October 09, 2011

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

This didn't live up to its hype I decided. After hearing so much about it I was really looking forward to it, but there was a lot that could be improved.

A new detective business has opened up in Botswana. Ad its run by a woman. After her father leaves her a good bit of money, Mma Ramotswe opens up the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. She solves simple crimes brought to her by people of her town. But that's not all she does, she also reminisces about the past and certain periods in her life. But this isn't your ordinary mystery novel. Its more about the people of Botswana than it is about solving cases. Mysterious are solved, but its not the main focus.

I really liked the characters. They were all interesting and compelling. I would have liked for more description on them actually; something more of the culture and life to make me understand them a little better. Ramotswe herself is an especially well written character with a lot of personality, although I don't always follow her train of thought all the time.

For a plot this is where the novel lost me a bit. I found it too jumpy and too much going on. It evened out by the last third of the book but getting there was tedious. I also had a bit of trouble with the writing. While it is representative of the rhythm and language of the area, for those not accustomed to it it can be hard to read and I found it distracting when I just wanted to read the story. This too evened out towards the end though, or maybe I just became used to it.

I won't be rushing out to find the next book but I will probably be reading them eventually. I want to see what happens to the characters, but there are other books calling first.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Copyright 1998
235 pages

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