S4L Book Club – The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

S4L Book Club - The No. 1 Ladies' Detective AgencyMma Ramotswe is a detective. That makes this a mystery novel, right?

She does, indeed, solve mysteries, but I don’t think they’re typical mystery-novel mysteries. There’s no single central question that she tries to answer, and I didn’t feel there was the suspense, twisting, turning, double-crossing, and danger that many mysteries have. I can’t say I’m especially well-read in this genre, but I’m not a complete stranger to it, either.

How would you categorize this book? Where would you shelve it in a bookstore? And how would you describe it to a friend?

Categories: Reading

3 replies »

  1. The story of the kidnapped boy is to me a kind of crime-mystery. Most of the stories It is mostly like a “everyday”-problem-solving-mystery. The only not-reality kind of mystery is where woodo is part of a story (the lost boy again), even though woodo can seem real to those who believe in it. The book is not like fantacy mysteries, no dragons, trolls or ufo’s. To me Mma is trying to give people acceptable solutions to their troubles, and even leve the compleation to the police, prefarably otside of Botswana 🙂

    The book has strong cultural and historical elements. I also think the author makes the story about the main caracter as a documentary or biography, i think I find elements of this. I love the descriptions of the nature and the wast everlasting landscapes, and it is like a very personal travel book advertising… Sorry, hard to say in english…

    To be easy and practical I would put it with the crime and troublesolving books.

    But I forgot, the book has a lot of hints and direct advices of how to live your ordinary everyday life. I have adopted some of them! If going gets though, make a cup of tea and think awhile about it, and then the tough (me) gets going( slowley, with no rush) and face the troublesome things.

    I am actually surprised that a book i found utterly boring at first (the long story about the father) turnd out to be a sweety. Hidden pearls is yet to be discovered, Just keep on looking 😉

    (this is written at my log cabin on top of the snowy mountains. Everything takes time, and it is no stress. Loves.)
    Regards from 1040 meters over sea level, -10 degrees, new snow, and a bit of wind.

  2. The books (this is the first of a series) are generally categorized as mystery/detective, but they don’t have the suspense, action and violence that often characterize such novels. The author says he considers them books about a detective (but even he isn’t sure if that, in fact, makes them detective novels.) I think of this book as general fiction with some very clever problem solving.
    Harriet, I am glad you enjoyed meeting Mma Ramotswe. I think she does have a lot to teach us.

  3. Both the author and Harriet mention the book being about Mma Ramotswe, who happens to be a detective. I agree. I think it’s more about her than the mysteries she solves. I’d shelve it with general fiction. I think people searching for a mystery, in the traditional sense of the genre, might be disappointed.

    Harriet wasn’t fond of the backstory, either! I’m a little surprised the editor didn’t urge Smith to nix that. Or maybe Smith is so successful that he’s not edited. As a children’s writer, I can’t imagine getting away with what Smith did in that presentation.

    I also appreciate the Mma Ramotswe non-stress, careful-consideration, and a-cup-of-tea approach to problem solving. In fact, I’m trying it now!