One of the most entrancing literary treats of many a year.... A tapestry of extraordinary nuance and richness.
Wall Street Journal
Smart and sassy...Precious’ progress is charted in passages that have the power to amuse or shock or touch the heart, sometimes all at once.
Los Angeles Times
Characters…who are as familiar as neighbors and as welcome as the best of friends.
The African-born author of more than 50 books, from children's stories (The Perfect Hamburger) to scholarly works (Forensic Aspects of Sleep), turns his talents to detection in this artful, pleasing novel about Mma (aka Precious) Ramotswe, Botswana's one and only lady private detective. A series of vignettes linked to the establishment and growth of Mma Ramotswe's "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" serve not only to entertain but to explore conditions in Botswana in a way that is both penetrating and light thanks to Smith's deft touch. Mma Ramotswe's cases come slowly and hesitantly at first: women who suspect their husbands are cheating on them; a father worried that his daughter is sneaking off to see a boy; a missing child who may have been killed by witchdoctors to make medicine; a doctor who sometimes seems highly competent and sometimes seems to know almost nothing about medicine. The desultory pace is fine, since she has only a detective manual, the frequently cited example of Agatha Christie and her instincts to guide her. Mma Ramotswe's love of Africa, her wisdom and humor, shine through these pages as she shines her own light on the problems that vex her clients. Images of this large woman driving her tiny white van or sharing a cup of bush tea with a friend or client while working a case linger pleasantly. General audiences will welcome this little gem of a book just as much if not more than mystery readers.
Botswana's only female detective, Precious Ramotswe—whose investigation of whether the father who's incontinently turned up on the doorstep of Happy Bapetsi, who's been getting along fine without him, is really her father edges her toward considerably darker waters—isn't just ready to confront everything from theft to kidnapping to murder: she's ready for prime time.
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