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


The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Abacus (paperback), 1998

250 Pages 



Wayward daughters. Missing Husbands. Philandering partners. Curious conmen. If you’ve got a problem, and no one else can help you, then pay a visit to Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s only – and finest – female private detective.


Her methods may not be conventional, and her manner not exactly Miss Marple, but she’s got warmth, wit and canny intuition on her side, not to mention Mr J. L. B. Matekoni, the charming proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. And Precious is going to need them all as she sets out on the trail of a missing child, a case that tumbles our heroine into a hotbed of strange situations and more than a little danger . . .


Delightfully different, THE NO.1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY offers a captivating glimpse of an unusual world.


Mma Ramotswe had a detective agency in Africa, at the foot of Kgale Hill. These were its assets; a tiny white van, two desks, two chairs, a telephone, and an old typewriter. Then there was a teapot, in which Mma Ramotswe – the only lady private detective in Botswana – brewed redbush tea. And three mugs – one for herself, one for her secretary and one for the client. What else does a detective agency really need? Detective agencies rely on human intuition and intelligence, both of which Mma Ramotswe had in abundance. No inventory would include those, of course.



This is the second novel I’ve read by McCall Smith. I read Dream Angus a while ago, part of the Canongate Myth Series.


The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is not my usual fodder. McCall Smith’s novel is light hearted and whimsical, not something I do very often. I though this novel was a treat. I really enjoyed reading something light and easy for once. I liked the fact it was set in Africa, not a place I’ve really read about before. The unusual setting made The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency stand out. Even the dramatic moments are quite light. I loved Precious Ramotswe. What a great character. 




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