It is hard not to fall in love with Mma Ramotswe, the detective behind The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. I cannot remember the last time I had so much fun as reading her adventures in solving the domestic problems of the citizens of Botswana. I was hooked from the very first page and totally fell in love with Ramotswe, the people she works with and whole African environment the story is set in. I had only read books that either peddle the poverty or war porn or romanticize the tribal life of the continent. So, it was heartwarming to see semi-urban lives of Africans dealing with everyday problems like theft, cheating and infidelity.
Author Alexander McCall Smith has created a popular series around Ramotswe and it is not hard to see why. This lady detective has a heart of gold, but also a strong will and a sharp wit. Her investigations of quaint cases takes her driving across the Kalahari in her rickety white van meeting people of various classes and colors. These petty problems and the people are incredibly multi-faceted, often humorous and reminded me of an innocent time and place years ago.
This book is easy, fast and pleasing to read. I was reminded of the people and settings of RK Narayan and the inquisitive eye of Sherlock Holmes now and then. A good book like this wraps around you and carries you up and away to its world. I look forward to reading more of the idyllic quests of Mma Ramotswe and to getting my hands on some of the redbush tea she seems to drink all the time!