Analysing ‘The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’


Just a wee note on how one reader viewed Alexander McCall Smith’s popular series… CLARE COUNIHAN writes:

“”Mma Ramotswe had a detective agency in Africa, at the foot of Kgale Hill” (McCall Smith, No. 1 3). Evoking Isak Dinesen’s African idyll, the opening of Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency trades the glamour of colonial east Africa for the empty but no less romantic wild Kalahari. Cocooning its good-natured human occupants in a vast landscape outside history, the novel and subsequent movie create a timeless and authentic Botswana: in order for Mma Ramotswe to perform her detective work, novel and film must situate Botswana outside the flow of history. Amidst the fantasy of an African oasis that has avoided the “famine, AIDS, violent warlords, child soldiers, genocide or any other heart-tugging tragedy,” which one movie reviewer was relieved to escape (Deggans), these texts imply that Botswana exists outside the networks of global exchange as a refuge in the desert of troubled Africa.” (101)

It may not seem quite best filed under ‘Crime’, but honestly it’s a loose category and this reading may be relevant to others…

Ref: CLARE COUNIHAN (2011) ‘Detecting Outside History in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’ Mosaic 44(2)June: 101-118


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