Wednesday, April 18, 2007

#1 Ladies Detective Agency Series - New Book!!!

All evidence to the contrary, I do read books. When I was living in Africa and the years after, I would average a book every 5-6 days. While that is no longer the case, I can still finish a good book very fast. One of the best series I've ever read is the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and it's subsequent books. Alexander McCall Smith has several series going at the same time, grew up in Zimbabwe, and spends time in both Scotland and Botswana where he was a medical law professor. The style of writing is nothing like anything I've read before - it's simple, and, in my opinion, reflects the cadence of speech and life in Botswana. There are cultural niceties that are observed all the way through the book, from politely addressing all women as Mma (pronounced - "mmm-ah") and men as Rra, a form of "ma'am and sir" but nothing to do with being single or married. There is much discussion of the simple acts of observing human nature to solve mysteries. I've heard the books do not come across well as audiobooks, which I imagine is due to the person reading, and not the book itself. If you've got the time, they are a quick read, and do not need to be read in any order. The titles themselves show the quirky, happy, simple storytelling attitude these books have. The current offering - The Good Husband of Zebra Drive is awaiting my attention. A note for reading - don't let the strange names put you off (I didn't read "A Year in Provence" for ages because I couldn't get around the french phrases). Just pronounce every letter in every word, often rolling m's or n's into the next letter, as described in Mma. The other titles of the books include Tears of the Giraffe, Morality for Beautiful Girls, The Kalahari Typing School for Men, and Blue Shoes and Happiness.


Cat said...

Why is it called the #1 Ladies Detective? Does the detective serve ladies or are the detectives themselves ladies?

Jess said...

It's actually the #1 Ladies Detective Agency. It's started by and run by a woman in Botswana. She sets it up to do detection for anyone who needs it and it starts out as mostly women, but all sorts of people ask for help. Mostly domestic issues - missing people, cheating spouses, gold-digging's great.