The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

This book had been recommended to me by a number of different people. I found it pleasant enough, but I have to say I wasn’t really gripped by it.

I think part of the problem (for me) was the fact that there wasn’t one, overriding “case” to be solved. I have read other detective stories where you get a quick, one-chapter case to see the detective in action, and then the big one that the story is actually dealing with turns up. This book, however, dealt with a series of smaller cases. The supposed big one (disappearance of a young boy) takes up very little time.

The African setting was not uninteresting, and was often presented quite evocatively, but I was not totally enthralled by it. Quite a lot of the book is devoted to setting up the character, and some time is spent on her history, and that of her father. I found the technique of telling her father’s story in first person a little unexpected, and not entirely successful, although in some ways it is the most powerful section of the book.

All in all, I do not regret reading this book, and I will probably read the others if I come across them in the library. On the other hand, I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to look for them, and I am unlikely to buy them.

Post a Comment