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2004 Program

The Life of the Mind common book selection for the Class of 2008 is Alexander McCall Smiths’s The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

The author’s prose has the merits of simplicity, euphony and precision. His descriptions leave one as if standing in the Botswana landscape. This is art that conceals art. I haven’t read anything with such alloyed pleasure for a long time.
—Anthony Daniels, The Sunday Telegraph

About the Book

imagesThis first novel in Alexander McCall Smith’s widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency received two Booker Judges’ Special Recommendations and was voted one of the International Books of the Year and the Millennium by the Times Literary Supplement.

Praise for The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency


Smart and sassy…Precious’ progress is charted in passages that have the power to amuse or shock or touch the heart, sometimes all at once.

The Miss Marple of Botswana.

About the Author

alexandermccallsmith-175Although he is a worldwide recognized expert on issues of medical ethics, Alexander McCall Smith became better known as the author of best-selling adult mysteries. His 1998 book The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, focusing on a female investigator in the African country of Botswana, launched his fiction-writing career into international fame and acclaim. The growing success of his books led him to take a leave of absence from his professorship at the University of Edinburgh and give up his advisory posts related to medical ethics to focus on writing full-time.

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