When she asks her dependable husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, to fix her tiny white van, Precious fears he might just sell the vehicle and buy her something more modern. And so he does. But this will not do. So Precious tries to track her beloved van down - and learns it has already been stolen from its new owner.
Listen to the other titles in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.
©2009 Alexander McCall Smith; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
"A literary confection of gossamer deliciousness....There is no end to the pleasure that may be extracted from these books." (The New York Times Book Review)
Precious Ramotswe is one of my very favorite woman characters among a small handful. Being a guy I usually love gritty, hard boiled, raw, action detective stories. I like my mysteries complex and I like the thrills to keep me glued to my ipod. The series of books in the Number One Ladies Detective collection are totally the opposite of all this.
There is never violence. The mysteries are small and sometimes almost nonexistent. There is no action. Us "tough" guys would call this a "ladies novel" except that they are precious, magic, and life affirming.
Everything I shouldn't like about this series is what makes them special, a joy, and pleasure. The reader is awesome which adds extra magic.
What makes the story work is the atmosphere, the unique story idea, the simple mysteries of a simple life, a fresh perspective, and a set of characters you'll think of as part of your family.
I only use 4 stars instead of 5 because there was not a great a mystery in this one as in some although the story is still great fun. I suggest anyone that has not been reading the series start at the beginning to really be able to enjoy them all fully. The one fault of find with most of the series after the first is the lack of mysteries in them. Most of the series from about the 3rd or 4th one are mainly about the personal views and challenges of the main characters. While these are fun they are much more enjoyable when the detectives are also detecting. If you have enjoyed the series so far then don't miss this one.
As always, go into these novels with the understanding that you need to sit back, relax, and calm down. These are not thrillers; the action is slow. I read thrillers as well and they have their rewards, but the rewards of this series are completely different. Most books in the series don't even hint at a plot in the first few chapters. The draws here are the characters and setting, which are both wonderfully drawn and suprisingly compelling. The rewards are scattered throughout the novels (most of which come from the insights of the main character), with the biggest of these coming near the end as all the loose ends are tied up and all the events come to their conclusions, nearly always in satisfying - if unexpected - ways.
One other comment: I've read one book in the series and listened to the other 9. Lisette Lecat is one of the best narrators I've ever heard. I found myself hearing her voice in my head when I read the print book. After that I went back to audio... her voice and presentation are definitely and enhancement, a rare quality.
Mother of four great boys!
I simply can not get enough of the characters in this series. I wish it were a soap opera that I could watch everyday! Mma Makutsi gets funnier with each book. Mma Ramotswe is my age but she seems so much wiser! These books are so enjoyable. I was listening today at Walmart and laughing out loud. Again, the mysteries keep you guessing. Ms. Lecat is amazing. Thank you, thank you Mma for your wonderful narration. I especially love the way you do Puso. If you have listened to all of the books up to this point, you will not be disappointed.
Tell us about yourself!
once again alexander mccall smith does not disappoint. i believe this is number 10 in the detective agency series and i have enjoyed it as much as all the rest. the narration is fabulous and the story flows so smoothly.. light easy summertime listening. the tiny white van? the husband stealer? it's all here.
I have become very fond of the principal characters in this series, but this book has too much of the same musings about Botswana, etc. and not enough plot. The storyline about the tiny white van is just silly and tiresome.
This is one of the books in the Ladies #1 Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. This is a top notch series and I believe that to truly enjoy the series, every book should be read in the order written. The characters and story line develop over time in the series and they are people you really want to get to know. The story lines and characters can be funny, disgraceful or tragic, but they are always interesting. Smith is a keen observer of people and has great talent for drawing characters and telling whopping good stories.
The reader is the same for each book in the series and she is one of the best I have ever heard. She gives consistly solid performances over the entire series. The characters remain the same from one book to the other. Her accents are extrordinarily good. If I had to choose between reading this series and listening to it read by this reader (Lisette Lecat) I would without hesitation choose the audible version. Purchase them all - they are so very good.
These books have brought me many hours of relaxation, while keeping me curious about each character. I usually listen to hardcore thrillers, but when I see one of these out, I am so happy. The characters are all one of a kind, and I know them well, that's what makes this series an old friend for me. Characters don't change from book to book, they are who they are, just like we are...
zoeq is a trained chef an innkeeper. Currently she is writing a cookbook for the family cook. She lives in Florida and loves kayaking.
I've listened to most of the series now and have enjoyed it immensely. This was the first book that was a bit of a disappointment in that it wasn't as meaty with problems for the lady detective to solve. The beginning was so slow - the pace was simply not like his prior books in the series..
Absolutely. McCall Smith has done what many have not - combined moral and ethical people with interesting adventures without one bit of moralizing. His insight into friendships and the interelationships between spouses is spot on. I've learned some social skills as I witness this lady detective moving through her world making it a better place. In short, these are interesting and entertaining stories with a conscious.
She's very consistent. I feel that I know the characters very well through her interpretations.
Wisdom among friends
I listen to books while going to sleep so I don't like anything heavy or too exciting. These books give me entertainment with purpose. I love this series and am sorry to be coming closer to the end of it. However, I want to see the quality as consistent as the reader.
Mr Smith and Ms Lecat are wonderful yet again. You will not be disappointed. By this time in a lengthy series, there is one book that may not stand up to to others in quality. But not this one, and not any of the previous ones. This series is a bargain at twice the price. I only wish I had found it sooner.
I love the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Lizette LeCarr does a good job. This story had a dramatic event with an outcome I didn't quite expect. Thoroughly enjoyed!
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