My first introduction to the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency was through watching the first (and what appears to be the last) season of it on television. I was mesmerized and enchanted by the characters. In the film series, Jill Scott plays Mma Ramotswe and pulls you in from the first scene. She is perfect for the role, as is the whole cast. The film version generally stays true to the books written by Alexander McCall Smith.
Although the series enjoyed widespread fan and critic support, it appears that it will not continue. Realizing that, I quickly sought out the original set of books to read and found myself thirsting for each installment. The series details a lady detective, the first (and only) in Botswana, who opens her own agency. We follow Precious Ramotswe as she solves puzzling questions and goes through the drama of daily living. How will her relationship with the good and kind Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni evolve? What about the abusive husband from her past? How will she and her secretary, who scored 97% at the Botswana Secretarial College, deal with the latest personal and professional drama?
Immediately, you feel a kinship for these well-developed characters and want to see them on through their journeys. The series is perfect for the spring and summer when you want fast reads that take you away. Publishers Weekly wrote, “General audiences will welcome this little gem of a book”.
The series begins with the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Here we are introduced to the characters and Precious sets up her agency.
Tears of the Giraffe (Book 2): Should she promote Mma Makutski?
Morality for Beautiful Girls (Book 3): How should beauty contestants be selected?
The Kalahari Typing School (Book 4): When the Satisfaction Guaranteed Detective Agency opens up across the street, they seem to be getting all the attention. How will the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency survive?
The Full Cupboard of Life (Book 5): Will a wedding date ever be set? How much pressure should a fiance impart?
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (Book 6): A new character emerges, Mr. Polopetsi. How will it be with him working at Speedy Motors? And being an assistant to the detective agency?
Blue Shoes and Happiness (Book 7): Has Mma Makutski made a dreadful mistake?
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (Book eight): Will it spell trouble if Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni gets involved in detecting?
The Miracle at Speedy Motors (Book 9): Can a doctor provide a miracle cure for their daughter?
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (Book 10): Can Precious Ramotswe find a way to save her old friend (her white van)?
The Double Comfort Safari Club (Book 11) was just released. Is Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni unfaithful?
If Precious Ramotswe’s love of Botswana captures your heart, check out This is Botswana by Daryl and Sharna Balfour. With stunning photographs, they take you on a journey through Botswana. There is an overview of the history, culture, and landscape of Precious Ramotswe’s beloved Botswana. You may be interested to learn that Botswana gained its independence on September 30, 1966 and has held fair and free democratic elections ever since. And as the Kalahari Desert covers 70% of Botswana, you may find the outstanding book, Cry of the Kalahari by Mark and Delia Owens, to be a literary adventure as they take the reader along with them on their seven years in “Africa’s last great wilderness”.
p.s. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series is also available in large print.
Ann Marie is the Library Director for the Oliver Wolcott Library.