Posted in Book review, Reading Challenge

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

Another book read for the Reading Challenge. It felt very relaxing to read this cozy mystery in the unusual setting of beautiful Botswana.

There was a teapot, in which Mma Ramotswe — the only lady private detective in Botswana — brewed tea. And three mugs — one for herself, one for her secretary, and one for the client. What else does a detective agency really need?

Finnish translation of the book.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is a very slow paced book which might come as a surprise if you’re not expecting it with this genre. Having read cozy mysteries before, I knew to expect a laid-back story with memorable characters and a not too violent mystery to solve, but this had definitely the slowest start to a mystery book in a while.

Once I got used to the pace of the story, I went with the flow and enjoyed the leisurely description of the landscapes, streets and people of Botswana. More than once I felt myself craving for some rooibos tea, which seemed to be an essential part of the daily life of Mma Ramotswe, the sleuth of these books.

At times there is a feminist tone in some of the thoughts and decisions of the main character, Mma Ramotswe, which I enjoyed and she seems to have a nice way of being very wise about life, despite being only a 30-someting person. But I have to say that the other characters weren’t that distinctive for me to grow fond of yet. Hopefully I will get to know them better when I read the next part of this series.

If you are looking for a very complex mystery to read, this book is not it. For a feel-good, cozy reading experience, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency works well and at least for me it felt like a window to an unknown culture.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency fills this prompt in the Reading Challenge:

20. The book deals with a culture that you are not familiar with

As I do not know anything about the culture of Botswana, it’s difficult for me to know how realisic the book is, but it felt believable and there was a very nice flow to how the surroundings were brought to life by author Alexander McCall Smith.

What Reading Challenge? Check out my post here.


I love books, games and the coziness of our house (currently it's the kingdom of me and my husband). My work in a game studio as a Senior HR Specialist keeps me busy and social, but I am an introvert in my core. Navigating life between my very social work and my introvert, less social personality can be tricky and it goes hand in hand with my interest in overall personal well-being.

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