by Sukey HowardSeptember, 2003
On the beat in Botswana
It's not often that one can call a detective series delightful, but that's the right adjective for the four books in Alexander McCall Smith's series, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, now available on CD and perfectly narrated in the softly lilting cadences of southern Africa by Lisette Lecat. Precious Ramotswe is the first and only lady detective in her beloved Botswana, and when we meet her in the number one book in the series, not surprisingly called The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, she has just opened her little office. "She was a good detective and good woman. A good woman in a good country" who felt called to help her countrymen solve the mysteries in their lives. Mma Ramotswe, as she is properly addressed, endowed with an abundance of intuition, intelligence and compassion, solves those mysteries, both simple and complex, but she is the most compelling character, and it is she who shows us her country and her culture and she who totally delights. I hope Mr. Smith is hard at work on the next installment.