February 13, 2013

The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency - My African Dream

Cover of "The No.1 Ladies Detective Agenc...
Cover of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency
The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series (by Alexander McCall Smith) have everything I care: ladies, detective, exotic lifestyle, and after all, Africa!

It is a story about an "unusual" life experience of a young lady Mma Precious Ramotswe. When Mma Ramotswe's father dies, he leaves his daughter a large number of cattle. Mma Ramotswe sells cattle and uses money as the capital investment of her individual business "No.1 Ladies' Detective Agence" - the only detective business in Botswana, Africa (without license! I wish I could do that here in America). Through her business' up and down, McCal Smith displays a grand Africa "landscape", with all vivid characters, and "usual" yet usual events.

Different from most mystery fictions, McCall Smith's books do not focus only on case solving, but also life itself. The books tell you the life of the protagonist - a brave and kind African woman who stands up for herself and helps others, life of her family, her friends, even her beloved country - Botswana. I could not strictly share the patriotism of Mma Ramotswe, but I understand her view, and her compassion toward human nature through her passion of her country.

McCall Smith's writing style is plain, however the story itself is colorful - it's fun, witty and full of humanity. The story goes so naturally that I could almost smell African air, or touch the bright African Sun. It makes me want to live in Botswana!

I read the first 3 books about a year ago, now I just finished book #4. I also discovered that there is a HBO TV series based on the book series. I got a sneak peek from youtube, it fascinates me just as the books, except it has one more thing that books could not offer: my favorite African music!

Thanks the author for such a unique creation of literature. I love everything about this book series, beside what I mentioned in the beginning, I also love the length of the books (short!), and the design of book cover - so exotic and elegend! I cannot find anything more suitable for my adventurous spirit!
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  1. Yun Yi, thank you for the very interesting book review. I love mysteries and detective stories. I’m not familiar with this series. Any book so well written that you can almost smell the African air and touch the bright African sun is worth reading. There’s an HBO TV series based on this book? I must check that out. Btw, I love African music too.

  2. Thanks Jerseylil! It would be great if you read these books. They are lightweight and warmhearted. Glad you also love African music. We do have a lot to share:-)