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No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency [Paperback]

Alexander Mccall Smith
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sign me up as a fan..... June 29 2003
I bought this book because of a review I read in a magazine...can't remember which one.
Now, I have all the books in Alexander McCall's Smith's series about Precious Ramotswe, proud owner of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Botswana.
Unlike some reviews here, I can find no fault with the books. I agree they are not complex who-done-it thrillers, but Precious Ramotswe does not lead a thrilling life. She lives at a slower pace, more in tune with nature and her intuition than those of us in western civilization. The mysteries she solves are not that difficult, but she takes great pride in her professionalism and treats each client with great care and compassion.
I particularly like the way I feel when I read about the daily happenings in Mma Ramotswe's life. I like reading about her house on Zebra Drive; her bright secretary (who scored 97% at the Botswana Secretarial College); her companion Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni; her life growing up as the beloved daughter of a devoted father who left his life's work to her so she could open her own business; her disastrous marriage; and the variety of people who seek out her professional assistance.
Some reviewers have compared Mma Ramotswe to Miss Marple. I guess the comparison fits, but it seems to me that Mma Ramotswe would prefer to belong in a category by herself....the first female private investigator in Botswana.
If you like the Jan Karon series about Father Tim and his beloved village of Mitford, then you might want to give The No 1. Ladies' Detective Series a try.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual location -- delightful characters Sept. 9 2001
By A Customer
Morality for Beautiful Girls is third in a series about Precious Ramotswe, a lady detective in Botswana, Africa. For this Midwestern reader the landscape, weather, and daily life in Botswana were fascinating and clearly depicted.
This is not your typical mystery--there is no murder to be solved. Ramotswe and her assistant detective cleverly handle a couple of cases for clients, but her personal life is just as interesting: moving the office, caring for two foster children, and handling the auto repair shop belonging to her fiance who has suddenly begun acting strangely. Ramotswe deals with both the problems of her clients and her personal life in a thorough and straight-forward manner.
I had to buy the first two books in the series (The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, and Tears of the Giraffe) from Amazon.UK, so I was very happy to find this third book on
For something just a little different--highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another Installment of Joy May 18 2004
After reading Alexander McCall Smith's first book in this series "The #1 Ladies Detective Agency" I felt I had to read the following books as well because they are so enjoyable.
"The Tears of the Giraffe" reads almost like a fable allowing us to determine whether or not lying for good or bad reasons can be wrong. It is an interesting delimma. I absolutely enjoy the way that Smith writes his characers. Precious Ramotswe, her secretary/assistant Mma Makutsi and her fiance Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni are immediately likable and often shyly funny in the way that they interact with one another. This book brings two orphan children into Mma Ramotswe's life and leaves a door open for the next installment.
The ending of the book is left with a wonderful fable-like suggestion about baskets being woven from the tears of a giraffe because that is all they have to give us. We can all give something no matter how small or insignificant it may seem and Alexander McCall Smith has given us a true treasure here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars African Wisdom Sept. 12 2007
Written by a man, The No1 Ladies' Detective Agency has enough of a feminist persepctive for me to feel I was reading something actually written for me, rather than feeling as I usually do when reading, that I am trying to take pleasure in literature created for an audience of which I am not a part. McCall Smith' s feminism is simple but fundamental : men should not beat their wives, the better fathers are those who encourage their daughters to be independent and realise their dreams, women have a right to happiness.

These beliefs are just part of the basic philosophy of the central character, Mma Precious Ramotswe, the first lady detective in Botswana, who imparts her basic moral philosophy at the same time - murder is worse than lying, relationships are more important than money, intuition is a kind of knowledge. While all of this philosophy may seem clichéd, as perhaps it is, it appears naturally in the book as part of the character and helps us to understand her approach to solving the cases brought to her.

Woven throughout all of this is a picture of Botswana, considered by Ramotswe, and presumably McCall Smith, as the best and most successful country in Africa. Independent from the British since 1966, there is enormous pride in her accomplishments, and only the ongoinging black magic practices of some of the country's witchdoctors cast a shadow on the shining accomplishments of Botswana's diamond-fueled progress.

Most powerfully of all, it is the love of the land that sings throughout the book. Botswana - stretching from the Kalahari desert to the Limpopo river, a country where « there is a place for me, and for everybody, to sit down on this earth and touch it and call it their own ».
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
A fast flowing story set, Tears of the Giraffe is one of the best books I have read. With good values expressed through characters that are lively, this book showed a beautiful... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Peter Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Ladies Detective Agency
I watched the tv version and liked the book very much. Light reading and very easy to put down and pick up again.
Published 8 months ago by Sherilyn Fleischhacker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars for a true, funny and inspiring book.
It was very funny, real and authentic in the way the people in Botswana would think. I truly enjoy it immensely.
Published 10 months ago by Upset
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Series
This book takes me to another place. I feel part of the people of Botswana and find myself at times laughing out loud at the simple goodness of it.
Published 12 months ago by Peshagolda
3.0 out of 5 stars So so
Very amusing you have to like this style of writing ver witty and humorous. Nice short read easy to finish.
Published 21 months ago by Eky Ternamian
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad
Different style of writing. Once you read a few you begin to enjoy. Again the numbers of the series are not well marked. You end up reading out of order very annoying.
Published 21 months ago by Eky Ternamian
5.0 out of 5 stars Mma Rmotswe Rocks !!
I was in a mood to read some light, funny, uplifting books and I decided to read this book. Let me tell you, this is one of the AMAZING books that I've read so far. Read more
Published on April 3 2012 by Pratz
5.0 out of 5 stars The ladies number one detectivs agency
A very nice light read. The story is set in Botswana so you learn a lot about that country and the manners and customs of the people.
Published on March 29 2011 by R. Montague
5.0 out of 5 stars what a treat!
I can't believe it's taken me till now to read this book, what with the buzz around its first publication & subsequent sequels. Read more
Published on Aug. 13 2008 by B. A. Scharf
5.0 out of 5 stars No 1 in my book
Highly intelligent and pleasantly plump, Precious lived in Gaborone, the capital city of the African nation of Botswana. Her father had left her a nice inheritance. Read more
Published on June 20 2006 by Charon W.
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