The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (1998)

by Alexander McCall Smith

This is the book that started the enormously popular series that bears its name and numbers 16 titles as of 2015.

If you’ve read and enjoyed later books in the series, you might like to know more of the background of Mma Precious Ramotswe and her husband, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, and secretary, Mma Grace Makutsi.

Here you’ll find out about Mma Ramotswe’s beloved father; her abusive first marriage; the loss of her child; how and why she started her detective agency in Gaborone, Botswana; the hiring of the efficient but excitable Mma Makutsi; and her courtship by the kind mechanic Mr. Matekoni.

And yes, you’ll read about the agency’s cases. As in all the books, they aren’t murder mysteries, but Precious’s intelligence and spunk make them intriguing nonetheless. The first cases involve a missing husband, a suspicious employee, an overprotective father, and a boy who may have been kidnapped by witchdoctors. Readers not only enjoy the delightful characters and cozy style of the novels but also learn about the culture and the natural environment of Botswana.

Alexander McCall Smith, a Scotsman, produced a new novel in the series nearly every year since The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency appeared. The books were adapted by the BBC and HBO for television and the BBC for radio.


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