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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Paperback – 7 Jul 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 437 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (7 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349119082
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349119083
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1.5 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (437 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,482,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The author's prose has the merits of simplicity, euphony and precision. (Anthony Daniels, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

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)

Book Description

* A highly original 'detective' novel with unique setting and characters, this is the first of four 'Botswana' titles are both beautiful and charming.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
This second entry in Smith's Botswana-set series picks up right where the wonderful The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency left off. Indeed, the two books are utterly seamless, and it'd be a real shame to read this without reading its predecessor first. The book picks up with the engagement of "traditionally built" Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's sole woman detective, to local master mechanic Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni. While the structure is the same as the first book—a missing son as the central running mystery, and some smaller cases interspersed—the new couple's relationship is the real focus.
So, while Precious is asked by an American woman to find out what happened to her son, who disappeared from a commune ten years previously, she must also negotiate the pitfalls of setting up house with Mr. Matekoni, the acquisition of an engagement ring, and the dastardly schemes of Mr. Matekoni's nasty housekeeper, and the unexpected addition of two foster children to her household. All of which she does with her keen sense of human nature and wisdom. Her secretary/typist is also given increased attention, allowed to take on the case of a cheating wife all by herself.
Built into the stories are ruminations of the tensions between modernity and traditional values. There are a number of passages that attempt to capture the essence of Africa, and how that noble vision is under constant assault by greed, corruption, and power. The adventures of Precious and her cohort are a warm antidote to the often depressing news that dominates coverage of Africa in the West. Smith writes in a delightfully fluid and simple prose with pacing that makes the book quite difficult to put down. The series thankfully continues with Morality for Beautiful Girls and The Kalahari Typing School For Men, with further volumes to follow, one hopes.
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Format: Paperback
Mma.Ramotswe returns in "Tears of the Giraffe" the second novel about the exploits of "The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency". This is an heartwarming pleasurable read.Mma Ramotswe is the only female detective in Botswana, she solves her cases using common sense and a razor sharp intelligence.As Mma. Ramotswe states "Suspicious? Call the No.1 ladies Detective Agency.We find things out...." In this book Precious Ramotswe is engaged, has promoted her secretary to assistant detective (with sucessful results) and has accidentally acquired two children.Each chapter tells us a different tale from the agency and by the end all of the mysteries are solved. I enjoyed this book as much as the first and again it tells us a little more about life in Botswana, a country of tradition and warmth where you may call everyone "brother" or "sister". This is not just a detective story but it is also a voyage through Africa that is told with humour,warmth and great respect for its peoples.I would recommend this book wholeheartedly along with all the others in the series....
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