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May 15, 2013 BOOKLIST
Titles similar to The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is located off a dusty, rutted road in cattle-rich Botswana, housed in a tiny office next to an auto-repair shop. Two women work there: Precious Ramotswe, who is Botswana’s only private detective, and her associate, Grace Makutsi (now Mrs. Phuti Radiphuti). Grace never fails to mention her 97 percent average from the Botswana Secretarial College to everyone who enters. And, it seems, everyone does: women worried that their men are philandering; people concerned over their relatives’ disappearances; seekers of goods and lost people. Part of the brilliance of this series (now in its thirteenth entry) is that what may seem like tiny cases expand into considerations of virtue, love, ambition, greed, and evil. And these meditations on life come as naturally as Precious looking up into the blue Botswana sky. In the latest, the person who has been Precious’ and Grace’s most quoted and most esteemed fellow detective enters the premises—Clovis Andersen, author of The Principles of Private Detection. Now Precious can consult with the great man himself (who shows a surprising forgetfulness about passages in his own book) about two troubling crises in her own life. A wealthy businessman has fired Precious’ longtime friend Mma Potokwane, the director of the orphan farm, and one of the apprentices at Speedy Motors has been wrongly accused of a crime. The trio embark on these cases with gusto. McCall Smith’s novels are both very meditative and laugh-out-loud funny. If you’ve never read a “No. 1 Ladies’,” now’s the time.
McCall Smith’s latest Precious Ramotswe novel will get all the marketing attention it deserves, but it hardly needs much. Just hang the open-for-business sign on the door of the Ladies’ No. 1 Detective Agency, and the fans will come.