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Book: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

March 31, 2008

My best friend recommended this series, and since she always knows best, I thought I would check them out. 🙂

Seriously, though, I didn’t really expect to love it as much as I did. I don’t usually read mysteries (this is filed under Mystery at the library) and she said it was set in Africa, and I was sort of expecting turn-of-the-century South African white women running a quaint little detective agency for the expats.

However! I was wrong. It is set in Africa (Botswana, actually) and it is about a sweet little detective agency, but it’s run by a smart, down-to-earth African woman who wanted to start her own little business (complete with secretary, because how can you have a detective agency without a secretary? You would have to sit in the office all day! You couldn’t go shopping in the afternoon!). The mysteries are short and sweet for the most part, and the writing is simple but lively. I found it very comforting. A little drama, a little romance, but nothing to raise your blood pressure. The whole book: story, writing, plot, setting, characters — is very charming. I fell in love with it after the first chapter.

Interspersed with the cases she solves are snippets of life in Botswana, the people and the culture, how they make a living, their values. I felt myself wanting to live there and sit on my front porch in the heat of the afternoon and watch my cows and listen for lions in the distance, and stew my pumpkin for dinner.

This was a very fast read, I started it at around 3 in the afternoon and had it finished by 11 pm, even after a big long break for baking, dinner-making, and studying.

I think there are 9 of these books and I look forward to reading them one by one, perhaps doled out as treats after I finish something meatier.

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