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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency   by Alexander McColl Smith

Read: 2004-01-08 Reviewed: 2004-03-11
Re-read factor:
What a refreshment! This is one of only two books (currently) on my bookshelf which is written in deliberately simple english (at least I think it is deliberate!)

A woman living in Botswana throws all caution to the wind, spends an inheritance on a shed and a secretary and sets up as the one and only lady detective in the country. At first nothing happens, then mundane domestic cases (with surprising resolutions) come forward, and in the background lurks an on-going investigation into the abduction of a child, which eventually casts the lady into a very heroic light.

One gets a real sense of the life and aspirations of Botswanans, and a feel for Africa which can only otherwise be gained by going there.

It is funny and serious and trivial and important all at the same time; the pages are coated in naivete so thick it drips off around the edges! Apart from the bit about pulling a crocodile apart to find an ex-husband's watch inside, it is totally earthy and believeable. It is perhaps the only book in my collection that my mum would like as much as I do.

I'll definitely be reading more of the series of books that this one has started.

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