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

#60 in my book challenge for the year. I was given this book (and its sequels) by a kind friend of mine when I was having postpartum trouble nearly two years ago. It continually got shuffled around and never made it onto my reading list till now. I can see why my friend sent it. True to its cover blurbs, it is a funny, touching, life-affirming book. Botswana itself is so carefully and lovingly described it is almost a character itself. But the main character, Ms. Precious Ramotswe, is a gem. She is honest, down-to-earth, and intelligent. I was thrilled to see her detective business succeed. This also was a good reality check book, with many reminders of what is and is not really important.

I had a few quibbles, though. First, the novel jumped around from story to story, often with little connection or continuity among her cases. Second, there was a little too much reverence for the simple life. The east/west dichotomy is not always so clear cut. Finally, I found the ending strained belief, though it was a relief. These concerns, though, are minor compared to the experience of the whole, which is overall quite worthy.

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