The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

ladiesI wouldn’t describe this as a novel, it is more like a series of tales that interconnect. At the same time the tales can be viewed as short chapters, because some of the threads are woven from the first to the last one.

It is quirky with a strong geographical and cultural vibe to it. Mma Ramotswe is the main character, and boy does she drive the story.

In the midst of all the witty repertoire, folklore infused messages of morality and general sense of humour, there are some serious topics too. I think McCall likes to slide them under innocent looking rocks, the type of rocks scorpions use to hide in the shade. When you move them or are in the close vicinity you just never know what might scuttle out and pinch you.

In a sense the author lulls the reader into a false sense of security. You get all comfortable, fuzzy and smile at jolly ol’ Mma Ramotswe, then bam you’re blind-sided by domestic violence. A slap to the head and you’re frozen by the kidnapping and murder of children for the use in witchcraft rituals. A joke here and a giggle there, and racism raises its nasty little head.

It is a very subtle way of introducing the reader to the complexities of the country and the intricacies of the power structures within the country. At the same time the reader gets a taste of the people and their traditional settings.

I liked it. It has a quirky charm to it.

Buy The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

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