The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Movie Tie-in Edition): A No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel (1) (Anglais) Broché – 10 mars 2009
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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.
But there was also the view, which again could appear on no inventory. How could any such list describe what one saw when one looked out from Mma Ramotswe's door? To the front, an acacia tree, the thorn tree which dots the wide edges of the Kalahari; the great white thorns, a warning; the olive-grey leaves, by contrast, so delicate. In its branches, in the late afternoon, or in the cool of the early morning, one might see a Go-Away Bird, or hear it, rather. And beyond the acacia, over the dusty road, the roofs of the town under a cover of trees and scrub bush; on the horizon, in a blue shimmer of heat, the hills, like improbable, overgrown termite mounds.
Everybody called her Mma Ramotswe, although if people had wanted to be formal, they would have addressed her as Mme Mma Ramotswe. This is the right thing for a person of stature, but which she had never used of herself. So it was always Mma Ramotswe, rather than Precious Ramotswe, a name which very few people employed.
She was a good detective, and a good woman. A good woman in a good country, one might say. She loved her country, Botswana, which is a place of peace, and she loved Africa, for all its trials. I am not ashamed to be called an African patriot, said Mma Ramotswe. I love all the people whom God made, but I especially know how to love the people who live in this place. They are my people, my brothers and sisters. It is my duty to help them to solve the mysteries in their lives. That is what I am called to do.
In idle moments, when there were no pressing matters to be dealt with, and when everybody seemed to be sleepy from the heat, she would sit under her acacia tree. It was a dusty place to sit, and the chickens would occasionally come and peck about her feet, but it was a place which seemed to encourage thought. It was here that Mma Ramotswe would contemplate some of the issues which, in everyday life, may so easily be pushed to one side.
Everything, thought Mma Ramotswe, has been something before. Here I am, the only lady private detective in the whole of Botswana, sitting in front of my detective agency. But only a few years ago there was no detective agency, and before that, before there were even any buildings here, there were just the acacia trees, and the riverbed in the distance, and the Kalahari over there, so close.
In those days there was no Botswana even, just the Bechuanaland Protectorate, and before that again there was Khama's Country, and lions with the dry wind in their manes. But look at it now: a detective agency, right here in Gaborone, with me, the fat lady detective, sitting outside and thinking these thoughts about how what is one thing today becomes quite another thing tomorrow.
Mma Ramotswe set up the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency with the proceeds of the sale of her father's cattle. He had owned a big herd, and had no other children; so every single beast, all one hundred and eighty of them, including the white Brahmin bulls whose grandparents he had bred himself, went to her. The cattle were moved from the cattle post, back to Mochudi where they waited, in the dust, under the eyes of the chattering herd boys, until the livestock agent came.
They fetched a good price, as there had been heavy rains that year, and the grass had been lush. Had it been the year before, when most of that southern part of Africa had been wracked by drought, it would have been a different matter. People had dithered then, wanting to hold on to their cattle, as without your cattle you were naked; others, feeling more desperate, sold, because the rains had failed year after year and they had seen the animals become thinner and thinner. Mma Ramotswe was pleased that her father's illness had prevented his making any decision, as now the price had gone up and those who had held on were well rewarded.
"I want you to have your own business," he said to her on his death bed. "You'll get a good price for the cattle now. Sell them and buy a business. A butchery maybe. A bottle store. Whatever you like."
She held her father's hand and looked into the eyes of the man she loved beyond all others, her Daddy, her wise Daddy, whose lungs had been filled with dust in those mines and who had scrimped and saved to make life good for her.
It was difficult to talk through her tears, but she managed to say: "I'm going to set up a detective agency. Down in Gaborone. It will be the best one in Botswana. The No. 1 Agency."
For a moment her father's eyes opened wide and it seemed as if he was struggling to speak.
"But . . . but . . ."
But he died before he could say anything more, and Mma Ramotswe fell on his chest and wept for all the dignity, love and suffering that died with him.
She had a sign painted in bright colours, which was then set up just off the Lobatse Road, on the edge of town, pointing to the small building she had purchased: the no. 1 ladies' detective agency. for all confidential matters and enquiries. satisfaction guaranteed for all parties. under personal management.
There was considerable public interest in the setting up of her agency. There was an interview on Radio Botswana, in which she thought she was rather rudely pressed to reveal her qualifications, and a rather more satisfactory article in The Botswana News, which drew attention to the fact that she was the only lady private detective in the country. This article was cut out, copied, and placed prominently on a small board beside the front door of the agency.
After a slow start, she was rather surprised to find that her services were in considerable demand. She was consulted about missing husbands, about the creditworthiness of potential business partners, and about suspected fraud by employees. In almost every case, she was able to come up with at least some information for the client; when she could not, she waived her fee, which meant that virtually nobody who consulted her was dissatisfied. People in Botswana liked to talk, she discovered, and the mere mention of the fact that she was a private detective would let loose a positive outpouring of information on all sorts of subjects. It flattered people, she concluded, to be approached by a private detective, and this effectively loosened their tongues. This happened with Happy Bapetsi, one of her earlier clients. Poor Happy! To have lost your daddy and then found him, and then lost him again . . .
"I used to have a happy life," said Happy Bapetsi. "A very happy life. Then this thing happened, and I can't say that any- more."
Mma Ramotswe watched her client as she sipped her bush tea. Everything you wanted to know about a person was written in the face, she believed. It's not that she believed that the shape of the head was what counted--even if there were many who still clung to that belief; it was more a question of taking care to scrutinise the lines and the general look. And the eyes, of course; they were very important. The eyes allowed you to see right into a person, to penetrate their very essence, and that was why people with something to hide wore sunglasses indoors. They were the ones you had to watch very carefully.
Now this Happy Bapetsi was intelligent; that was immediately apparent. She also had few worries--this was shown by the fact that there were no lines on her face, other than smile lines of course. So it was man trouble, thought Mma Ramotswe. Some man has turned up and spoilt everything, destroying her happiness with his bad behaviour.
"Let me tell you a little about myself first," said Happy Bapetsi. "I come from Maun, you see, right up on the Okavango. My mother had a small shop and I lived with her in the house at the back. We had lots of chickens and we were very happy.
"My mother told me that my Daddy had left a long time ago, when I was still a little baby. He had gone off to work in Bulawayo and he had never come back. Somebody had written to us--another Motswana living there--to say that he thought that my Daddy was dead, but he wasn't sure. He said that he had gone to see somebody at Mpilo Hospital one day and as he was walking along a corridor he saw them wheeling somebody out on a stretcher and that the dead person on the stretcher looked remarkably like my Daddy. But he couldn't be certain.
"So we decided that he was probably dead, but my mother did not mind a great deal because she had never really liked him very much. And of course I couldn't even remember him, so it did not make much difference to me.
"I went to school in Maun at a place run by some Catholic missionaries. One of them discovered that I could do arithmetic rather well and he spent a lot of time helping me. He said that he had never met a girl who could count so well.
"I suppose it was very odd. I could see a group of figures and I would just remember it. Then I would find that I had added the figures in my head, even without thinking about it. It just came very easily--I didn't have to work at it at all.
"I did very well in my exams and at the end of the day I went off to Gaborone and learned how to be a bookkeeper. Again it was very simple for me; I could look at a whole sheet of figures and understand it immediately. Then, the next day, I could remember every figure exactly and write them all down if I needed to.
"I got a job in the bank and I was given promotion after promotion. Now I am...
Revue de presse
—The Plain Dealer
“Smart and sassy...Precious’ progress is charted in passages that have the power to amuse or shock or touch the heart, sometimes all at once.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Enthralling…. [Mma Ramotswe] is someone readers can't help but love.”
“Characters…who are as familiar as neighbors and as welcome as the best of friends.”
“The Miss Marple of Botswana.”
—The New York Times Book Review
"One of the most entrancing literary treats of many a year.... A tapestry of extraordinary nuance and richness."
—The Wall Street Journal
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Cette forte femme africaine est en passe de devenir la femme forte des enquêteurs tous continents confondus. Mma prolonge et renouvelle la tradition des Holmes, des Poirot, des Maigret, des Burma ...
Le dépaysement est complet: les enquêtes sont menées sans recherche d'ADN, sans micros miniaturisés, sans jumelles à infra rouges, sans violence! L'enquêtrice n'est pas une top model mais une femme qui pèse bien son poids et en est fière. Le pays choisi - le Botswana - offre un double dépaysement, il nous amène en Afrique mais dans une Afrique qui ne met pas en scéne tous les clichés attendus :les guerre tribales, la famine, le pouvoir corrompu...certes les crocodiles et les sorciers sont là, mais la démocratie, la solidarité ancestral aussi.
Le génie de McCall Smith, par ailleurs universitaire spécialiste de droit médical, est de nous faire goûter et aimer le rythme paisible de Mma Ramotswe et des Tswana, les habitants du Botswana, de nous faire trouver du plaisir à lenteur de ses enquêtes, à la mincer des affaires qu'elle résoud, car chez Mma, au Botswana ce qui compte ce sont les êtres et le bonheur de nouer des relations avec eux.
C'est dans un style simple à l'image de son héroïne, qu'Alexander McCall Smith, qui a longtemps vécu au Botswana, nous offre sans l'air d'y toucher une contribution à la connaisance ethnologique de l'Afrique, sa méthode: la tendresse.
These beliefs are just part of the basic philosophy of the central character, Mma Precious Ramotswe, the first lady detective in Botswana, who imparts her basic moral philosophy at the same time - murder is worse than lying, relationships are more important than money, intuition is a kind of knowledge. While all of this philosophy may seem clichéd, as perhaps it is, it appears naturally in the book as part of the character and helps us to understand her approach to solving the cases brought to her.
Woven throughout all of this is a picture of Botswana, considered by Ramotswe, and presumably McCall Smith, as the best and most successful country in Africa. Independent from the British since 1966, there is enormous pride in her accomplishments, and only the ongoinging black magic practices of some of the country's witchdoctors cast a shadow on the shining accomplishments of Botswana's diamond-fueled progress.
Most powerfully of all, it is the love of the land that sings throughout the book. Botswana - stretching from the Kalahari desert to the Limpopo river, a country where « there is a place for me, and for everybody, to sit down on this earth and touch it and call it their own ».Lire la suite ›
Mma Ramotswe est brillante à sa manière. Tout comme l'agent secret Jaime Bunda de Pepetela, on a l'impression qu'elle suit des pistes à la limite du fantasque, mais à la fin, parvient à réussir à résoudre ses cas.
Commentaires client les plus récents
La livraison était très rapide: avant la date prévue. Très agréable de pouvoir acheter le livre dans sa version originale. Lire la suitePublié il y a 9 mois par CASSANDRA
J'ai adoré ce bouquin ! Un anglais facile à comprendre et un auteur qui nous plonge dans les travers quotidiens en Afrique avec beaucoup d'humour !Publié il y a 9 mois par Valérie Demanne
Premier livre commandé a été perdu, 2 mails envoyés . Du coup un nouveau livre à été expédié. Lire la suitePublié il y a 15 mois par Client d'Amazon
aucune mauvaise surprise avec ce livre. Il est conforme à l'état annoncé par le vendeur. Lire la suitePublié le 5 octobre 2014 par Denise WALSER
I really enjoy reading this serie.
It is fresh, with real people, I plan to read it to the end !
Comme les autres romans où l'on suit les enquêtes de Precious Ramostwe, on se laisse vite bercer par ce rythme langoureux du Bostwana et cet amour de l'Afrique... Lire la suitePublié le 6 mai 2014 par Star79
A fast flowing story set, Tears of the Giraffe is one of the best books I have read. With good values expressed through characters that are lively, this book showed a beautiful... Lire la suitePublié le 3 février 2014 par Peter Jones
Si vous n'êtes pas bilingue mais vous voulez lire en anglais, alors ce livre est pour vous.
Les phrases et mots sont simples. Lire la suite
Sympathique et exotique, les enquêtes de The N°1 Ladies Detective Agency sont toujours résolues avec pour arme principale un bons-sens terrien qui n'est pas sans être... Lire la suitePublié le 30 mai 2013 par Florence
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