There is nothing stopping you from just picking up any book in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series and just giving it a read. The books can be enjoyed as stand-alone reads. But I would highly recommend reading the series in the order published. There is much character development throughout the books, so it is enjoyable to follow that progress as it develops.
There is an all-too-short TV series adaptation of the series. I can only highly recommend it. It is an absolute viewing pleasure, encapsulating rather splendidly the feel of the books. It is really well done.
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series
(In chronological order)
1. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (1998)
Precious Ramotswe’s methods may not be conventional, and her manner not exactly Miss Marple, but she’s got warmth, wit and canny intuition on her side, not to mention Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, the charming proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors.
2. Tears of the Giraffe (2000)
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency has become a huge success in Botswana, and its lead detective is gaining quite the reputation. Soon business is so good that her talented secretary Grace Makutsi is promoted to the dizzying heights of Assistant Detective.
3. Morality for Beautiful Girls (2001)
Precious Ramotswe continues her adventures with a cacophony of intriguing cases that lead her into the crazy world of car repairs and beauty pageants. The gifted detective finds business going so well that she has to expand.
4. The Kalahari Typing School for Men (2002)
Mma Precious Ramotswe is content. Her business is well-established with many satisfied customers. She has a house, two adopted children and a fine fiancé. But as always there are challenges. She is a very busy lady and must find the time to juggle her new clients with her personal life. Meanwhile, her able assistant, Mma Makutsi, has decided to establish a typing school for men.
5. The Full Cupboard of Life (2004)
Still engaged to the estimable Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, Mma Ramotswe wonders when a date for her wedding will be named, but she doesn’t want to put too much pressure on her fiancé. Mma herself has other weighty matters on her mind. She has been approached by a wealthy lady and has been asked to check up on several suitors. Are these men interested in the lady or just her money?
6. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (2004)
Precious Ramotswe is busier than ever at the detective agency when she discovers an intruder in her house and a pumpkin on her porch. Her associate, Mma Makutsi, also has a full plate. She’s taken up dance lessons, only to be partnered with a man with two left feet. Mma Ramotswe’s normally unshakable composure is rattled by a visitor who forces her to confront a difficult secret from her past.
7. Blue Shoes and Happiness (2006)
The many problems that lead customers to Mma Ramotswe’s door seem to be multiplying, and no sooner has she settled into her newly married state than she finds herself looking into several troublesome matters at once. And to further complicate matters, Grace Makutsi may have scared off her own fiancé.
8. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (2007)
The cases keep coming into the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, and Mma Makutsi’s impending marriage threatens her happy working relationship with Mma Ramotswe. Will the agency have the manpower to cope? In the midst of this, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni decides to try a little detective work – and naturally, disaster looms.
9. The Miracle at Speedy Motors (2008)
Mma Ramotswe discovers that there are downsides to being the best-known lady detective in Botswana when she receives an anonymous threatening letter. But there are very few problems that cannot be solved with kindness, and very few dry seasons that do not end with welcome rain.
10. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (2009)
Mma Ramotswe ventures into new territory as she attempts to foster understanding between the sexes and find the cause of a football club’s unexpected losing streak. She drinks tea in unfamiliar kitchens and finds that we must dig deep to uncover the goodness of the human heart.
11. The Double Comfort Safari Club (2010)
Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi are called to a safari lodge in Botswana’s Okavango Delta to carry out a delicate mission. The Okavango makes Precious appreciate once again the beauty of her homeland. A paradise of teeming wildlife, majestic grasslands, and sparkling water, it is also home to rival safari operators, fearsome crocodiles, and disgruntled hippopotamuses.
12. The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party (2011)
As the countdown finally begins to Mma Makutsi’s wedding, all is not as it should be at the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. While investigating unpleasant occurrences on a southern cattle-post, Mma Ramotswe has reason to reflect on Rule No. 3 of The Principles of Private Detection: never lie to a client.
13. The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (2012)
Precious Ramotswe is very busy these days. The best apprentice at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors is in trouble with the law. Grace Makutsi and Phuti Radiphuti are embarking on married life and building a new house. Mma Potokwane, the orphan farm’s respected matron, has been dismissed from her post. And help arrives from an unexpected visitor: none other than the estimable Mr. Clovis Andersen, author of The Principles of Private Detection.
14. The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon (2013)
While Mma Makutsi is kept busy with motherhood, Mma Ramotswe must grapple alone with two puzzling cases dealing with family secrets, fraud, and vicious smear campaigns.
15. The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Cafe (2014)
Over the years Mma Ramotswe has found many lost things, but never before has she been asked to help a woman find herself. Meanwhile, motherhood proves to be no obstacle to Mma Makutsi’s professional success, as she launches a new enterprise of her own: The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café. It becomes quickly apparent though that she’s bitten off more than she can chew.
16. The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine (2015)
Business is slow at the agency, so slow in fact that for the first time in her distinguished career, Mma Ramotswe has reluctantly agreed to take a vacation. The week of uninterrupted peace is cut short, however, when she meets Samuel, a wayward young boy with a troubled past.
17. Precious and Grace (2016)
A woman from Australia wants to thank her childhood nursemaid for being such an important part of her life. But Precious has to find this woman first, which proves to be more difficult than first thought. Back at the office, she’s got a team to manage: Mr. Polopetsi, a part-time science teacher and new assistant; Charlie, a former mechanic apprentice, who’s always in deep water; and then there’s the tumultuous but heartwarming friendship with her co-director, the fiery Grace Makutsi.
18. The House of Unexpected Sisters (2017)
Precious Ramotswe has always idolized her father, the late Obed Ramotswe. She feels that she knows all about his life – but does she? The same goes for Mma Makutsi, who also makes certain discoveries about her own past that cause some surprise. Of course, calm eventually prevails. Tea is served, and life continues.
19. The Colors of All the Cattle (2018)
Mma Ramotswe is being persuaded to run for City Council. To be elected, Mma Ramotswe must have a platform and some policies. She will have to get Mma Makutsi’s views. But lurking around the corner, as ever, is the inextinguishable Violet Sephotho, Mma Makutsi’s nemesis since secretarial school.
20. To the Land of Long Lost Friends (2019)
Mma Ramotswe reconnects with an old friend who has been having problems with her daughter. Though Precious feels compelled to lend a hand, she discovers that getting involved in family affairs is always a delicate proposition.
“The stuff that dreams are made of.”
“Happiness in marriage is entirely a
matter of chance.”
If you enjoyed this article, please help us spread the word! Share with your friends or save to Pinterest to read later.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:
- ‘The Glass Ocean’ Book Review: You’ll Love this Historical Mystery Full of Romance
- ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ Book Review: A Futurist, Romantic Parody
- Why You Should be Reading The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series
- ‘The Summer Country’ by Lauren Willig: A Beautiful Historical Epic
- Evelina by Frances Burney: Take a Gander at This Still Fresh, Lesser Known Classic
- Salt to the Sea: Read This Heart-Wrenching Historical Fiction Novel