that first impressions count, so she buys and spruces up a building . . . and hires a secretary she cannot afford. In the first month, the secretary's salary comes to more than Precious' income.
    But as time passes, clients come to Precious with their problems. Many are related to concerns about the fidelity of a husband. Two involve missing persons. Another looks at a teenage rebellion. One seems like a psychiatric problem -- a doctor who alternates between being brilliant and incompetent. These cases become like short stories built inside the novel. Each story has a particularly rich African heritage . . . as does the flashback into her father's life as a miner. Precious is a common sense detective.
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