The No1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith [Wayback Wednesday Review]

wayback wednesdayWayback Wednesdays are a new semi-regular feature here at Bart’s Bookshelf.

Every few weeks, I’ll be digging into the archives and dusting off one of my old reviews, cleaning it up a touch (mostly making sure images are present and stray detritus/coding isn’t…) and then reposting it again. Sometimes with additional comments.

First up for the Wayback Wednesday treatment is: The No1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. First posted on the 29th Jan 2004, this is one of my reviews that I brought across when I shut my personal blog.

I’ve sorta slipped away from this series in recent years, I’ve not read the last few books, but digging up this review does make me want to pick-up where I left off though!


  • Title: No1 Ladies Detective Agency
  • Author: Alexander McCall Smith
  • Publisher: Abacus
  • Pages: 240
  • ISBN: 9780349116754


I Just finished this book the other day, and so I thought I’d leave a quick review.

First off, if you are hoping for a proper detective novel then this is probably not the book for you, as there is no major mystery to be found. In fact all Mma Ramotswe investigation’s are mostly very simple, and are solved with a fair amount of ease and this gives the No1 Ladies’ Detective Agency an episodic nature.

But for me, the point of the book wasn’t the mysteries and detective work, but, was the setting and the characters you meet through Mma Ramotswe’s eyes, one of whom, Mr J.L.B. Matekoni stands out; the local mechanic and Mma’s helper and hopeful suitor, and someone who know pretty much everyone in town and refers to them by what car repairs they have had.

It made a great lunch-time read due to its easy story and flow. And as the work colleague sitting opposite one lunchtime earlier this week, (and who only just avoided being sprayed by my lunch) found out, the book contains one of the funniest paragraphs, I have ever read!

“Now constipation was quite a different matter. It would be dreadful for the whole world to know about troubles of that nature. She felt terribly sorry for people who suffered from constipation, and she knew that there were many who did. There were probably enough of them to form a political party – with a chance of government perhaps – but what would such a party do if it was in power? Nothing she imagined. It would try to pass legislation, but would fail.

Wayward daughters.

Missing Husbands.

Philandering partners.

Curious conmen.

If you’ve got a problem, and no one else can help you, then pay a visit to Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s only – and finest – female private detective. Her methods may not be conventional, and her manner not exactly Miss Marple, 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.

And Precious is going to need them all as she sets out on the trail of a missing child, a case that tumbles our heroine into a hotbed of strange situations and more than a little danger

…Delightfully different, THE NO.1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY offers a captivating glimpse of an unusual world.

Buy The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency from Amazon.