Monday, February 21, 2005

Book 9

"The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency" by Alexander McCall Smith

My Mum has been reading lots of books herself recently, and she chucked me this one with her usual admonition of "You'll love it". And I did. The writing style is concise and simple, without being simplistic. Although the subject matter is often very serious (marital rape?), overall the book is light and enjoyable, with a strong feeling of joy in the writing. It centres around Precious Ramotswe who opens the eponymous detective agency with money from the sale of the herd of cattle inherited from her father. She is a woman built along traditional African lines (she's a big, black lady) who takes no nonsense, but is still compassionate and discrete when she has to be.

The book is divided into chapters that are essentially self-contained mini-stories, all tying together the overall themes and story of the whole novel. McCall Smith obviously loves Africa, and his love is directly conveyed through Mma Ramotswe. Also, he seems to have a strong understanding of traditional African life and moral values and these values are as simple as they sensible. On more than one occasion I found myself tempted to look up airfares to Botswana. Maybe I could find a nice small village to adopt me. :)

In case I've been ambiguous, I very much liked this book and have already started the next in the series.

Four large, black African PIs.


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