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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (original 1998; edition 1999)

by Alexander McCall Smith

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
10,541320270 (3.72)2 / 691
Member:DWWilkin
Title:The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Authors:Alexander McCall Smith
Info:
Collections:Rated, Read, Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:2012, Own, Read, Reviewed, 5 Star Rating, Fiction, Mystery, No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Work details

The No. 1 Ladiesʼ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (1998)

  1. 40
    The Coroner's Lunch by Colin Cotterill (heidialice)
  2. 31
    Still Life by Louise Penny (bell7)
    bell7: Readers who enjoy Mma Ramotswe's understanding of people may also appreciate Inspector Gamache's methods and insistence that listening to and understanding people solve cases.
  3. 20
    A Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson (bookwoman247)
    bookwoman247: Both books have a similar, lighthearted tone, and of course, they have the African setting in common.
  4. 10
    The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (stevedore)
    stevedore: Similar light-hearted quirky characters and lack of dramatic tension.
  5. 10
    Frangipani by Célestine Hitiura Vaite (jayne_charles)
    jayne_charles: Culturally illuminating with similar feelgood vibe
  6. 10
    Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey (-Eva-)
    -Eva-: It's a little more gruesome than McCall Smith's books, but it's a true pageturner!
  7. 10
    Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Although they take place in different African countries (Smith's Botswana and Parkin's Rwanda), both books have a similar flavor with the leading ladies helping out their neighbors. Throughout their respective stories, each book reveals a bit about the culture and daily life of the country where it takes place.… (more)
  8. 00
    The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Both books are cory mysteries, with different plotlines, in an exotic environment. Nice, comfortable reads
  9. 00
    The Cliff House Strangler by Shirley Tallman (missmaddie)
    missmaddie: Mystery novels filled with woman power!
  10. 00
    Tail of the Blue Bird by Nii Ayikwei Parkes (sanddancer)
  11. 01
    Jana Bibi's Excellent Fortunes by Betsy Woodman (amyblue)
    amyblue: Although Jana Bibi is set in India and No. 1 Ladies detective Agency is set in Botswana, both have a great respect for the local culture but are told from a more western perspective, and both have a cast of quirky characters.
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English (308)  Swedish (5)  Spanish (3)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (320)
Showing 1-5 of 308 (next | show all)
Revisited, review to come. ( )
  lamotamant | Jun 23, 2016 |
Really not my cuppa.  I was really disappointed as everyone on Shelfari was praising it to the skies. ( )
  winterslights | Jun 12, 2016 |
Not exactly what I expected, as there's much time spent with Mma R.'s father and there's a lot of fairly serious issues, and for some reason I thought she had colleagues or a sisterhood or something. But I did like it. I might even read more in the series someday (and for me, as I'm much more into world-building than revisiting characters, that's praise). ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
This has a very distinctive style to it - there are several cases within the overarching case, but the overarching case is not really central the way it is in something like the September Society or even Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie - though the main character references Mrs. Christie quite often as part of getting people to take her seriously. It is mostly about Africa and appreciating the culture and Precious Ramotswe's background. There is a GREAT tension between old and new Africa, and women's perceptions of men, so that makes it a very teachable book. ( )
  trinityM82 | May 30, 2016 |
It did not grab me. I thought the first couple of chapters were good but quickly lost interest. ( )
  weisser4 | May 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 308 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Smith, Alexander McCallprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carlsson, PederTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McIntosh, IainIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is for

Anne Gordon-Gillies

in Scotland

and for

Joe and Mimi McKnight

in Dallas, Texas
First words
Mma Ramotswe had a detective agency in Africa, at the foot of Kgale Hill.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
From the back:

Meet Precious Ramotswe, the "miss Marple of Botswana" (the new york times book review) - a heroine who is endearing, engaging, and simply irresistible. with persistent observations, gentle intuition, and a keen desire to help people with problems do their lives, she solves mysteries great and small for friends and strangers alike.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 034911675X, Paperback)

Penzler Pick, July 2001: Working in a mystery tradition that will cause genre aficionados to think of such classic sleuths as Melville Davisson Post's Uncle Abner or Robert van Gulik's Judge Dee, Alexander McCall Smith creates an African detective, Precious Ramotswe, who's their full-fledged heir.

It's the detective as folk hero, solving crimes through an innate, self-possessed wisdom that, combined with an understanding of human nature, invariably penetrates into the heart of a puzzle. If Miss Marple were fat and jolly and lived in Botswana--and decided to go against any conventional notion of what an unmarried woman should do, spending the money she got from selling her late father's cattle to set up a Ladies' Detective Agency--then you have an idea of how Precious sets herself up as her country's first female detective. Once the clients start showing up on her doorstep, Precious enjoys a pleasingly successful series of cases.

But the edge of the Kalahari is not St. Mary Mead, and the sign Precious orders, painted in brilliant colors, is anything but discreet. Pointing in the direction of the small building she had purchased to house her new business, it reads "THE NO. 1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY. FOR ALL CONFIDENTIAL MATTERS AND ENQUIRIES. SATISFACTION GUARANTEED FOR ALL PARTIES. UNDER PERSONAL MANAGEMENT."

The solutions she comes up with, whether in the case of the clinic doctor with two quite different personalities (depending on the day of the week), or the man who had joined a Christian sect and seemingly vanished, or the kidnapped boy whose bones may or may not be those in a witch doctor's magic kit, are all sensible, logical, and satisfying. Smith's gently ironic tone is full of good humor towards his lively, intelligent heroine and towards her fellow Africans, who live their lives with dignity and with cautious acceptance of the confusions to which the world submits them. Precious Ramotswe is a remarkable creation, and The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency well deserves the praise it received from London's Times Literary Supplement. I look forward with great eagerness to the upcoming books featuring the memorable Miss Ramotswe, Tears of the Giraffe and Morality for Beautiful Girls, soon to be available in the U.S. --Otto Penzler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:45 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith's widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to help people with problems in their lives. Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

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