The first book in The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series offers us our first meeting with the wonderful Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s only lady detective.
On the death of her father, Obed Ramotswe, Precious sells all the cattle he has left her and starts a new life as a private detective in Gaborone. She buys a house on Zebra Drive and some premises at the foot of Kgale Hill, and then waits. However, she doesn’t have to wait for long.
As the story progresses, we are given a glimpse into a variety of the cases that she is asked to investigate when she first opens the doors to the agency, including missing husbands, missing children, and missing fingers, to name but a few, as well as a glimpse into her family background. We are also introduced to a number of characters who are set to become firm favourites in the series: Mr J. L. B. Matekoni who runs Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors and who is in love with Precious; and Mma Makutsi, Mma Ramotswe’s secretary who has just recently graduated from the Botswana College of Secretarial and Office Skills with an average of ninety-seven per cent.
Precious Ramotswe is wonderful as the central character: she is compassionate, observant, resolute, determined, honest and pursues cases with sense and logic. She is a strong character and not very easily intimidated.
This is a colourful story that brings Southern Africa to life. The descriptions are vivid and the characters easy to engage with. It is bursting with humour and written in a simple easy style making it an addictive, enjoyable read.
A firm favourite that will leave you feeling happy and uplifted.