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Mma Ramotswe had a detective agency in Africa, at the foot of Kgale Hill. These were its assets: a tiny white van, two desks, two chairs, a telephone, and an old typewriter. Then there was a teapot, in which Mma Ramotswe – the only lady private detective in Botswana – brewed redbush tea. And three mugs – one for herself, one for her secretary, and one for the client. What else does a detective agency really need? Detective agencies rely on human intuition and intelligence, both of which Mma Ramotswe had in abundance. No inventory would ever include those, of course.
from: The no. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
Crime in a Certain Corner of Africa
Africa is a vast continent, a home to different nations and cultures. Concerning crime fiction there are novels based on the colonial legacy as well as thrillers dealing with today’s excrescences of terrorism. There are novels combining civil war activities, violent recruitment of child soldiers and genocid rushes of the recent past with present criminal offenses as well as state-of-the-art detective stories in modern cities resp. megacities with all collateral damages like bribery, perversion of justice, unjustified enrichment, fraud, political manoeuvres … whatever.
However, there is also Gaborone, capital of Botswana, a quiet peaceful countryside, where all people seem to live an unhurried life. Well … it seems so. If there weren’t any crime nobody would need a private detective agency. Mma Ramotswe managing the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency would be out-of-work.
Mma Ramotswe set up her agency after her father’s death when being able to invest some part of her inheritance in her future by selling some cattle. Years ago when rather young she fell in love with the wrong man, on the spur of the moment in love, then abused, next moment alone with a baby dying within days. Mma Ramotswe, a traditional built woman, doesn’t give up. She realizes her dream of self-employment and become a private detective.
Slowly clients appear and Mma Ramotswe starts working and makes a name for herself. The stream of clients grows. Although she hasn’t got any education or training concerning the work of a detective she is always successful relying on her knowledge, her experience and her good judgement. Well, she sometimes seeks advice from a book about The Principles of Private Detection.
What happens in Gaborone and Botswana?
There are husbands and wives who like escapades. There are teenage daughters and sons who like to try living on their own principles always including alcohol or drugs and men/women somewhat older. There are burglaries the police doesn’t seem to handle appropriately. There are cases of fraud. People vanish into thin air. There are cases of inheritance … Sometimes people die and someone thinks that further investigations might be necessary.
If the police force isn’t interested or thinking that there is no crime Mma Ramotswe will help. She shares her small office with her secretary, Grace Makutsi, who once graduated from Gaborone’s Secretary Colleges with the phenomenal result of 92%. Over the years Mma Makutsi becomes an assistant detective, an associate detective and finally a partner. Together both women tackle all cases who end up on their doorstep.
Both are married and there are children. Mma Ramotswe marries Rra J. L. B. Matekoni, the owner of the neighboring car repair shop. Mma Makutsi is married to Rra Radiphuti, the owner of furniture company, and they have a son. Mma Ramotswe and her husband have adopted two resp. three foster children. So there is always quite a lot of work waiting at home.
… and you may be sure that there are always funny events around the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, the garage, the homes … You may also be sure that Mma Ramotswe always is in the know at the end and will separate foul play from quirky coincidences.
Mma Ramotswe’s adventures are comfort reading at its finest!