No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series [Book Review] #ThrowBackThursday

March 4, 2021

No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Angency (Image: boxed sets of books)

Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Botswana, Gentle Mysteries, Amateur Sleuths, “UpLit”

In 2020, I decided to systematically revisit my older review posts and update them. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m eager to share two reviews of a series on my lifetime favorites list, No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series by Alexander McCall Smith….gentle, character-driven stories, Botswana culture.

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary of the Series:

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective (21 installment) series is a gentle, character-driven, charming, easy reading series filled with likable characters reflecting on life, drinking tea, embracing tradition, and investigating human nature in sunny Botswana, Africa. Mma Ramotswe, founder and owner of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, is a “traditionally built woman,” gentle, honest, inclusive, compassionate, full of common sense, thoughtful, gracious, and wise. In fact, she always chooses kindness and forgiveness as her response and never revenge. Idealistically, she believes that people are good and kind and want to enjoy themselves and take care of each other. She is a proponent of the old Botswana morality and the traditional ways (especially the old way of greeting others). The focus of her work at the Ladies’ Detective Agency is on righting small injustices. Important common themes appear throughout all the stories in the series, and they include compassion, kindness, graciousness, reflection, good manners, forgiveness, and inclusiveness. Readers also hear the author’s voice as he provides gentle commentary on universal issues. Alexander McCall Smith, born in Zimbabwe, does really well in what he sets out to do in these stories.

cup of tea

“Tea, thought Mma Ramotswe–no matter what was happening, no matter how difficult things became, there was always the tea break–that still moment, that unchangeable ritual, that survived everything, made normal the abnormal, renewed one’s ability to cope with whatever the world laid before one. Tea.”

There are 21 installments in the series! Are you looking for a gentle, cozy read?

I’d love to introduce you to gracious, wise, and wonderful Mma Ramotswe! How to Raise an Elephant is the most recent (#21) installment (not reviewed). Here are reviews of two of my recent favorites (If you haven’t read any of the series and want to try one, I’d suggest beginning with House of Unexpected Sisters):

Continue here for my full review of The House of Unexpected Sisters (my fav or the series)….

Continue here for my full review of The Colors of All the Cattle ….


Have you read No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series or is it on your TBR?


  1. I’ve read a couple of the books in this series which I enjoyed. I very much like his Scotland Street series and Isabel Dalhousie books.

    • I tried the first Scotland Street…I’ve heard it gets better after the first one? And I’ve read Italian Bulldozer. I’m just hooked on the gang from Botswana! Some are better than others but they are still easy comfort reads! Thanks for commenting!

      • Scotland Street are quite unusual having been daily serialisations in The Scotsman newspaper. But I think as you get to know the characters you probably get more out of it. Wee Bertie is my favourite!

  2. I discovred The Ladies No 1 Detective Agency and 44 Scotland Street in a charity shop while on holiday. I can’t think why I haven’t read more (except that I have a tbr pile overflowing my bookshelves and a virtual stack weighing down my kindle). Uplifting reads for a lockdown – I’ll have to track some more down.

  3. I read two of the series – quite enjoyable but a little too light to sustain my interest. McCall Smith was a guest speaker at the Hay Festival a few years ago and was a hugely entertaining speaker. If you ever get a chance to hear him, I’d heartily recommend it for an entertaining hour or so

  4. I really do need to read this series again! I actually haven’t read the whole series and it’s so “close” to home. Botswana is one of our neighboring countries.

    So glad you enjoyed it so much!

    Elza Reads

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