Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Book Review: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Publisher: Pantheon
Publication date: November 2005
ISBN: 9780307456625
Source: Library (book club)

The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Movie Tie-in Edition)

Precious Ramotse is determined to open a detective agency with the money her father left her.  Once the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is open and running, she finds herself caught up with the lives and struggles of her people - men masquerading as fathers, wayward husbands, and especially one missing child.

Things I Liked:
We read this for one of my book groups, and the ladies fell in love with Precious and also Mr. Matekoni.  It was different reading for all of us, but we loved it.  What I thought was so interesting, was Precious' ideas about Africa - how much she loved her country and wanted some things to change, but some things to stay the same.  I feel that way about my hometown and country as well.  The mysteries were in episodes rather than the usual one main mystery plot.  They were also a lot gentler in nature than most mystery books I've read: no seriously violent crimes and dead bodies.  Maybe that's a reflection of her community.  It was a fun book with a lovable main character and some interesting stories to keep you reading.

Things I Didn't Like:
We all thought it was a bit slow.  In the beginning, it was a little hard to get into.  There was lots of information about Precious' father and her cousin who raised her.  We talked about why the information was included and decided it was probably to help us get a full picture of why Precious is the way she is.  Also, when she was solving mysteries it was interesting, but in between, many of us got a bit bored.  A unique and fun mystery series that I'd like to read more of.

She talks about Agatha Christie mysteries a lot

Reminded me of Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

s-factor: !
very few

mrg-factor: X
nothing too descriptive

v-factor: ->
some domestic violence, mainly

Overall rating: ***

Have you read this series? What do you think?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I have also read this book and totally agree with your review! Overall, I enjoyed the book, but found it a bit slow in parts. I have purchased other books in this series, meaning to read them, but the first book wasn't compelling enough for me to immediatlely read the sequels. Thanks for the review!

  2. Jones Family, I'm so glad I'm not the only one not terribly interested in this series! I think it would be fun to read another sometime, but I'm in no hurry. :)

  3. I've only read this first one, but I remember loving the main character more than the mysteries. I also felt her love for Africa. I want to read more, but just haven't. You know how it goes!

  4. Shelley, yes I definitely loved the character more than the stories. And I know how there is always something to read next :)


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