Alexander McCall Smith's "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" is an entrancing work of fiction. Smith's lively prose and witty humour is set in a rich backdrop of exotic Gaborone and the Kalahari, replete with witchcraft and crocodiles, missing daughters and philandering husbands all flowing to the rhythms of Botswanan life. But the most endearing is the character of generously proportioned Precious Ramotswe, of traditional build as she puts it. Mma Ramotswe is human in her uncertainties and self-doubts and has a background and skills quite unlike any other fictional detective. She isn't Miss Marple, but her canny intuition, warmth and unreserved wit has created a character which already has contributed more to tourism in Botswana than the tourism promotion efforts of the local government. When her father dies, Precious Ramotswe sells the hundred and eighty cattle she inherits and sets up as Botswana's only female private detective. The beginning is tough but as she solves her cases in her own unique manner, her reputation spreads and cases start coming in. There's no single big mystery that runs throughout the book, but rather a variety of small cases: a wayward teenager daughter, a missing husband, a strangely behaving doctor and a kidnapped boy. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is the first of eight books about Mma Ramotswe.
About the Author
Alexander McCall Smith, CBE, FRSE, (born 24 August 1948) is a Zimbabwean-born Scottish writer and Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. McCall Smith was an expert on medical law and bioethics and served on British and international committees concerned with these issues. He has since become internationally known as a writer of fiction, being best known as the creator of the The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.
He is an amateur bassoonist, and co-founder of The Really Terrible Orchestra
. He helped to found Botswana's first centre for opera training, the Number 1 Ladies' Opera House
, for whom he wrote the libretto of their first production, a version of Macbeth set among a troop of baboons in the Okavango Delta.