14 June, 2012

Book Of Note: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Recently I read a simple, yet a very refreshing book: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. It is a crime, detective book set in one of my most favorite countries - Botswana. Read the book, and you may fall in love with Botswana; insightful and spiced up with wisdom, and many funny punchlines - I couldn't help being glued to the book from the first to the last pages. Most interesting of all, I couldn't help admiring and liking the book's main character and heroine: Mma Ramotswe - a cunning, disciplined and very pertinacious woman-detective. Excerpts from the book:
He had seen it so often before; love was a form of blindness that closed the eyes to the most glaring of faults. You could love a murderer, and simply not believe that your lover would do so much as crush a tick, let alone kill somebody.
It was curious how some people had a highly developed sense of guilt she thought, while others had none. Some people would agonize over minor slips or mistakes, while others would feel unmoved by their own gross acts of betrayal or dishonesty.
Mma Ramotswe had no stomach for hospitals, she disliked the smell of them; she shuddered at the sight of the patients sitting on benches in the sun, silenced by their suffering; she was frankly depressed by the pink day-pajamas they gave to those who had some TB. Hospitals were to her a memento mori in bricks and mortar; an awful reminder of the inevitable end that was coming to all of us which she felt was best ignored while one got on with the business of life.
Any one who reads a variety of good books, will find the  No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, unique and yet absorbing; McCall Smith very cleverly, and maybe - intentionally, writes the book as if he is a woman and from/with a woman's perspective of life and things; the book, at times, may seem chaotic with several plot-lines - but that too, is intentional and as you read the book through to the end, McCall Smith superbly weaves the plot perfectly, and masterfully ends the book in a very pleasing, dramatic way.