Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

McCall Smith, A., & Lecat, L. (2003). The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Prince Frederick, MD: Recorded Books. 1402545940

While browsing for an audiobook for my work commute, one of my coworkers recommended No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. She told me it was a cute series taking place in Botswana! Heeding my coworker’s advice, I cruised home listening to No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

Precious “Mma” Ramotswe is the charming director of her own business on her home turf – Botswana. She’s the one, the only, the absolute best – lady detective in all the land. After a rough start and scarce business, people arrive, seeking out Mma Ramotswe’s services.  With great aplomb, she handles everything from missing children to missing husbands.

Within this novel, the reader learns of  Mma’s precocious beginnings, her doting but sickly father, her personal tragedy, and her current goals. I liked Mma immediately; she listens when people talk to her; she accepts herself. Mma is perhaps McCall Smith and Africa’s response to Miss Marple.  I wouldn’t mind listening to another one of these books. I’ve already requested the season one of the Jill C. Scott series! Look out, Jessica Fletcher, the #1 lady detective is on the case.

I enjoyed learning a little more about Botswana; a land overshadowed by South Africa in my education. McCall Smith offered me a bit of a social studies lesson, too.

Four out of Five Pearls

Places: Botswana, South Africa

Word Bank:

What’s What and Who’s Who in THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY

For more on Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, please click on the following links:

TBRs – Mishna Wolff’s I’m Down

New thing: “Discovered @ the library” “TBRs” presents items seen on the shelving cart, in the book drop, or displayed prominently.

Title – I’m Down: a memoir

Author – Mishna Wolff

Found – Discovered at the library 05/17/2012 on the reshelving cart by the Reference Desk at Freeman

From the flap – “Mishna Wolff in a poor black neighborhood with her single father, a white man who truly believed he was black. . . ”

Did I check it out? – Yes, I did.

Taylor Caldwell’s The Romance of Atlantis

Caldwell, T. (1975). The Romance of Atlantis. New York: Morrow. 0688003346

A detail from Card’s Pastwatch was Kemel’s discovery of Atlantis. He discovered this highly advanced land was lost in the BIG FLOOD. After reading this book, my mom remarked that had also been Taylor Caldwell’s take on this land of legend. Soon after, I requested The Romance of Atlantis via Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

These days, folks refer to The Romance of Atlantis as a work of Fantasy or Science Fiction. As the preface states, Ms. Caldwell wrote this novel when she was twelve years of age.  Her granddad ran a publishing company but he wouldn’t take this novel. Instead, he accused the young Taylor of plagiarism, incredulous that a girl could write a book chock full of adult situations.  The novel wasn’t published until 1975 with the help of Caldwell’s friend Jess Stearn. Caldwell based the novel of a dream she had nightly for two years. Ultimately, Caldwell believed this was what happened to her in a previous life. (Don’t give up on me, readers! This work was published as fiction.)

Young, beautiful, intelligent Salustra takes the scepter of the advanced civilization of Atlantis from her dying father. This is a very advanced land roughly the size of North America. People there enjoy air conditioning, indoor plumbing, and know about atom splitting. People can visit rejuvenation chambers and come out vitalized.

Yet, Salustra also inherited a decadent people whom she holds in contempt. Lately, the a/c isn’t working and people are getting cranky. Additionally, the practically barberous Althrustri kingdom to the North of Atlantis wants Salustra’s hand in marriage. Bad omens pop up everywhere. How will Salustra meet her fate and the fate of the people?

This is an impressive work for a twelve year old to have written. This is my first reading of anything by the late, prolific Caldwell. Salustra and her Atlantis are well conceived. However, I really didn’t like the characters much. Once I overcame marvelling at the wonder of the ancient land of advancement, I found the characters lackluster. I wasn’t even sure I cared for them. Did I even want to see these folks make it beyond the back cover?

Places: Atlantis, Althrustri

Word Bank:

  • Atom
  • Rejuvenation Chamber

Two Out of Five Pearls

Happy Birth Year, Mr. Defoe!


Daniel Defoe by immugmania.

Photo by immugmania

Daniel Defoe

This year marks the 350th anniversary of this prolific writer’s birthday.

Daniel Defoe produced some 560 books, pamphlets and journals before publishing Robinson Crusoe in 1719. The next five years saw the appearance of his most important works of fiction, which included Moll Flanders and Roxanna.

Nobody is sure on what day or even which month Defoe’s birthday falls.

Read more at Suite101: Great Authors – Birthday Anniversaries in 2010: Celebrate the Birthdays of the World’s Most Influential Writers

Jorie’s Geo Challenge

Please go to the page for Jorie’s Geo Challenge for details!