Book Review: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith


Some books elude me. For ages. I had heard people raving about the series and couldn’t want to read. I have been on the lookout for it for a while now. And even after I got hold of it, it took ages before I started reading it.

I can only say that the book has been well worth the wait.

Mma ‘Precious’ Ramotswe, started the No. 1 ladies Detective Agency, out her inheritance that her beloved father left her. Her initial worries about not getting enough work is swept away as she is kept busy with tracking missing husbands, children, errant daughters, fake fathers. The works. Turns our that Mma Ramotswe is made for being a detective. Humane, yet firm, diligent, observant, logical and knowing how to get the system work for her, Mma Ramotswe soon has cases of all sorts. Some easy to solve, others more testing. Sometimes she ends up the fall guy despite just having followed her client’s instructions. As she solves each of the mysteries, we get to see more of her personality and get to know her better.

More than the actual story, it is the writing style that makes it so captivating. Precious Ramotswe is a wonderful character. With a story of her own, one that made her emerge stronger, Mma Ramostwe makes a wonderful protagonist. The characters are beautifully developed, and the mysteries are more incidental rather than the focus of the story. The focus of the story is definitely the delightful Mma Ramotswe and her life and her sometimes unorthodox methods of solving mysteries. If I had to use one word to desribe it, I would say ‘cozy’.

A book that comes so heavily recommended, it could have easily become a let down. Instead it was an absolute delight to read. An incredibly sweet book. I loved the way it is written. It had me smiling through the book. It made me miss reading the book when I was at work. I would barely stay away from the book. And when it ended, I wanted more. This is one series I definitely want to read through.

A wonderful book. One that I couldn’t have enough of. I would rate it 4/5.

About the Author
Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and he was a law professor at the University of Botswana. He lives in Scotland.

This book is available from Amazon(UK), and Flipkart(India).


29 thoughts on “Book Review: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

  1. Oh, I loved this one. Had hesitated many a time in the library and then saw IHM’s update in Goodreads and took the plunge πŸ™‚
    Today, I saw an excerpt from another book of his, ‘Trains and Lovers’. Now to get my hand on that πŸ™‚


  2. I soooooooo love this series.I have read all books from this series…
    do read other books of series too..Its must read for all book lovers..Its gives you kind of feeling that goodness still exist in our society.


  3. I love Alexander McCall Smith, its a bit of a guilty pleasure as his books are so easily readable and as you say “cozy”. I prefer the Isabel Dalhousie novels though, possibly because when I want lazy comfort reading a nice familiar setting is pleasant.


  4. I seem to be the only one who didn’t really enjoy this book. I loved the setting of the book and the language, but the story was too simplistic to really be gripping for me. 😦 I didn’t read the rest of the series. Maybe I should give the second book a try, seeing that so many people have loved the series!

    Recently, I read The Sunday Philosophy Club, the first book in the Isabel Dalhousie series, and quite liked it. It is a little less simplistic than this series. I think I will go ahead and read the rest of the books in that series too.

    I didn’t know Alexander McCall Smith has authored so many different series! Thanks for adding to my knowledge. The Portuguese Irregular Verbs series is new to me, and it does sound very interesting. Will look it up for sure.


    • i loved this book…. it was so refreshing … Try the Scotland Street series too…delightful:)
      @ the girl next door…. yes, the story was simple. The isabel Dalhousie series is also interesting… bur you will love the 44 scotland street series…….. about 7 books in the series…too good.


      • I read the first in the 44 Scotland Street series – and loved it! Actually even more, I just didn’t end up reviewing it πŸ™‚ Will try the Isabel Dalhousie series too. So many books to read, so little time πŸ™‚ Welcome here, intruguingblue, I love your name!


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