Thursday, June 19, 2008

#1 on my list of favourites

I first got hooked on the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series after hearing the author, Alexander McCall Smith, being interviewed on CBC Radio several years ago. Nine books later, I’m still a huge fan, and the lastest in the series, The Miracle at Speedy Motors, doesn’t disappoint. In fact I enjoyed it so much, I decided to go back to the beginning and read the whole series all over again, which I highly recommend doing. I think the books are even funnier the second time around.
It’s been almost ten years since the series began and I had forgotten many of the details about Precious Ramotswe’s childhood, her first marriage to jazz musician Note Makoti, and how she came to own a detective agency. I certainly hadn’t remembered that Mr. J.L.B Matekoni was married, and then widowed, before he met Mme Ramotswe.
My favourite character has always been Grace Makutsi, with her large spectacles, “difficult complexion”, crookedly braided hair, and 97% from the Botswana Secretarial College. Sometimes she can be quite tactless, but that’s why she’s so funny. I can also appreciate Mma Makutsi’s love of shoes, although I’ve never actually had a conversation with mine.
One of the things I enjoy most the about the books is the warm and supportive friendship between Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi, and my enthusiasm for The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency has also launched a wonderful friendship. One day I was in my local health food store contemplating their very large selection of tea and a woman standing close-by suggested that I try the bush tea. This comment led to a conversation about Precious Ramotswe, who absolutely loves bush tea. It turned out that my new acquaintance, Nancy, lives right across the street from me and now, a few years later, we’re still getting together to drink tea and talk about books. (P.S. Nancy loves The Miracle at Speedy Motors too).

1. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
2. Tears of the Giraffe
3. Morality for Beautiful Girls
4. The Kalahari Typing School for Men
5. The Full Cupboard of Life
6. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
7. Blue Shoes and Happiness
8. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
9. The Miracle at Speedy Motors

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