Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

I've been slowly reading the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" books by Alexander McCall Smith. I'm reading them slowly because I like them, and I find that if I read a series too quickly, I tend not to enjoy the later books as much. I think I've read five books in the series over the last couple of years, and there are a few more to go.

Usually the more I love a book, the more I hate the movie. However, HBO has made a TV series based on these books, and it's wonderful. I knew Jill Scott was a great singer, but I hadn't realized that she could also act. She seems perfectly cast as the lead character, Precious Ramotswe. When I first saw Anika Noni Rose onscreen, the actress who plays the detective agency's secretary, I thought it was terrible casting. The character, Grace Makutsi, is plain and awkward, while the actress is beautiful. I've always hated the idea that if a beautiful woman wears glasses, she looks plain. But Ms. Rose is so funny and plays her part so well, that within a few minutes I couldn't imagine her as anyone but Grace Makutsi. My mom compared her to Lucille Ball, and it's not a bad comparison.

The TV series is filmed on location in Botswana, and the setting adds a lot to the stories. You can see for yourself the beauty that Precious Ramotswe is always describing in the books. The series also does a good job with the tone of the stories, which varies from comical to serious to eerily supernatural. Precious Ramotswe's cases deal with everything from cheating husbands to insurance fraud to witch doctors, and she approaches them all with determination, compassion, and a thirst for justice.

I highly recommend both the books and the series. If you don't get HBO, I'm sure it will be released on DVD in a few months.

1 comment:

MommaOh said...

I love this series and can so relate to the frequently used line, "I have the traditional african figure." It is a run don't walk type of televison series and I am patiently waiting for the second season.