A Cozy Mystery You Might Like: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

Many of the mysteries I read are called cozy mysteries. One series that I really love and would like to recommend if you like cozy mysteries is the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency written by author Alexander McCall Smith. It is set in Botswana, Africa, and the main character is Mma Precious Ramotswe, who in the first novel decides to open a detective agency, and becomes the only woman detective in Botswana. She uses the money she has inherited from her father, Obed Ramotswe, who recently died, to buy a building and open her agency. She has no experience being a detective, so she uses the book Principles of Private Detection by author Clovis Anderson, and this book is mentioned often in the series. She has an awkward but efficient secretary named Mma Grace Makutski, who graduated from the Botswana Secretarial College. Mma Makutsi also features prominently in all of the books. In the first book, Mma Ramotswe begins doing her detective work and solves some mysteries.

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

There are a couple of things I really liked about this book. First, I liked his descriptions of Botswana. You can tell from reading the book that the author loves the country of Botswana. When I read about the author I found out he was born and raised in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and has been to Botswana many times. Another thing I enjoyed was the way he writes. He writes with what I call a gentle sarcasm—his books are actually quite funny, but the humor is very subtle. He tackles some very serious subjects, but he does so in a way that is very readable. His writing has been described as dry humor, which I think is quite accurate.   

There are now twenty-one books in this series and the next one will be coming out on November 16. I have read them all and have really enjoyed following the stories about the detective agency and the different characters in the novel.


He has written many other novels—up to about a hundred, I believe, and has written many different series. The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series is my favorite, but I have some friends that have read and enjoyed his other novels. If you have not read any of his books yet, I encourage you to give some of them a try.