2 Oct 2018


An honorary overseas member of the Arkansas Book Club (hello ladies) of which Kelly over at at Kelly's Thought's & Ramblings is also an member, I'm delighted to be able to join them in their get together tonight with my review of the book for which Alexander McCall Smith is perhaps best known. 

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #1)

Meet Mma Ramotswe, the endearing, engaging, simply irresistible proprietress of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, the first and only detective agency in Botswana. With persistent observation, gentle intuition, and a keen desire to help people with the problems of their lives, she solves mysteries great and small for friends and strangers alike.
- GoodReads Blurb

SOURCE ... A library book. (Apologies, Doh! I returned the book before making note of either the First Sentence or my Memorable moment. TT)


MY THOUGHTS ... Whilst I have dipped into the series over the years (though not since I started Pen and Paper), I had yet to read this, the first book, in the series. Would I change my mind having begun at the beginning? 

Do you know its funny but what actually brought the books (and in particular the characters) to life for me was actually NOT the reading of this book but two recent Radio 4 dramatisations.* But I digress ...

{Sighs} An OK read, I guess I'm just a little bit disappointed that I can't get into this series (or indeed this author's other books) in the way that all my friends seem to.

Ironic when its probably the very thing that makes the series so easy to dip in and out of BUT perhaps the main problem for me is that this reads less like a novel and more likely a series of incidents. A series of 'mysteries' (I use the term loosely) to be solved; mysteries that alas, with little common thread to hold them together and, having been resolved more by chance than any real detective work, over all too quickly, I found unsatisfying.  

But what of the characters?

Mmm! I find myself vying between finding Mma Ramotswe quite the feminist AND a bit of a cliche.{Sharp intake of breath} Dare I suggest I found the writing of her a bit, well, patronising? 

Convinced more than ever that this isn't a series for me, there just isn't enough to get my teeth into so to speak.

* Where/whilst available listen to here and here .


Kelly said...

Ah... well as you know, this is a series we disagree on since I love it - and perhaps in many ways for the exact reasons you don't!

That's okay. I think it's good to have differing opinions for discussion and I will share yours when we meet later this evening. At least you gave it a shot.

No review at my blog this time since I read this first book so many years ago.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

Thanks for sharing, Tracy. I still haven't tried this author but I know the series is quite popular. Maybe someday.

Suko said...

Tracy, I love this series and have read many of the books. I've also enjoyed the movie versions very much. But thanks for sharing your opinions. I'm glad you gave the book a chance.

Brian Joseph said...

As I have mentioned before I tend to not like cliches. If the protagonist embodies them it can be a problem.

Heather said...

Unlike you, I do enjoy this series. It is so different from many books I read making it refreshing. What I really enjoy is her tea breaks. Made we want to try the red bush tea (rooibos) which I have found is an acquired taste. Took me quite a while to learn to like it and now it's a favourite type of tea.

nightwingsraven said...

Thank you for your honest and
excellent review. Besides Kelly's
reviews of several installments of
this series, I truly appreciate to
hear a different opinion(s). Even
though keeping your objections in
mind I will keep the first part on
my list.