By Lonnie Cruse
Some time ago I learned about a fictional series written by Alexander McCall Smith, beginning with The No. 1 Ladie's Detective Agency. I've read and/or listened to audios of the entire series, and I love it. I particularly love listening to Lise Lecat reading the books on audio, as I learned the correct pronunciation of the names of people and places in the books that way. I was able to download the audios to my MP3 player from a local library.
McCall Smith's series is about the one and only female detective located in Botswana, but some readers argue over whether or not these are true mysteries, as there is rarely--if ever--a dead body. Mostly Mma Precious Ramotswe solves problems for her clients, such as whether a man who shows up in a young woman's life, claiming to be her father and requesting her to take care of him, is really her daddy. Mma Ramotswe's solution to the problem had me chuckling. The kidnapping of a small boy, and her solution is, well I don't know how to describe it, except it made me cry. Her solution to a possibly unfaithful husband had me rolling on the floor.
Jill Smith is perfect as Precious Ramotswe and Anika Noni Rose is absolutely hilarious as Mma Makutsi, her secretary-dying-to-become-a-detective. The characters were beliveable and the television version satisfyingly close to the book.
The scenery in this movie is amazing. It's one thing to picture Botswana from McCall Smith's descriptions, but to actually see it on television is nothing short of wonderful. And the interaction of the people living there is amazing as well.
We got to see the first in this series because we changed satellite providers and as a result are receiving free HBO for several months. If you don't have that opportunity and are a fan of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, do yourself a favor and find the DVD's if and when they are available. You won't regret it. And if you haven't read the series, you're missing a real treat!