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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 (2515 )
5 star
 (1012)
4 star
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Overall
4.0 (1044 )
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1 star
 (56)
Story
4.2 (1044 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (123)
2 star
 (43)
1 star
 (43)
Performance
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  •  
    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
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    220
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    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
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "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
    56
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "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
  •  
    Mary Fairbanks, AK, USA 07-18-08
    Mary Fairbanks, AK, USA 07-18-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "I felt like I was right there!"

    The narrator really made this book enjoyable. Now, I want to hear more stories read by her.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    01-17-08
    01-17-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    443
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Tedious"

    This story drug on and on and on. I thought - Hey! this will be a great little mystery book, but instead she puts down each of her clients saying that because she was a woman she could figure everything out. Irritating!!! It started with the crocodile seen and went on til the very end, one tedious plot after the next. After I read this I found out that my sister wasn't able to finish it and I asked her why she hadn't warned me!

    3 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Lake Worth, TX, USA 04-23-09
    Susan Lake Worth, TX, USA 04-23-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Not a good read"

    This story seems to have gained popularity, as I see it has been made into a TV series. But honestly, I'm not sure how anyone ever made it through the book. I found the plot absolutely dull and too convoluted to follow. I do not recommend this book.

    3 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rhonda HOPKINTON, MA, United States 01-30-09
    rhonda HOPKINTON, MA, United States 01-30-09 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    46
    12
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Not What I expected"

    Story was too simple, and the ending was kind of stupid. The naration was tedious, and sometimes annoying. Waste of time.

    3 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Magnesio Pittsfield, MA USA 02-24-04
    Charles Magnesio Pittsfield, MA USA 02-24-04 Member Since 2004
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency"

    Excellent. A little in parts.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Moline, IL, USA 08-12-05
    Jason Moline, IL, USA 08-12-05
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    "Abridged would be better..."

    This is an unusual book and different from any other detective novel I've read (or listened to), which is partly what makes it so interesting. The characters seem real which makes them both dull and interesting. There were quite a few boring parts which probably would be elminated in an abridged version. Other than that, it's worth listening to.

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly STAMFORD, CT, USA 07-08-07
    Kimberly STAMFORD, CT, USA 07-08-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    86
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "G"

    Every time I tried to listen to this I konked out. Great for insomniacs! Story was boring and the reader's pace was unbelievably slow.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
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