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a (mostly) positive view of Africa

December 6, 2009

There is a series of books called “The Ladies’ No. 1 Detective Agency” by Alexander McCall Smith. He is a white Scottish (or English..) man. This series is set in Botswana, which is just north of South Africa. It is a much more stable country than most African nations we are used to seeing on the news. The main character is a lady detective, who inherits some wealth from her father and decides to become a private detective.

I only read part of the first book. I wasn’t in the mood for it at the time, so I did not continue, but the series has sold rather well. These books have been successful enough for HBO to create a show with the same title.

The episodes are filmed in Botswana, and I am guessing most of the cast is from that country as well. The lead character is played by American R&B singer Jill Scott, who I did not know could act. She, it turns out, is an excellent actress, and you will very soon forget she is American. She plays the part perfectly.

My mom has read most, if not all of the books in this series, and says some plots are based on the books, but some are not. If you have read the books already and hope the show will follow the books closely, you will be disappointed.

The show is very, very good, though. There are still bad goings-on in Africa, and some of the stories involve evil-doings by bad people, but this is a mystery show, and it is pretty tough to have mystery stories without nefarious deeds.

Going by HBO’s standards, this program is amazingly tame. No hardcore violence, no graphic sex (just some flirtation and a bit of naughty dancing in the shows I’ve seen), no amazingly-foul language, which is good! Instead, you have some very polite and amusing and smart characters, great stories, and the beautiful settings and landscapes of Botswana.

I have watched the first 6 episodes. They are at least an hour long each, and I think there are 9 episodes total. I will be renting the third disk soon. I just finished the 2nd one an hour ago.

If you want a more positive look at Africa – stories that do not have to do with genocide and the massive outbreak of aids, starvation, etc., and desire some good entertainment for the family, then I highly recommend this series.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2012 4:03 PM

    A wonderful series of books. I am currently reading book no. 13 🙂
    I love the tv series but it is only loosely based on the books, but the choice of actors and the edit is fantastic 🙂

    • tomschronicles permalink
      April 16, 2012 6:45 PM

      Wow! I didn’t realize there were so many of these books! My mom reads them and likes them.

      She says the same thing you do.. that the tv series is only loosely based on the books.

      I agree.. the casting and the acting are great. I’ve quite enjoyed the series, and will likely watch it again someday.

      Thanks very much for your comment.

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