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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

 

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Author Alexander McCall Smith
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Crime fiction
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
eBook

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is a series of novels by Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith. The agency is located in Gaborone, capital of Botswana. Its founder is a Motswana woman, Mma Precious Ramotswe, who features as the stories' protagonist and main detective. The episodic novels are as much about the adventures and foibles of different characters as they are about solving mysteries. The series belongs to the subgenre of anthropological detective fiction, in which the culture of its characters plays a major role in the story. Compare with the Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn series of Tony Hillerman, the Dave Robicheaux series of James Lee Burke, or the Harry Hole series of Jo Nesbø. Mma Ramotswe, however, departs from both the cerebral British and the hard-boiled American traditions of private detectives. She always has multiple small cases to pursue, with only a few involving crime and even fewer involving violence. This deemphasizes sensationalism and focuses on detective fiction being morality tales. Each book in the series follows on from the previous book. They have been adapted for radio, television, and internet.

Contents

  • Characters 1
    • Main 1.1
    • Secondary 1.2
  • Locales 2
    • In Botswana 2.1
  • Themes and topics of the stories 3
  • Issues addressed in the cases 4
  • Series Order 5
  • Television series 6
  • Radio series 7
  • Cookbook 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Characters

Main

  • Mma Precious Ramotswe, the first female private investigator in Botswana. 'Traditionally built' heroine and protagonist of the series, Main character.
  • Mma Grace Makutsi, the Agency's secretary and Mma Ramotswe's assistant.
  • Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, mechanic and proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, Mma Ramotswe's suitor and eventual husband. He is always referred to in these novels by this very formal title.

Secondary

  • Charlie, the older of the two apprentices in Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's garage.
  • Fanwell, the younger apprentice, always referred to as such in the earlier novels. His name is not mentioned until Tea Time for the Traditionally Built. He lives in a small house with his grandmother and his several younger brothers and sisters. Although he is slightly more serious than his older friend, Charlie, he still frequently discusses girls with Charlie.
  • Mr. Polopetsi, an assistant to Mma Ramotswe and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni. He is introduced in In The Company of Cheerful Ladies.
  • Phuti Radiphuti, Grace Makutsi's fiancé, introduced in In The Company of Cheerful Ladies. In The Double Comfort Safari Club, he has an accident in which he loses his foot, which causes Mma Makutsi to worry about their relationship. They are finally married in The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party.
  • Violet Sephotho, Mma Makutsi's rival from the Botswana Secretarial College, introduced in In the Company of Cheerful Ladies. She returns in most books subsequent to her introduction with new schemes to ruin Mma Makutsi's life with Rra Phuti Radiphuti. In The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party, she is discussed as running for a parliament in an upcoming by-election but makes no direct appearance.
  • Dr Moffat, A real person, Howard Moffat, a direct descendant of Robert Moffat, the Scottish missionary whose daughter married David Livingstone. He and his wife are good friends of Mma Ramotswe
  • Mma Potokwane, matron of the 'Orphan Farm', always ready to offer wisdom, bush tea and cake to Mma Ramotswe. Mma Potokwane is somewhat pushy, especially to Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, but always in a good cause.
  • Rra Obed Ramotswe, The Father of Precious Ramotswe. Although he does not appear in the book, Mma Ramotswe often invokes his memory when contemplating a case or life in general.
  • Note Mokoti , Mma Precious Ramotswe's former husband and father of her child. Note treated Mma Ramotswe poorly and Precious says that marrying him was a mistake.
  • Mma Ramotswe and Mr J.L.B. Matekoni's two adopted children, Motholeli and Puso.

Locales

In Botswana

Themes and topics of the stories

Issues addressed in the cases

Series Order

  1. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (1998)
  2. Tears of the Giraffe (2000)
  3. Morality for Beautiful Girls (2001)
  4. The Kalahari Typing School for Men (2002)
  5. The Full Cupboard of Life (2004)
  6. In The Company of Cheerful Ladies (2004 – also known as The Night-Time Dancer)
  7. Blue Shoes and Happiness (2006)
  8. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (2007)
  9. The Miracle at Speedy Motors (2008)
  10. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (2009)
  11. The Double Comfort Safari Club (2010)
  12. The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (2011)
  13. The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (2012)
  14. The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon (2013)[1]
  15. The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe (2014)
  16. The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine (2015)

Television series

The BBC and American television network HBO filmed a series based on the books. It stars Jill Scott as Mma. Ramotswe and was shot on location in Botswana. The 109-minute pilot was written by Richard Curtis and Anthony Minghella, who also directed. The six 60-minute episodes were written and directed by others.[2]

Radio series

McCall Smith himself dramatised the series for BBC Radio 4. Twenty-nine episodes have been broadcast, the first on 10 September 2004, and the last on 13 March 2015. The episodes encompass the first to fifteenth books. They star Claire Benedict as Mma Ramotswe (except the 2010 episodes, when she was played by Janice Acquah).[3]

Episodes:

  1. The Daddy – 10 September 2004[4]
  2. The Bone – 17 September 2004[5]
  3. The Maid – 24 September 2004[6]
  4. Tears of the Giraffe – 1 October 2004[7]
  5. The Chief Justice of Beauty – 30 August 2005[8]
  6. The Confession – 6 September 2005[9]
  7. The Kalahari Typing School for Men – 13 September 2005[10]
  8. The Admirer – 20 September 2005[11]
  9. How to Handle Men through the Application of Psychology – 18 January 2007[12]
  10. House of Hope – 25 January 2007[13]
  11. The Return of Note – 1 February 2007[14]
  12. The Ceremony – 8 February 2007[15]
  13. There Is No Such Thing as Free Food – 1 January 2008[16]
  14. The Best Profession for a Blackmailer – 2 January 2008[17]
  15. A Very Rude Woman – 3 January 2008[18]
  16. Talking Shoes – 4 January 2008[19]
  17. The Miracle at Speedy Motors – 25 December 2008[20]
  18. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built – 25 December 2009[21]
  19. The Seller of Beds – 25 December 2009[22]
  20. An Exceptionally Wicked Lady – 2 December 2010[23]
  21. Canoeing for Ladies – 3 December 2010[24]
  22. A Late Van Just Glimpsed – 3 November 2011[25]
  23. The Saturday Big Tent Wedding – 4 November 2011[26]
  24. A Man from a Far Place – 20 March 2013[27]
  25. The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection – 21 March 2013[28]
  26. The Modern Husband Course – 5 February 2014[29]
  27. The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon – 6 February 2014[30]
  28. The Handsome Man's Deluxe Cafe – 12 March 2015[31]
  29. The Dish of Yesterday – 13 March 2015[32]

Cookbook

A cookbook associated with the novels was published in 2009; Mma Ramotswe's Cookbook by Stuart Brown, with a foreword by Alexander McCall Smith.[33]

References

  1. ^ http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17345190-the-minor-adjustment-beauty-salon
  2. ^ People & Places (2008). "Speaking of HBO". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  3. ^ Radio dramatisation at RadioListings.co.uk
  4. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The DaddyBBC – Afternoon Play –
  5. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The BoneBBC – Afternoon Play –
  6. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The MaidBBC – Afternoon Play –
  7. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: Tears of the GiraffeBBC – Afternoon Play –
  8. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The Chief Justice of BeautyBBC – Afternoon Play –
  9. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The ConfessionBBC – Afternoon Play –
  10. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The Kalahari Typing School for MenBBC – Afternoon Play –
  11. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The AdmirerBBC – Afternoon Play –
  12. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: How to Handle Men through the Application of PsychologyBBC – Afternoon Play –
  13. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: House of HopeBBC – Afternoon Play –
  14. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The Return of NoteBBC – Afternoon Play –
  15. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The CeremonyBBC – Afternoon Play –
  16. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: There Is No Such Thing as Free FoodBBC – Afternoon Play –
  17. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: Best Profession for a BlackmailerBBC – Afternoon Play –
  18. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: A Very Rude WomanBBC – Afternoon Play –
  19. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: Talking ShoesBBC – Afternoon Play –
  20. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The Miracle at Speedy MotorsBBC – Afternoon Play –
  21. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: Tea Time for the Traditionally BuiltBBC – Afternoon Play –
  22. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The Seller of BedsBBC – Afternoon Play –
  23. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: An Exceptionally Wicked LadyBBC – Afternoon Play –
  24. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: Canoeing for LadiesBBC – Afternoon Play –
  25. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: A Late Van Just GlimpsedBBC – Afternoon Play –
  26. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The Saturday Big Tent WeddingBBC – Afternoon Play –
  27. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: A Man from a Far PlaceBBC – Afternoon Play –
  28. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The Limpopo Academy of Private DetectionBBC – Afternoon Play –
  29. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The Modern Husband CourseBBC – Afternoon Play –
  30. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The Minor Adjustment Beauty SalonBBC – Afternoon Play –
  31. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The Handsome Man's Deluxe CafeBBC – Afternoon Play –
  32. ^ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: The Dish of YesterdayBBC – Afternoon Play –
  33. ^ Mma Ramotswe's Cookbook

External links

  • Alexander McCall Smith's official website
  • BBC Official Press Release
  • (February 28, 2006)Blue Shoes and HappinessThe Guardian's humorous "digested" version of
  • Interview in The Times with Alexander McCall Smith (February 28, 2006)
  • IMDB article on the TV Episode s
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