If you’ve never read an Alexander McCall Smith novel, this is a great time to start. You will love these delightful books if you enjoy humor with just a touch of mystery, charm, philosophy, as well as quirky characters and adventure. All of the books gently blend in ethics and moral obligation as characters deal with business in their day-to-day lives. McCall Smith is a prolific author who has written five series including the The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, Isabel Dalhousie, Corduroy Mansions, 44 Scotland Street and Portuguese Irregular Verbs. Perhaps the best known is The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency novels which are international bestsellers. If you are particularly fond of British humor, don’t miss the Corduroy Mansions or 44 Scotland Street Series. Each one is special in its own way. He has also written 40 children’s books, 14 nonfiction titles and his books are published in 45 languages.
The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency Series all began with Precious Ramotswe who started a detective agency to help people solve their problems. In fact, she is Botswana’s only female private detective. Precious is a strong female character who loves Africa with all of her heart. She has a strong sense of right and wrong, while also feeling compassion for others. She uses her powers of observation, patience, intelligence and caring to help her solve mysteries for friends and strangers in Botswana. Grace Makutsi is the agency’s secretary and Ramotswe’s assistant. Importantly, as the character often points out, she is a graduate of the Botswana Secretarial College with a score of 97% on her secretarial exam. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is a mechanic and owner of Tlokweng Speedy Motors. He is a kind, gentle and quiet man and eventually becomes Precious’ husband. As you read through the novels, you learn of the beauty of Africa and its people, particularly Botswana. Many of the descriptions of the African land are just beautiful. You will also learn about the culture and traditions in Africa which I found especially interesting. These books progress at a slower pace, but are filled with charm, humor and optimism. Most of the mysteries are light, while some of the books also touch on topics such as depression, abducted children and domestic violence. Never fear though, Precious deals with problems in her own special way. The latest book in the series is The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (published April 2012).
I began reading Alexander McCall Smith novels about two years ago and have not stopped. Once you begin reading these series, you definitely miss the characters and their adventures. They are just fun, enchanting novels, filled with heart, and perfect for summer reading. Drop by your local library soon to get started on some of McCall Smith’s charming series. You will be glad you met Precious Ramotswe and the gang. What a treat! Thank you Alexander McCall Smith!
No.1 Ladies Detective Agency Series Order:
Tears of the Giraffe (2000)
Morality for Beautiful Girls (2001)
The Full Cupboard of Life (2004)
Blue Shoes and Happiness (2006)
The Miracle at Speedy Motors (2008)
Corduroy Mansions Series Order:
The Dog Who Came In From The Cold
A Conspiracy of Friends