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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Audiobook

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Mma "Precious" Ramotswe sets up a detective agency in Botswana on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, making her the only female detective in the country. At first, cases are hard to come by. But eventually, troubled people come to Precious with a variety of concerns. Potentially philandering husbands, seemingly schizophrenic doctors, and a missing boy who may have been killed by witch doctors all compel Precious to roam about in her tiny van, searching for clues.
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Publisher's Summary

This remarkably fresh and charming best seller took the world by storm upon its publication. It has since earned two Booker Judges' Special Recommendations and was voted one of the "International Books of the Year and the Millennium" by the Times Literary Supplement.

Mma "Precious" Ramotswe sets up a detective agency in Botswana on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, making her the only female detective in the country. At first, cases are hard to come by. But eventually, troubled people come to Precious with a variety of concerns. Potentially philandering husbands, seemingly schizophrenic doctors, and a missing boy who may have been killed by witch doctors all compel Precious to roam about in her tiny van, searching for clues.

Chosen as a Top Ten Mystery by the Organization of Independent Booksellers, U.S.A., The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is that rare novel that imparts a sage wisdom while inspiring hearty laughter and lasting smiles.

Listen to the other titles in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.

©1998 Alexander McCall Smith; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

  • Book Sense Book of the Year Award Finalist, Paperback, 2003
  • Edgar Allan Poe Award Winner, Best First Novel by an American Author, 1998

"One of the most entrancing literary treats of many a year...A tapestry of extraordinary nuance and richness." (Wall Street Journal)
"An artful, pleasing novel...General audiences will welcome this little gem of a book just as much if not more than mystery readers." (Publishers Weekly)
"Smart and sassy...Precious' progress is charted in passages that have the power to amuse or shock or touch the heart, sometimes all at once." (Los Angeles Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (3221 )
5 star
 (1351)
4 star
 (922)
3 star
 (527)
2 star
 (234)
1 star
 (187)
Overall
4.0 (1690 )
5 star
 (751)
4 star
 (475)
3 star
 (290)
2 star
 (98)
1 star
 (76)
Story
4.3 (1682 )
5 star
 (971)
4 star
 (408)
3 star
 (187)
2 star
 (58)
1 star
 (58)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    JAK in Oregon 10-13-04 Listener Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Unabridged)"

    Delightful book. It was very unusual and refreshing. I'm amazed that this wasn't written by a women. Great read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lenny S 09-30-04
    Lenny S 09-30-04 Member Since 2006
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    "One of the best listens ever"

    A wonderful story beautifully read. That's as good as it gets. I just downloaded the next book and plan to listen to them all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brianna Portland, OR, USA 09-11-04
    Brianna Portland, OR, USA 09-11-04 Member Since 2004
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    261
    2
    Overall
    "A delight"

    A pure and simple delight. You can't go wrong with this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CYNTHIA L SPANNUTH PITTSBURGH, PA United States 08-18-04
    CYNTHIA L SPANNUTH PITTSBURGH, PA United States 08-18-04 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    70
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    432
    26
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    "A Book To Quiet Anyone's Beast"

    A gentle story about a gentle woman. A woman who does not make personal judgments but understands human faults and sometimes overlooks but most often forgives. This is not a narration but a painting. The descriptions of the characters and Botswana are so vivid you swear you met these people and been to these places. Very nice read. Sweet ending.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Scottsdale, AZ, USA 07-02-04
    George Scottsdale, AZ, USA 07-02-04 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Wonderful Story"

    I normally read non-fiction; but I really enjoyed this. I highly recommend it. I'll probably listen to others in this series (after I tackle some more history!)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Herve Bronnimann 06-25-04 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    343
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    145
    21
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Pleasant and well-done social commentary of Africa"

    This is the story of a woman who takes up her own life and decides to do what she always liked to do: find out about people and help them learn the truth about themselves. The author clearly loves Africa and the book was like a window on a different world. The social commentary especially was very well done, I thought. It's a piece of "light" literature that is not only very pleasant to listen to, but nicely sectioned into a few inside stories. It was an easy book to put aside and return to, if you can choose the breaks. (I couln't always in the subway and it took a little while to get back into the current story, however.) It didn't leave a lasting impression like other books, which is also nice in a way, not to be haunted. And yet, it was very pleasant to read and I'll read another book by Alexander McCall Smith as soon as I have another credit free.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claudene Henderson, NV, USA 01-20-04
    Claudene Henderson, NV, USA 01-20-04
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    "A great read...listen?"

    This is one of the best novels I have listened to in the 2 years of my membership. I would most definitely recommend this for all the armchair travellers that will never see the country, land and people in this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dianne Boston, MA, USA 11-16-08
    Dianne Boston, MA, USA 11-16-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Guilty listening does not equal guilty pleasure"

    I feel quite awful to admit to this, but I could not even finish listening. There did not seem to be any sort of continuity between the chapters. I feel the author gave little for the listener/reader to make the main character someone we felt compelled to follow. I found myself listening only to hope it would get better, when it didn't i began to listen out of determination to complete the journey. When I began to see this was not a journey but more a disjointed collection of stories I started to listen by guilt very shortly after which I needed to give up. Maybe it's a better read than listen.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K VANCOUVER, WA, United States 07-08-08
    K VANCOUVER, WA, United States 07-08-08 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    49
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    69
    32
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Yawn!"

    I listened to this book based on the good reviews, but now have to wonder what book the others listened to!

    What little story there was was broken up into little almost vignettes that were ridiculously simplistic and seemingly child composed. But before you could even get to these little stories, you had to get past the amazingly annoying accents (although the general non-character narration voice was superb) and something like 90 minutes of backstory and nothingness.
    And what, exactly, was the story? I never really found it. Lady opens detective agency. Lady gets cases. That's it. The one mystery that I assume was the "through story", the major case, doesn't even get going until the last hour of the reading.

    This was a waste of a purchase credit, and I will NOT be purchasing any more from this series. One star is all I can muter for this borefest.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mary j aboughadareh 06-23-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    204
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    364
    93
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    12
    0
    Overall
    "Not engaging"

    I was hoping for a good series, but this one isn't going to do it for me. It was like a book of short stories. The "cases" she had were not intriging or mysterious. There wasn't much to do about the culture or history of the region. It was just boring.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful

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