Paperback: 235 pages
Published Date: February 6, 2003
My Rating: 4 out of 5
The protagonist here is, Precious Ramotswe, endearingly called as Mma Ramotswe who is THE No. 1 and only lady detective in Africa. With a tiny white van, two desks, two chairs, a telephone and an old typewriter, she is often found solving problems. Her clientele includes almost everybody - a poor teacher who lost his son in a remote village to a multi-billionaire who thinks is being outsmarted by his ex-employee. She has a unique persistence and fabulous observational skills with which she resolves each of her cases. Don't expect high-voltage thrilling scenes from the book. Just some old-fashioned common sense is required which make the characters very humane and realistic which I really liked.
The author, Alexander McCall Smith has indeed created a charming story out of Botswana, though originally he is from Scotland. It has an insider's feel about how people there live, think about their country and the slower pace of the book lets you visualize the images and characters. The interplay between the rural where Precious grew up and urban city background where is currently lives is quite interesting.
Thankfully there is no any emotional melodrama involved with any of the characters including the protagonist which makes it a easy reading on a lazy afternoon. It is just one of those light-hearted, happy sort of book.
This is just Volume 1 of Mma Ramotswe's musings and some time soon, I plan to read rest of the volumes as well. The book received two Booker Judges' Special Recommendations and was voted one of the International Books of the Year and the Millennium by the Times Literary Supplement. HBO even produced a television series based on the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels. :-)
The next time you visit library, do remember about our Mma Ramotswe. Will you?
Next Book: Best Food Writing 2011 by Holly Hughes
Book 1- India: In the Convent of Little Flowers written by Indu Sundaresan
Book 2 - Spain: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón