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Friday, May 21, 2010

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

by Alexander McCall Smith
audiobook: 8.25 hours
narrated by Lisette Lecat

*** About the Book ***

After the death of her father, Precious Ramotswe uses the money he's left her to start her own detective agency - the very first ladies' detective agency in Botswana.  In this first book in the series, Mma Ramotswe hires a secretary and dives into her first cases; these include a wife who suspects her husband is cheating, another wife whose husband is missing, and an inconsistent doctor - just to name a few.

*** Why I Listened To It ***

I'd already seen the HBO miniseries based on this book series so I wasn't really planning to read it. But then my book club chose it for our May read, to bring something light and fun to kick off our summer.  So I checked it out from the library and gave it a shot.

*** My Thoughts ***

I think the fact that I watched the miniseries first may have ruined this book for me.  I loved the show - it was fun, sweet, amusing, and much more - and I was expecting to love the book just as much.  Unfortunately, I felt the the book was a bit slow.  It was still a great story with great characters, but things seemed to drag in places and the humor was much more understated.

The narrator did a fantastic job with this book; I'll definitely look for other books she's worked on!

Here's a preview of the show from HBO.  It doesn't capture all the best parts of the show but you can get an idea of what it was like:

*** Your Thoughts ***

If you've read the books and seen the show, which did you prefer?  Which did you first experience - the book or the show?  Have you ever found that you actually liked a tv/movie adaptation better than the book i was based on?


Amy said...

I kept meaning to watch the show but never got around to it. I was at a bunch of the places where it was filmed earlier this year. I love the fact that it was actually filmed in Botswana! Thanks for reminding me, I have to go watch now!

April (BooksandWine) said...

I haven't seen the show yet, but I greatly enjoyed the book! I should prolly get going on the rest of the series, but not until winter, as to me, mysteries belong in winter. Strange, I know.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I haven't watched the show yet, but I read most of the books in the series a few years ago. They are a bit slow, but I enjoyed the characters, so it worked for me.

I have occasionally liked a movie or show more than a book, though it's rare. I felt that way about Everything is Illuminated. I liked the book a lot, but I felt like the movie did an amazing job really making the beautiful parts of the story stand out.

atla said...

I've not watched the show either (though the trailer makes it look really fun!), but I did listen to this one on audiobook as well and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The narrator did do an excellent job, and I hope to be able to get around to the rest of the series... eventually. I think I'll save them for when I need light reading during a school semester.

SuziQoregon said...

I've listened to rather than read all but the most recent book in the series. I love Lisette Lecat's reading of this series. I've only seen the first episode of the HBO series but enjoyed it a lot after listening to the books. I think they did a great job of casting the major roles. I've only seen the first episode, but I do want to watch more of the series.

Britt said...

The book being slow is EXACTLY why I've not been at all interested in the show. My friend LOVES the books, but I was just bored.

bermudaonion said...

When I started this series, I really enjoyed it, but after a while, I got tired of it. All of the books seemed to be the same.

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Amy - Isn't it fun to recognize places you've been when you watch a show/movie? I hope you enjoy this one.

April - Too funny! But you're not the first person I've heard from who thinks mystery book = wintertime.

Avid Reader - Hmm, I haven't ever heard of Everything Is Illuminated - must go see what it's all about.

atla & SuziQOregon - Lisette Lecat IS fantastic, isn't she?!

Britt - I can see why. But you might enjoy the show - I know I did!

bermudaonion - Hmm, that's good to know!

Alyce said...

I liked his Sunday Philosophy Club (Isabel Dalhousie) series much better. I tried to read the first book, and honestly I got bored and quit. I still own a copy and figure I'll give it another try someday because everyone seems to love it so much, and I already know that I like his writing from other books.

Marg said...

I like AMS books as a change of pace. They are like sitting down and having a cup of tea, relaxing. Admittedly some of the books are better than others, and some times the mystery elements are a bit weak, but I keep reading.

I read the books before I saw the series. I really loved actually seeing Botswana because there were certain elements where my imagination was very different from the actual way things looked.

Beth F said...

I liked the series -- though we didn't watch every show. I couldn't get through the book -- I tried it in print and audio. I think it just dragged for me. I know I'm in the minority, but he is just not my favorite author.

Rebecca Reid said...

Definitely it is different to put this humor on screen. I really enjoyed the understated tone of the books. So great. The movie was good. I was sad it wasn't continued because it fun seeing the characters I liked come on screen!

Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

Alyce - I haven't read any of his other books, and I'm not planning to at this point - he just didn't capture my attention enough, you know?

Marg - Yes, I can see the comparison! The books are definitely slow-paced and calm, just like a cup of tea. :)

Beth F - I'm right there with you!

Rebecca - I'm disappointed that there weren't more episodes as well.

Gina said...

Have neither read the book nor seen the show, but I do have it penciled in on my shopping list to try in the future. Regarding the slow aspect...I think that's just a common tool used in the Mystery genre. The two that I've read (which by no means makes me an expert) were much the same way. Good stories overall but slow to move from page to page. Happy reading!

Literary Feline said...

I really enjoy this series and consider it among my comfort reads. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this first book more.

I'm also a fan of the show, but I had read several books in the series before seeing it so that may have made a difference.

Unknown said...

I read the first book, and maybe the second (I don't really remember). I enjoyed the novel, but it was very slow. I couldn't listen to it on my drive to work because it would put me to sleep. I haven't seen the show tho.

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