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The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency

The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Book 1
Narrated by: Hilary Neville
Length: 6 hrs and 33 mins
4 out of 5 stars (101 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Wayward daughters. Missing Husbands. Philandering partners. Curious conmen. If you've got a problem, and no one else can help you, then pay a visit to Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's only - and finest - female private detective.

Her methods may not be conventional, and her manner not exactly Miss Marple, but she's got warmth, wit, and canny intuition on her side, not to mention Mr J.L.B. Maketoni, the charming proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors.

And Precious is going to need them all as she sets out on the trail of a missing child, a case that tumbles our heroine into a hotbed of strange situations and more than a little danger.

Delightfully different, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency offers a captivating glimpse of an unusual world.

©1998 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2003 Isis Publishing Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Lovely book, easy to listen to, very entertaining. Innocent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

An enjoyable listen

Had heard of a number of others who had read/listened to this book, so although the title had originally put me off, I decided to try it myself.

I was glad I did - this was a thoroughly enjoyable story and the narrator did a good job of bringing it to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Innocent... refreshing

Definitely agree - easy listening! Being from South Africa, is was a good reflection of "ubuntu" and the lead characters approach to detecting was, at many times, cute!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Pavel
  • Czech Republic
  • 10-21-10

Slow story

somehow I couldn't believe a word from 'the lady'. Very black and white, all men are cheaters or stupid.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dorothy Owen
  • 07-19-09

Better than on television!

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this Audiobook, having already watched the series on television. It captivated my attention and I found jobs to do that allowed me time to finish listening to it. The story gave a view into a totally different world to mine which I found fascinating.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Frances
  • 09-12-09

A Pleasant Renewal of an Old Aquaintance

I loved listening to this recording. I was a fan of the original book and having re-aquainted myself with it I realise that these characters/stories were just made to be read aloud. It was a bargain too, well worth the price.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • sarah
  • 10-22-11

Awful narration

Having listened to the incomparable Adjoa Andoh narrate the rest of the series, it was a bitter disappointed to discover that Hilary Neville is incapable of even pronouncing 'Gabarone' correctly. I was unable to listen for more that 2 minutes and regret my purchase immensely!

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ellie illing
  • 03-14-18

Lovely homely book

I really enjoyed this and am planning on getting the next one. It is a homely story that you can listen to whenever. You warm to the character she is a good woman and makes you like her straight away. The book is set in Botswana and reflects all the good things about the country.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • AnnieB
  • 09-19-18

The voice

While very precise and correct, an African accent would have clinched it! I watched the TV series and either actress would have been excellent to listen to!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-15-18

a book of Africa<br />

I like the stories very much but would have preferred them spoken by the narrator from the BBC with the authentic African voice

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Nick
  • 07-12-18

Relaxing and pleasant listen

A little slow to get going as the first half was mainly about her family and upbringing. Nicely narrated and a good mix of different cases to solve at the end

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 04-06-10

Brilliant

This book was sooo good I blasted through it in one day - also had to find places to go and things to do in order to listen to it all.... captivating...

The TV series spin off of the books are good fun but this is insightful too... well worth a download.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs Sweetman
  • 07-16-19

disappointing

An African narrator would have been lovely, but couldn't they have found a narrator who was at least familiar with the pronunciation?

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • ELIZABETH J HOLLAND
  • 01-18-19

Beautifully read, a real re elation

Bought this as a recommendation and didn’t regret it. The reading took you to the warmth of Africa as well as the warmth of the character.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-21-18

Amazing

Amazing
Should read it
Loved it
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Sam
  • 10-15-16

Feels like a book for children

Some lovely observations about the place, but it's largely really simplistic. The characters aren't complex, the dialogue between them is really childish - it makes the people sound very naive and simple minded. There are many broad generalisations being made about the different ethnic groups and about men and women in particular.

Given that this is a book written by an Englishman about African people, the naivety of the characters feels condescending. There's a running theme about the 'good old days' and what 'real Africa' is and should be. I think those types of themes need to be handled carefully especially when written by an outsider, and nuance is important. This lacked that, and it came across as a simplistic view of a complex place and people (as if Africans should all be child like and sit around watching cattle).

The narrator added to this feeling, a very British primary school teacher accent and tone. An actor from Botswana would have been perfect, or at the very least someone who could sound like Precious Ramotswe.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alana
  • 01-24-15

great read, amysing & enjoyable

Really enjoyable read, kept me interested & amused throughout. I will be reading more of the series