Sunday, July 08, 2007

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency


"It occurred to Mma Ramotswe that such behaviour was no more than ignorance; an inability to understand the hopes and aspirations of others. That understanding, thought Mma Ramotswe, was the beginning of all morality. If you knew how a person was feeling, if you could imagine yourself in her position, then surely it would be impossible to inflict further pain. Inflicting pain in such circumstances would be like hurting oneself."
-Alexander McCall Smith
Morality For Beautiful Girls

So, I haven't finished many books recently, and I forgot that I am supposed to be writing about the ones that I do. Last year sometime (or was it two years ago?), I read The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency for a book club meeting that I never went to. The book was actually pretty entertaining. At the time I read the book, I was only aware of one other book by the same author with the same characters, etc. Now, I guess there are seven in the "series", and since I have been in Hawaii, I have read three of them - one that Cher brought with her and two because they happened to be the most easily accessible thing I could think of while I was chasing Owen down and trying to keep him reasonably quiet at the local library. So, that makes four:
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
Morality for Beautiful Girls
The Kalahari Typing School for Men
The Full Cupboard of Life
These are listed in the order they were written, however it does skip one, and I didn't read them in this order anyway. The books are written, like most good series books, so that each story is all-inclusive, but linked with the others. I also didn't read any of these books because I saw them and thought they looked interesting, but was easily entertained by each of them -entertained enough that I couldn't put them down (except for the occasional diaper change and meal).
As a basic overview, the stories are about Precious Ramotswe, a traditionally built woman raised in Botswana, Africa, who opens Botswana's first and only detective agency. Each book (so far) introduces new cases for her detective agency, as well as following more personal events in an Africa that has and is evolving so drastically to meet a more modern world.
I love the prose in these stories (is that right?). It is poetic in a way and gives me an even better appreciation for literature. I love it. And, I don't know if this is the prose or what, but these books make me want to visit Botswana. I think it's a pretty current setting, but it could be forty years ago. Either way, I want to go. Anyone want to come? Maybe read the books and then let me know.
So, for entertainment, I give it two thumbs up. Unless of course, you have something else you want to get done.

1 comment:

Baldwin Family said...

I'm intrigued. I'm rereading the unromantic Harry Potter series and that has occuppied all ten minutes of my time these days. Once I'm done, I think I'll give these books a try. Thanks for the suggestion. You're missed greatly, by the way!