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The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
First published by Polygon, 1998
This edition published by Abacus, 2003

Precious Ramotswe sets up the first Ladies’ Detective Agency in Botswana with
money left to her after her father’s death. Drawn to her profession to ‘help people with problems in their lives’, she solves crimes through an innate, self-possessed wisdom combined with a profound understanding of human nature. Described as ‘The Miss Marple of Botswana’, her mysteries aren’t the standard stuff of detective novels. Wayward daughters, missing husbands, conmen and fraudsters are her usual cases but it is the case of a missing child, whom she suspects has fallen victim to witch doctors, which proves her biggest challenge.

McCall Smith said that he hopes that his readers will see in these portrayals of Botswana some of the great traditional virtues in Africa—in particular, courtesy and a striking natural dignity. This book, containing gentle fables of everyday African life, vividly portrays these qualities in addition to providing an entertaining and easy read.

’This is a superior piece of detective fiction, written in simple, direct but effective prose. Perhaps most importantly, this novel offers a refreshingly positive picture of an African nation - and probably deserves a wide audience in the West on those grounds alone’ Edinburgh Review

‘The most entertaining read of the year.’ The Guardian (London)

‘I haven’t read anything with such unalloyed pleasure for a long time’ Sunday Telegraph

Since its first publication in 1998 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency has received two Booker Judges' Special Recommendations and was voted one of the International Books of the Year and the Millennium by the Times Literary Supplement. Over six million copies of his No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series have been sold and his books have also been translated into over 30 languages.

Alexander McCall Smith grew up in Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia, before moving to Scotland to study. He was a law professor at the University of Botswana. McCall Smith has written more than fifty books, including specialist academic titles, short story collections and a number of children’s books.

The other titles in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series are:
Tears of the Giraffe
Morality for Beautiful Girls
The Kalahari Typing School for Men
The Full Cupboard of Life
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies

The Sunday Philosophy Club is the first instalment in a new detective series starring Scottish-American philosopher Isabel Dalhousie.

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