Sunday, March 22, 2015

From the Archives: Spending time with Alexander McCall Smith's Precious Ramotswe

I began keeping a reading journal several years before I began blogging. I find it interesting to sift through my thoughts of books that I read back then. My reviews were often brief and contained little substance, but I thought it'd be fun to document them here on my blog as well as share them with you. The first half of 2006 seemed to be my time for series reading. I read quite a few books by Alexander McCall Smith during that time. Here are some of my reviews from 2006: 

Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #3) by Alexander McCall Smith
Anchor, 2001
Fiction; 227 pgs

Spending time with Mma Ramotswe was refreshing and fun. The main character in the No. #1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series was her usual charming self. With the aid of her capable assistant detective, Mma Makutsi, there is not much that Mma Ramotswe can’t do. In the third book of the series, the detectives are asked to uncover a plot to poison the brother of a well-known government man as well as determine the integrity of several contestants in an upcoming beauty pageant. There is simplicity about the characters and the way Mr. Smith tells his story and yet it is so full of common sense and wisdom just the same. It was impossible not to laugh out loud throughout the book and even shed a tear near the end.

The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #4) by Alexander McCall Smith
Anchor, 2002
Fiction; 191 pgs

A new detective has opened up his own business in town; Mma Makutsi decides to start her own business to earn extra money; Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni has yet to set a date for the wedding; and Mma Ramotswe is asked to locate a couple of women from a man’s past. Alexander McCall Smith’s fourth novel in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series was a pleasant way to spend time. It’s hard not to like Mma Ramotswe and the other characters in the series. Although not quite as enjoyable as the third book in the series, I did like the book.

The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #5) by Alexander McCall Smith
Anchor, 2003
Fiction; 198 pgs

The Full Cupboard of Life was a delightful little book. Mr. Smith brings back the wonderful characters in the fifth installment of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. This time around, Mma Ramotswe is called upon to determine which of a wealthy woman’s suitors has good intentions when it comes to marrying her. There is also the little concern of a parachute jump fundraiser which Mma Ramotswe’s fiancĂ©e J.L.B. Matekoni has been recruited to participate. The ending of the novel was a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed spending time in Botswana with old friends, and as usual, Mr. Smith has created an easy going and heartwarming novel that leaves behind a feeling of satisfaction and happiness.

In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #6) by Alexander McCall Smith
Anchor, 2004
Fiction; 233 pgs

Although more melancholy than previous books in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, In the Company of Cheerful Ladies is my favorite in the series so far. The themes of the various stories throughout the book seemed to be in a similar vein, more so than in previous books. I felt that I was given a closer look into the lives of the characters, including the lead character, Mma Ramotswe, as she comes face to face with a person much better forgotten from her past. Assistant Detective Mma Makutsi continues to gain my admiration in each book as she shows off her skill at observation and assisting her friends. In this, the 6th novel in the series, Mma Makutsi takes up dancing lessons, the older apprentice quits his job to be with a wealthy older woman, and a couple of charming new characters are introduced. Mr. Smith has written another light hearted and enjoyable novel that kept me entertained and wanting to read more.

Blue Shoes and Happiness (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #7) by Alexander McCall Smith
Anchor, 2006
Fiction; 227 pgs

Author Alexander McCall Smith has written another enjoyable novel about the characters from the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. In the 7th installment in the series, Mma Ramotswe and friends investigate the cause for unease in a nearby town, a doctor whose behavior is questionable, and the source behind a blackmail threat. On the personal front, Mma Ramotswe considers going on a diet and Mma Makutsi fears she’s lost her fiancĂ© when she tells him she’s a feminist. As with previous books in the series, Blue Shoes and Happiness made for a relaxing reading experience as I visited with my old friends in Botswana. The Africa that Mma Ramostwe lives in seems so beautiful. It’s hard not to love the charm of the people and the country as portrayed by Mr. Smith.

© 2015, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I love this feature that you do. And, do you know I've never read one of the Precious Ramotswe books? I have the first on audio and need to listen to it. I did watch the short TV series and liked it very much. Did you see that?

    1. Kay - I hope you like the first book when you listen. The series does not have a strong mystery element, and is really more about the characters and their exploits. The television show was great. I wish they would have continued with it.

  2. Replies
    1. I need to get back to it. They really do make great comfort reads.

  3. I've been wanting to try this series for awhile now. I think I even have the first book on my shelves just waiting to be read. So many books....

    1. Samantha - I really enjoy these books. I think of them as comfort food for my brain.

  4. I was on such a kick with this series but unfortunately it's been a while since I've visited with these characters. I always think I'm going to make some red bush tea and read one of these books! :)

    I think I might be up to book 8 in the series. I'll have to check back through my book lists.

    1. Iliana - Me too, and then somewhere along the way I fell behind. I am not sure where I am in the series right now. #7 may have been the last one I read, now that I think about it.

  5. I enjoyed some of the television series, but haven't read any of the books! Shame on me.

    1. They really did a good job with the series. It's a bit different from the books.


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