Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The #1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Botswanan Precious Ramotswe, mourning the death of her beloved father, uses the proceeds from his estate (a sizeable herd of cattle) to purchase a store and open her own detective agency. She solves a variety of mysteries in her own charming, no-nonsense style, and along the way we learn about her childhood, her brief marriage and her frienship with a local auto shop owner who is besotted with her.

I've avoided this series for quite some time now, for the silly-sounding reason that the books just looked too short. Well, I found this used at Village Books in Bellingham on Saturday and am so glad I decided to pick it up. It was charming, evocative and quite addictive... I finished it while on campus (supposedly to focus on my school work) and had to stop myself from walking into the University bookstore to buy the next title in the series. Instead, I went online and requested the next book at the public library, and at last, it's sitting next to me here, while I relish the fact that I have it in my possession and savour the anticipation of reading it.

One of the most memorable things about this book is its beautiful descriptions of the landscape and people of Africa. You get the feeling that the author (born in Zimbabwe and now living in Edinburgh) really misses the land that he grew up in. I love reading books that give me a glimpse into another country or culture, and though I have no interest in visiting Africa, I have vivid impressions of the landscape, the climate, and the people in Botswana.

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