The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Audiobook | Alexander McCall Smith | Audible.com
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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency | [Alexander McCall Smith]

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 (2349 )
5 star
 (941)
4 star
 (666)
3 star
 (403)
2 star
 (183)
1 star
 (156)
Overall
4.0 (893 )
5 star
 (381)
4 star
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3 star
 (164)
2 star
 (50)
1 star
 (47)
Story
4.2 (892 )
5 star
 (496)
4 star
 (211)
3 star
 (111)
2 star
 (36)
1 star
 (38)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Robert cypress, TX, USA 08-14-06
    Robert cypress, TX, USA 08-14-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    96
    17
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    0
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    Overall
    "Too simple"

    The case work by the detective was just too simple to find interesting.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lynda NASHVILLE, TN, United States 02-16-11
    lynda NASHVILLE, TN, United States 02-16-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    51
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "yuk"

    did not get very far into listening to this book before i found myself drifting away--hard to understand the accent and just did not catch and hold my attention--

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louann Staten Island, NY, United States 12-04-07
    Louann Staten Island, NY, United States 12-04-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    "child like"

    This story seems to have been written by a child. One of the first cases involved a woman and "the daddy" meaning her supposed father. All characters are referred to by name or title at all times-no he, she, etc. even if it were in the same sentence. Each woman character was Mma with a different last name-very confusing. I turned it off after the first 10 minutes or so, and only put it back on when I was on a road trip and had nothing else to listen to. It did not get any better.

    4 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew HANOVER, PA, United States 11-04-13
    Matthew HANOVER, PA, United States 11-04-13 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bumbling Feminist Tripe"
    What disappointed you about The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency?

    Admittedly I didn't make it far into this book. It seemed to me that the author must be a very stuffy, posturing type for he had difficulty portraying a carefree African without making them simplistic and caricatures of a truly fully developed character. He labors at the simplest of tasks such as describing a beautiful African landscape. He insists on labeling his characters with Aliases in front of their proper names just so he can make sure you understand what type of character he intends you to see. In fact, most of the early chapters he bludgeons you with what he wants you to see in the characters and scene as if the reader is incapable of understanding the story at all.

    Furthermore, the story is rife with liberal feminism which shouldn't be surprising given the title but I was hopeful the usual, men are bumbling abusive idiots and women are insightful, gorgeous creatures diatribe would not be too thick. I was disgusted within the first 2 chapters and found the $3 I spent on the book to be an entire waste of $2.99.

    The narrator has a horrible way of overemphasizing the main character's name which ads to the pain of listening to this book. STAY CLEAR of it.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Alexander McCall Smith again?

    Definitely NOT


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Overemphasis of the main character's name.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency?

    Everything after "welcome to audible"


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sophielei Oconomowoc, Wisconsin 09-25-12
    Sophielei Oconomowoc, Wisconsin 09-25-12 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    241
    21
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I keep waiting for the detecting to start"

    I don't understand all the good ratings. I am totally bored with this book. The reader is good, but there is no mystery, no 'detecting'. If I had wanted just a fiction book about Africa this would be the one. But I wanted a mystery to solve.

    And to make matters worse for me, I purchased 3 of these series books before I listened to the first one. I don't make that mistake anymore.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Brenham, TX, United States 06-20-12
    Anne Brenham, TX, United States 06-20-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    156
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow"

    It took forever to get into thie book. The British accent and African story line were also tough. It is an oklay listen, but I have decided not to buy the whole series.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mynt Washington, DC 05-28-12
    Mynt Washington, DC 05-28-12 Member Since 2005

    Mynt

    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    80
    23
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointed, a bit formularic and at time clunky"

    After I heard so much about this series I was expecting a lot more. The writing could be formularic and clunky - I could predict outcomes chapters in advance. The best part was the personal history but the detective stories could use work.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SSMITTEE SEABECK,WASHINGTON 98380 04-15-11
    SSMITTEE SEABECK,WASHINGTON 98380 04-15-11 Member Since 2010

    Say something about myself! I'm 66 with poor vision and HANDICAPPED,I save all my actual reading for my bible. My pleasure is at AUDIBLE!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    220
    14
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    0
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "STARTS slow but then you become hooked"

    I started listening to this book 3 times for 5 or 10 mins It starts so slow. Then I got busy and couldnt turn it off and it is a good thing because I was hooked. It is an amazing simply wonderful book. I will listen to this one over and over again over the years to come. For me it is a classic, wonderful content, no profanity, hidden deep love, but not mushy. My grandchildren will love it. It is a book for ALL ages. I actually would rate this with 6 starts but there wasnt place for it. I am 66 and I know my 16 year old will love it is much as I did.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcus Amsterdam 04-14-11
    Marcus Amsterdam 04-14-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    9
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "Not my cup of tea"

    I've been waiting for hours for the "real story" to start, but it didn't get any better, so I quit listening after 4 hrs.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle United States 03-23-11
    Michelle United States 03-23-11 Member Since 2010

    amesiowa

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    47
    8
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "Narrator tick nearly ruins book....."

    I had to work really hard to get into this book. I found the narrator's consistent over-enunciation of the lead character's name: "Mma Ramotswe", was almost enough to make me give up. Imagine that every time the main character's name is said, and it is often (!), the narrator takes an audible deep breath and then give an exaggerated pronunciation. Over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over. Someone else said it was like tripping repeatedly on uneven tile, and I agree!

    That said, the book was enjoyable and aside from the complaint above, the narrator fine.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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