The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

The Fourth Tuesday and Mystery Book Club

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

by Alexander McCall Smith


Alexander McCall Smith, the author of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, lived in the southern portion of the “dark continent” of Africa.  The experiences he had in Botswana bring life to the people of this proud nation through his characters.  The most interesting and important character is Precious Ramotswe, who realized that she found a way to help the people of her country by solving problems.  She is a very likeable detective and definitely not typical.  For example, Precious is “traditionally built,” which in Botswana is an attractive feature but in America would be considered heavy or overweight.

Another important character is Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, the owner of Speedy Motors who proves to be a true friend –always reliable and ready to help Mma (a title of respect for women) Ramotswe.  The secretary for the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is Mma Makutsi.  She is a funny and interesting person with a long face, braided hair, and oval glasses with wide plastic frames.  Mma Makutsi was very proud that she had passed her typing test with a grade of 97%, the highest score ever in her school.  Both become key figures in Mma Ramotswe’s adventures.

This first book in the series introduces the characters in a mixture of unique mysteries.  Mma Ramotswe learns to be a detective by dealing with problems that are both big and small.  The author weaves a wonderful story using very real characters.  He takes us on a trip to Africa, and we learn not only about their land but also about their people and their concepts of right and wrong.  We learn from Precious Ramotswe how to treat others, approach a problem, and deal with people who wrong others.  We learn much and grow to love the characters and their stories.  You too will love The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and find that you want to continue to read more of this delightful series.

Key Ideas from different club members:

An easy read; great fun; I liked the characters; a really good one to begin the series; I want to read more of these; very good story; I loved Precious’ description of Africa and its people; Even though the author is male, he wrote from a female perspective; really entertaining with unique solutions to her cases; Precious is delightful; McCall Smith is fabulous!

The Club Members rating of this book:

Linda Bowman, Pat Gombita, Mona Herrell, Pat Kuna, Juanita Sanner, Lee Ann Schrock, Bill Simmons, Lynn Simmons, Helen Skalski, and Linda Troll

Club’s Average Rating:  4.65 of 5

Rating Range: 4 to 5


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Filed under Fourth Tuesday Book Club Books

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