Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grab Some Red Bush Tea and Find a Seat!

Have you met Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's No. 1 (and only, I might add) ladies' detective?  She lives in Gabarone, where she has opened a detective agency in an office at the Tkloweng Road Speedy Motors, the auto repair shop of Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni.  She lives on Zebra Drive and gets around in her tiny white van.  In the series we also meet Grace Makutsi, Charlie and the other apprentice who work for Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, and Mma Potokwane, the matron of the orphan farm, among others.

Mma Ramotswe is the creation of novelist Alexander McCall Smith.  Born in Zimbabwe, Smith was a former law professor at the University of Botswana and now makes his home in Scotland.  He has provided insight into the soul of Africa and her people in his delightful series, No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

The characters are very real -- flawed but resilient, willing to learn and grow -- and we get to know them well through the series, which now has eleven books.  I'm about to read the newest one, The Double Comfort Safari Club, because my circumstances don't allow me to listen to it on CD just now.  I especially enjoy listening to the voice of Lisette Lecat reading the series -- almost as much as I delight in listening to the stories themselves.

We have ordered the HBO presentation of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency from the library, but I'm a bit fifty-halfty about watching.  I am, indeed, looking forward to seeing some of my favorite characters come to life, but I already know what they look like and hope that they found actors who match my ideas.  I'm bracing myself!

Another series by Alexander McCall Smith that I have enjoyed is The 2½ Pillars of Wisdom, about three German academicians whose area of expertise is irregular Portuguese verbs.  In the midst of their endeavors concerning this extraordinarily weighty matter, they wander into some ridiculous situations they are ill-prepared to handle.  I loved the series but was glad there were only three books!

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