Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Review... The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (Books 1 & 2)

I am trying to start 2014 right with a push into getting back into my blog.  I make no promises, but I am going to try to keep writing blogs and see what happens.  I make no promises as to how this is going to go... but hey, who knows....

When I first started this blog I did so because blogging always intrigued me and I had wanted to review books on it.  That being said... I don't think I have reviewed a book on here in probably oh 2 years.  It is no secret.. I love to read.  If I wrote a blog post on every book I read I would probably be posting at least once a week... sometimes more.  Since I don't want to bore people with just writing book reviews on here, I think I am going to try to post reviews maybe once or twice a month... maybe more if I read a particularly good book.

Today I want to talk about the series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.  I had asked for books in this series a couple of years ago for Christmas because I wanted to find some paperback books to read since I pretty much read everything on my Kindle now and I wanted to make sure that I was still reading a few things in book form.  This seemed like a good series to read because well I knew it was an HBO series and I was pretty sure that there were at least a dozen books in the series so it could keep me occupied for a bit.  So I asked for these books for Christmas 2012 and didn't actually pick one up to read until a plane ride this past weekend until Florida and once I started let me say I am hooked!  I read Book 1 on the plane ride to Florida and Book 2 on my way home.

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Book 1, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency got off to a slow start.  I am not going to lie, for a minute when I first started reading it I wasn't sure that I was actually going to continue to read it or even ever finish it.  But I had an entire plane ride to go, so I figured I would give it a shot and see what happened.  The more I read the more I was hooked.  The book starts off with a background about Mma Ramotswe and her family and how exactly she was able to start the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

Mma Ramotswe is from Botswana and after the death of her father used money from the sale of his cattle to start her own detective business.  She strives to live up to her name of the number 1 lady detective in all of Botswana and is able to do just that.  In a country where there are no female detectives she maintains that she can do what any male detective does, and can even perhaps do it better, because women are naturally more observant.

The book is set up as almost a sort of series of short stories regarding all of Mma Ramotswe's cases ranging from finding a missing husband to following the daughter of an Indian man to find out if the daughter has a secret boyfriend. Though some of the cases prove more difficult than others, Mma Ramotswe has manged to solve them all.

One of the nice things about this book is that although there are short stories regarding the various cases, the stories all seem to tie together to make for a fluid transition between chapters.  Even though the history of Mma Ramotswe and her family may have been long and tedious to read I am so glad that I stuck it out to get to her adventures as a detective because they were well worth the wait.  My advice to anyone reading this book is to give it a shot because once you get a glimpse into the life of the number 1 lady detective in Botswana each chapter will leave you wanting more and you will have a hard time putting the book down!

Book 2, Tears of the Giraffe, was much easier to get into reading than the first book.  Probably because I was already obsessed with Mma Ramotswe and her methods to solving cases for her clients.  Tears of the Giraffe, follows Mma Ramotswe through solving more cases as well as her path to marriage with Mr. J L B Matekoni.  While solving cases Mma Ramotswe and Mr. J L B Matekoni need to figure out where they will live once married, how they will raise the children that Mr. J L B Matekoni agreed to foster from the orphanage.  My favorite story in this book probably had to be how Mma Ramotswe tracked down what happened to an American boy who had been missing for almost 10 years.  It seems that there is no case that Mma Ramotswe can't solve... although some have proved to be more difficult than others, she always seems to manage to find a way to solve them.  She does receive help along the way... at times from her husband to be Mr. J L B Matekoni or at times from her newly promoted assistant detective (her former secretary) Mma Makutsi.

I am looking forward to see what unfolds for Mma Ramotswe in the next book and am especially looking forward to seeing how her business changes (maybe grows?) from marriage, the addition of two children and new assistant detective!!

Please note: all the opinions expressed in this review are my own.  I was not compensated in any way for this post... I truly did enjoy every moment of reading each of these books.

And now for another edition of what I am thankful for.  Today I am thankful for the fact that I have an amazing support system in my family and friends.  2013 was both an amazing and a terrifying year for me but through my family and friends I have managed to survive it all and definitely came out realizing who my true friends were and who they weren't.  So today I am thankful for everyone who made 2013 the terrific year that it was and I am looking forward to seeing what 2014 has to bring my way!

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