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Summary

Winner of the British Book Awards, Author of the Year, 2004.
Winner of the CWA Dagger in the Library Award, 2004.

Wayward daughters. Missing husbands. Philandering partners. Curious con men. If you've got a problem, and no one else can help you, then pay a visit to Mma Ramotswe, Botswana's only female private detective. Her methods may not be conventional, and her manner not exactly Miss Marple's, 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.

©1998 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2003 Time Warner AudioBooks

Critic reviews

"A rare pleasure." ( Daily Telegraph)
"A publishing phenomenon." ( Guardian)
"Everything about [McCall Smith] is appealing. He's just full of delight; it just bubbles out of him." ( Sunday Herald)

What listeners say about The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Average customer ratings
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • JF
  • 28-01-21

Too many cuts

I bought this because it’s read by Adjoa Andoh and she does a fine job. I knew it was abridged but I thought the skill of the narrator would compensate for a few missing paragraphs. I was mistaken. After the first few chapters I gave up on the audio and stuck to an unabridged paperback. I don’t know why they abridged it. It’s a very short book. They could have included it all. Instead they cut out what makes it special. The cuts are very clever in a way. They shaved off a phrase here, an adjective there, several whole paragraphs in places. You might not even notice. But they’ve taken away the book’s soul. Alexander McCall Smith has a very sharp eye for telling details. His wit and lyricism are very understated. You can cut a few phrases here and there and the story will still make sense but it loses its essence. The sentences are duller and some of the poetry has gone. The narrative loses the spark of genius that makes the unabridged novel such a rare treat. I thoroughly recommend the book. But it’s worth seeking out the full text.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

One word - Uplifting

This is the most innocent, beautifully written book ever. If only the whole world acted and thought like Mme Ramotswe, we would all have wonderfully fulfilled lives. It is an excellent read from beginning to end, including tragedy, happiness and real laugh out loud humour. Have now read the whole series.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Feelgood story

This is the first novel in Alexander McCall Smith's series about Precious Ramotswe, the "traditionally built" owner of "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency". The series is set in Botswana and the author, having been born in Africa and visited this part of the world many times, is perfectly capturing it's people and culture. You are introduced not only to Mma Ramotswe who is kindhearted, witty and just plain lovable; but also to her family and quirky friends whose paths and relationships with each other will develop in the course of the series.



What sets this series apart from other mysteries is the different way and pace of life in Botswana as well as the main character's way of solving her cases. If you are looking for a fast-paced, edge-of-your seat thriller, this book is not for you but if you enjoy an array of lovable characters, exotic settings and a feel-good story then give this series a try and I can almost guarantee, you will not be disappointed.



Adjoa Andoh brings the characters to life perfectly. People and places are coming alive in your imagination and you wish you could be part of Mma Ramotswe's world.



8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Such gentle stories

Encapsulates the dignity of Africa perfectly.... The descriptions of the people, the places, and the traditions are absolutely spot on...

3 people found this helpful

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My second Mma Ramotswe book

Adjoa Andoh is the perfect advocate for the world of Mma Ramotswe. I find myself caring about a whole gallery of characters. The stories seem to me charming without being over sentimental, not being afraid of some
serious issues, from sex to witch doctors. Very well produced with appropriate music.

3 people found this helpful

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fantastic story, well read

Read so beautifully with accurate accent.
Reminds me of Botswana, real places made me reminiscent

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful listening. Worth many more stars!

Lovely story. Looking forward to buying the next in the series.

Narration was exceptional, as was the music interspersing each chapter.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good but the audio is old

I love these stories but had never listened to them before so decided to try it. The narrator is amazing and there's lovely music, but the audio itself sounds old and muffled which means it's quite quiet.

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Abridged!

I didn’t notice this was abridged until the end credits - should be made much more visible, say in bold and CAPS.

Story and performance were very good, only giving 3 star due to it being abridged. Music in interludes was fine but would prefer unabridged version even if that means losing the music.

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Adjoa Andoh brings Botswana to life

Mma Ramotswe lives in Botswana and leads the #1 ladies' detective agency in the country. She accepts every case, as long as it is legal, and slowly makes a name for herself. Precious Ramotswe is a smart lady and her intuition proves correct in most of her cases. The book is written in the form of several short stories that together paint a picture of Mma Ramotswe, her family and friends, and her country.

I know some people complained about this audio being abridged, and although I haven't read the full version, I must say I thoroughly enjoyed Adjoa Andoh's narration. She does a wonderful job of voicing the different characters, and she was the reason I started listening to the book. Moving forward to the next one on the series!

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  • Hilde-Gunn
  • 02-09-12

Good story, but...

Okay, so I love Precious and her little detective agency. I never thought I would. THe reason why I've given this such a low score is because it is abrigded. By doing this, they totally wreck the book. The good thing about the story is all of Mma Ramotswe's own thoughts and the way she herself tells the story. By just summing it up for the reader, well, let's put it this way: I will never buy an abrigded version again. I don't even know why they would do that to good books....

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Wendy
  • 21-12-08

wendygai

this was a good book, but I struggled to get to the end

1 person found this helpful

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  • Edith Soosaar
  • 27-06-20

Starting a detective agency in Botswana.

Amazing performance. I really love narrators round, accented talk. Book itself is a collection of cases that become one uniquely intertwining story, a desert flavored, sun warm dream of life and cultures in deep, proud africa.