Fiction – paperback; Abacus; 256 pages; 2003.
This book and the others in Alexander McCall Smith’s charming series seem to be flavour of the month right now.
The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is certainly an intriguing and quaint book. The central character, Mma Ramotswe, is utterly lovely and especially kind-hearted and the setting of rural Botswana is wonderfully realised.
That’s the good bit.
The bad bit, as far as I’m concerned, is the writing (which is far too simplistic for readers like me who enjoy being challenged) and the plot (which doesn’t exist).
Each self-contained chapter reads like a series of short stories or anecdotes, which is fine if that’s what you like reading, but I found myself becoming bored with this book very quickly. I also struggled to appreciate the stripped back prose which is childlike in its simplicity.
I think this book would appeal to those who don’t read very often or to those over-tired readers who want something they can cruise through with their brain disengaged.
A pleasant enough read, but I won’t be bothering with the rest of the titles in the series.