Indiana University Northwest  


red line
Reading in the Region: One Book, One Campus 2010
Search IU Northwest Library

Join us in reading No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency


The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency located in Gaborone, Botswana, consists of one woman, the engaging Precious Ramotswe. A cross between Kinsey Millhone and Miss Marple, this unlikely heroine specializes in missing husbands, wayward daughters, con men and imposters.  When Precious Ramotswe sets out on the trail of a missing child she is tumbled headlong into some strange situations and not a little danger. Deftly interweaving tragedy and humor to create a memorable tale of human desires and foibles, the book is also an evocative portrait of a distant world. (From the publisher.)
Wayward daughters. Missing Husbands. Philandering partners. Curious conmen. If you've got a problem, and no one else can help you, then pay a visit to Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's only - and finest - female private detective.  Her methods may not be conventional, and her manner not exactly Miss Marple, but she's got warmth, wit and canny intuition on her side, not to mention Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, the charming proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. And Precious is going to need them all as she sets out on the trail of a missing child, a case that tumbles our heroine into a hotbed of strange situations and more than a little danger . . . (From the author’s website.)
In 2008 the book, and series, was adapted as an HBO film series, starring Jill Scott as Precious Ramotswe. 

Copies of No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency will soon be available for purchase in the IU Northwest campus Bookstore and for checkout in the IU Northwest Library (PR 6063 . C326 N6 2002).
Two discussion sessions open to everyone in the IU Northwest community will be held in the Library Conference Center Room during the Fall 2010 semester (dates and locations to be announced later).  Refreshments will be provided.

Thank you to the members of the selection committee:
Tim Sutherland, Pat Buckler, Cynthia O'Dell, Ana Osan, Anne Balay, Richard Hug, M. Thandabantu Iverson, Anna Rominger, Doug Swartz, Miriam Williams, and Susan Zinner.
While deliberating on which One Campus One Book book to select, the selection committee nominated the following titles, all of which will also be available in the IU Northwest Library for checkout in the near future:

  • Cradle (Somerville) – 224 pgs.
  • Devil’s Highway (Urrea) – 272 pgs.
  • House on Mango Street (Cisneros) – 110 pgs.
  • Hour I First Believed (Lamb) – 768 pgs.
  • Long Way Gone (Beah) – 240 pgs.
  • Lovely Bones (Siebold) – 368 pgs.
  • Mother’s Poems (Mistral) – 39 pgs.
  • My Sister’s Keeper (Picoult) – 448 pgs.
  • Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency (Smith) – 235 pgs.
  • Push or Precious (Sapphire) – 192 pgs.
  • Soul of a Citizen (Loeb) – 400 pgs.
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (See) – 288 pgs.
  • Water for Elephants (Gruen) – 335 pgs.
  • We Need to Talk about Kevin (Shriver) – 400 pgs.
  • Woman Hollering Creek (Cisneros) – 165 pgs.

So for a full summer of reading start with No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and then continue with these additional excellent titles listed above.

Have a great read!

Please direct questions to Tim Sutherland or 980-6946.

Sponsored by
the Office of Academic Affairs,
the IU Northwest Library,
the English Department.


Editorial Review:

Publishers Weekly
The African-born author of more than 50 books, from children's stories (The Perfect Hamburger) to scholarly works (Forensic Aspects of Sleep), turns his talents to detection in this artful, pleasing novel about Mma (aka Precious) Ramotswe, Botswana's one and only lady private detective. A series of vignettes linked to the establishment and growth of Mma Ramotswe's "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" serve not only to entertain but to explore conditions in Botswana in a way that is both penetrating and light thanks to Smith's deft touch. Mma Ramotswe's cases come slowly and hesitantly at first: women who suspect their husbands are cheating on them; a father worried that his daughter is sneaking off to see a boy; a missing child who may have been killed by witchdoctors to make medicine; a doctor who sometimes seems highly competent and sometimes seems to know almost nothing about medicine. The desultory pace is fine, since she has only a detective manual, the frequently cited example of Agatha Christie and her instincts to guide her. Mma Ramotswe's love of Africa, her wisdom and humor, shine through these pages as she shines her own light on the problems that vex her clients. Images of this large woman driving her tiny white van or sharing a cup of bush tea with a friend or client while working a case linger pleasantly. General audiences will welcome this little gem of a book just as much if not more than mystery readers.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Related Readings and Websites: