Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency

I would like to share with you one or my favorite authors, Alexander McCall Smith. This Scottish writer is loved all over the world for his series like Sunday Philosophy Club with Isabel Dalhousie, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, 44 Scotland Street, and my personal favorite, The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency.

The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency is based in Botswana, Africa, and revolves around the life of a “traditionally built” Mma Precious Ramotswe. After her father’s death, Precious inherits a herd of cattle; after selling some of it she comes into some money. With it she then rents an office and opens the very first detective agency in the capital of Botswana, Gaborone. Later on the reader is introduced to the slightly obsessive secretary Mma Grace Makutsi who is very proud of her 97% grade in the Secretarial College of Botswana, and J.L.B. Matekoni, Mma Ramotswe’s mechanic and future husband.

Right now the series consists of 10 books. Through the whole series the reader follows Mma Ramotswe as she tries to overcome the grief of losing her child, breaks ties with an abusive husband, finds new love with J.L.B. Matekoni, and keeps the agency afloat. In the books she and her secretary, later on a associate detective, embark on all kinds of adventures as they try to investigate the case of a missing husband, the case of a whole family being poisoned by an unhappy cook, the case of a “dubious daddy,” and many more. The series takes its reader on a journey of philosophical thought, joy, laughter, and tears.

Alexander McCall Smith was born in Rhodesia, which is now known as Zimbabwe. He first came to Botswana, which is just over the border from Zimbabwe, in 1982. His job was “to advise the legal department of the University of Botswana on the drawing up of new legislation for this relatively young democracy (Botswana was created out of the Protectorate of Bechuanaland in 1966).”

The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency has been made into a TV series and was aired by HBO earlier this year. Because of Alexander McCall’s books, tourists have been coming to Botswana in search of the movie and book landmarks. I can tell you one thing: after reading all of the books I would like to visit Botswana as well!

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