I’ve been thinking about my blog lately and it occurred to me that I almost never write about the books I read. Reading (mainly fiction) has always been one of the cornerstones of my existence and a common bond I share with most of my friends and family. I read a lot of fantastic books (and some lousy ones too) so you would think that among the frivolity I write about here, I would mention the occasional piece of literature.
Maybe it’s because I read so many books, that I never write about them. Once I’ve finished a book, I’ve moved on to another before I’ve had a chance to sit and jot anything down about it. Going forward, I’d like to share some thoughts about what I’ve been reading. Starting with The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, the novel I finished last night.
Mystery novels are one of my guilty pleasures. I’m especially fond of anything that comes in a series and features a spunky, independent female solver of mysteries (I guess I’ve never really gotten past my Nancy Drew phase). There are so many of these out there, but most of them are mediocre at best. To me, the Sue Grafton alphabet series is the gold standard, but I am always looking for another good one to fill the time in between letters.
I was interested in The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency because the story takes place in Botswana, a refreshing change to a genre that tends to be a little too formulaic at times. I don’t think I’ve ever read a mystery that wasn’t set outside of North America or Europe. I must confess, I had to actually look up Botswana on a map though. My geographic knowledge of Africa was a little hazy.
Overall, it was a good read. The heroine is an older, single woman who used her inheritance to open a detective agency. It was a risky business venture in her country, where traditional gender roles are still the norm. She’s clever and fearless. With her creative approach to solving mysteries she nearly always gets the job done.
While the book was enjoyable, it was also forgettable. There was something missing, although I wasn’t able to pinpoint what that something was. Usually, when I pick up a mystery I have trouble putting it down. I wasn’t in a rush to get though this one and so, I can’t see myself running out to pick up the next volume of this series. Instead, I’ll go back to wondering what V will be for…