I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (modern fiction) - Yes, the title of the book has the word "detective" in it and the main character is a detective, but this is not your typical detective book. The main character, Precious Ramotswe, is female, self-admittedly very fat, and has no detective training whatsoever. She lives in Botswana and drives a tiny white van (three words which you will hear about 50 times). She just decides to open up a detective business and does it. Throughout the book she is referred to as "Mma Ramotswe," which apparently is some form of title similar to Miss or Madam or Mrs. and is pronounced "Ma."
Anyway, Mma Ramotswe solves probably six or seven mysteries throughout the book. They are all fairly simple problems like following a possible cheating husband or figuring out why a doctor seems to be behaving strangely. She solves these problems with nothing more than a good heart, common sense and some very creative lying. Yes, lying. She drives around in that tiny white van following people, then comes up with some pretty good whoppers to convince them to tell her what she needs to know so she can solve her case. And she always does.
The book is very easy listening. You're not going to get anxious or sad, and your mind can wonder a bit and you won't lose your place. That's not to say it's boring. It's well written with nice descriptions of African landscape and villages. It's just easy, entertaining and a nice little escape to Africa!
PERFORMANCE - Ms. Lecat has a lovely voice. I don't know if her accent is authentic African, but it convinced me. She also performs some nice male characters, one with a convincing Indian accent as well. Sometimes I could kind of her her lips opening and closing which was a little distracting, but she did a great job overall.
OVERALL - Very clean book with no sex, cursing or violence. I think it would appeal mostly to adult females, but I suppose guys and teenagers could also find it enjoyable. This is Book 1 of the series, so there is more character development and family history than I would expect in later books. The story can stand alone.
Ms Lecat makes the characters jump off the audio page with her artful vocal interpretations. Listening to the stories unfold with the mystery at the end excitingly and movingly told by author is something not to be missed. If you have heart you will thoroughly enjoy this.
I could not believe how much of the country's flavor I was able to feel. Each country and their people are so interesting to me and this book invited me to a land that I will probably never visit. I saw real people and not just characters in a book. I will definately try another in the series.
but seriously grows on you. There is so much turmoil in Africa it is surprising to think that in some places life is "normal". Different from us of course but just "life". I don't know how accurate the account of everyday life in this book is but it was comforting to think it was real. Oh, the mystery parts were good too!
I read like a madwoman all my life but now I have bad eyes. Thank goodness for audio books
Just the right amount of drama and funny interjections. I love Ma Romotswe's point of view of the universe and her world. I have listened to all of these tales and keep listening to them again every year of so.
I am so pleased to have been introduced to this series through audible. I had heard vaguely about the series and the title intrigued me so I tried a listen. I'm preparing to now hear the 3rd book in the series as it has captivated. The story lines are good, if not profound, the ongoing relationships are welcoming and real, the narration is excellent, and the insight into Botswana and Africa and contrasts with the "West." is refreshing. Get it! You will not be disappointed. I've since sent copies of the hardcopy books to friends in Africa.
I avoided this book for a long time but finally decided to try it. It is one of those stories you cannot get enough of. I did not read the book but I think that the narrator Lisette Lecat added tremendously to the delight of the story.
Love to read. Mysteries, history, romance, biography, current events, science, classic fiction. No vampires. No zombies. No self-help. Find me on GoodReads and BookLikes.
I can't believe that I haven't written a review of this book!! I've ready the whole series already. I love Mma. Ramotswe. I love how she takes me to quieter and more gentle place. I was hooked the minute I started listening.
Here's what I say. This is one series of books that is absolutely brought to life when read out loud by Lisette Lecat. If I were to read this book in print, the voices would all have my distinctly 'American television' sound and, in spite of being set in Botswana, there would be no feel of Botswana in the read. If you have picked up the books and put them down unimpressed, try listening to them. You will have a completely different experience when you listen to them.
I'll say up front that this wasn't a terrible book, but it was certainly a puzzling one. I think it has a certain appeal to it, but I wouldn't consider it to be a "must read". In fact, I think you should probably understand the nature of this book a little better before you buy it, because if you expect it to be something other than what it is you're bound to be disappointed.
One thing this book is most decidedly *not* is a good detective story. Every single case in this book is completely straightforward. There are absolutely no red herrings, surprise twists, clever maneuvers, or brilliant feats of deduction. All that ever happens is that Ramotswe gets a case, she makes some inquiries, figures out the truth, and solves the case.
She's apparently smart and hard working, but a little amateurish - she gets caught twice while she's tailing a suspect, and at one point is even outsmarted by a teenage girl. The last case, the one revolving around the missing boy, was particularly silly since the clue that lead her to the conclusion turned out to have nothing to do with the boy whatsoever.
The story starts out by talking a little bit about Ramotswe and her father and the situation that lead to her opening the detective agency. Then it narrates a certain case that she took up regarding a question of identity. After that, the book takes a puzzling turn and starts narrating the life story of Ramotswe father. Then that leads into the life story of Ramotswe herself. This goes on for quite some time.
This part of the story wasn't completely uninteresting, but it did really throw me for a loop. I wasn't expecting something like that in a book that was supposed to be about a ladies' detective agency.
After this the book settles down to narrate how Ramotswe set up her business, gets her first case, and how she builds her business through time.
In spite of what some other people have said, this book is not character driven. The characters, for the most part, are completely flat and uninteresting. There's a little bit of depth to Ramotswe which comes from some of the things she went through as narrated in her life story, but during the rest of the book she experiences almost no character development. I think there may be some character development at the very end, which I won't reveal except to say that she changes her mind about something. But if felt abrupt, like it just suddenly happened without anything leading into it.
What this book is, is a story about Botswana. Ramotswe is just there to be the eyes through which to observe the story of this land and culture. Her detective agency is the vehicle that moves the story along by allowing her to interact with all different sorts of people who make up Botswana society. It's a story about understanding life in this foreign country through the concerns of the people who visit Ramotswe to ask for her help.
I think there's a ring of authenticity to the account, though I'd have to ask a Botswanan to be certain. The author isn't a native of Botswana, though he did live there for some years. Whether the story would sound authentic to a native's ears I cannot say, but it's certainly an interesting impression of the land and culture from somebody who has actually been there.
If you're expecting a riveting detective novel, an intricate plot, or a cast of memorable characters, you're bound to be disappointed with this book. Don't buy it. But if you want to hear an interesting story about the life and times of the people of Botswana, then I think you'll get a good deal of enjoyment out of this book, and you certainly *should* buy it. It's easy to see that the book has a dedicated following of readers who've enjoyed it tremendously.
Just know what you're getting into, and don't expect more from the book than it offers.
I prefer a series for traveling; one that is fun, entertaining, and clever to the point of distraction.
I didn't know what to expect from this author. I was just hoping for a story/series that would be something similar to Sherlock, Sookie Stackhouse, or even Stephanie Plum; something that would serve to entertain, cleanse. and distract my mind during my work travels. It was exactly that. What wonderfully original and captivating stories! AMSmith has the ability to bring the reader right into the story, which is an important technique when the reading audience might not be so familiar with the culture of Botswana. He made me feel as if I were newly immersed in Botswana, gently and thoughtfully situated into a comfortable spot for observation, safe from the black Mamba, the equatorial heat, and the rancid drinking water. I didn't want to miss a single word of the story. During the day, I would listen to the audiobook and at bedtime, I watched the HBO TV series of the same name and it rounded out my reading experience in a way that I never dreamed possible. The series has been great for discussion with others who have read these books too. My most memorable quote from the book: " Talking about pumpkins doesn't make them grow." There is something that should be mentioned though. My daughter read the paper version of the stories and found the pronunciation of the African names to be a stumbling block and after reviewing the print copy, I agreed that it would have been the same for me. I whole-heartedly recommend the audiobook version for this series of books.