The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (novel)
||This article is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (December 2007)|
- This is an article about the book. For the television series by the same title, see The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (TV series)
|The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency|
|Author||Alexander McCall Smith|
|Series||The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series|
|Genre||Detective, Mystery novel|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Followed by||Tears Of The Giraffe|
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is the first of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series of novels by Alexander McCall Smith, set in Gaborone, Botswana, and featuring the Motswana protagonist Precious Ramotswe. Part of the novel's plot is based on the murder of Segametsi Mogomotsi in 1994, a ritual killing in Mochudi.
Mma Precious Ramotswe becomes a private detective, the first woman in Botswana to enter that profession, and opens an agency whose name indicates this unique situation. Motivated to help others and to make Botswana a better place, she encounters many dangerous and risky obstacles in the course of her investigations but succeeds through using her intelligence, courage and instinct. Along with the plot developments, Mma Ramotswe provides observations upon the qualities of Botswana and Africa: the culture, traditions, and natural beauties found there, and the inhabitants' pride in their land.
In the second chapter, the author states, through Obed’s character, that Precious’ father is proud to be a Motswana because of Botswana's political stability. Alexander McCall Smith describes Mma Ramotswe as an African patriot, who loves Africa "for all its trials." He says that they never had political prisoners, that their banks are full of money and that they owe nothing.
- Mma Precious Ramotswe (Detective in the Detective Agency)
- Mma Grace Makutsi (Secretary)
- Mr J.L.B Matekoni (Precious' Eventual 2nd Husband)
- Mr Patel (Very rich retired businessman)
- Obed Ramotswe (Daddy)
- Note Mokoti (Precious' Ex-Husband)
- Dr Maketsi (Old Friend from Mochudi)
Mma Ramotswe portrays a person whose character intertwines modern views and traditions of Africa. Many of her views are reflected in the course of the novel. Family life is an extremely important part of this nation's culture and tradition. “She would buy a house, or build one perhaps, and ask some of her cousins to live with her. They would grow melons on the lands and might even buy a small shop in the village...” Through descriptions of the scenes and influences in the novel, the author shows a clearer picture of the modern views as well as the traditional views of Botswana and Africa in general. Mma Ramotswe loves her country and its people. It is often seen in the book that she will make references to her country's identity and her pride about being from Botswana.
However, Alexander McCall Smith does not hide the fact that Africa is home to many dangerous and some of the most feared creatures. In fact he describes the snakes and the crocodiles with great emotion and drama. For example, in the case of the missing husband who had been eaten by a crocodile, the author describes how dangerous Africa can be. There are also many incidents where snakes and their intrusive and sneaky ways are mentioned. The author shows these images of Africa and sets a certain setting to all of these incidents to say that even if this continent might be dangerous and wild at times, it is nonetheless unique and majestic. Africa is also portrayed by the numerous animals and wild creatures who live there. These animals are described by the author with much passion. He shows how dangerous yet loved and respected they are. For example the cattle in Africa are portrayed with great importance. The author even shows us that they are an important currency for the economy - the more cattle you own, the more power you have.
Film, television, and theatrical adaptations
An adaptation for the screen The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency was made in 2007, directed by Anthony Minghella (who also co-wrote the screenplay), and scripted by Richard Curtis. A movie for TV was made jointly by the BBC, HBO and some other production companies. It was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC1 television on Easter Sunday 23 March 2008".
- The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency - The TV Series, A book & film review