Being Mma Ramotswe

The new #1 Ladies Detective Agency book is here! The new #1 Ladies Detective Agency Book is here!


Yeah, it’s true. The new #1 Ladies Detective Agency book (The Good Husband of Zebra Drive) is here. If you haven’t read the whole series, you need to go out right now and get the first one in paperback, or at the library, and read them all the way through. They’re all the same, it’s true, but they’re also all different, and the cycling through the sameness and differences builds in power over the course of the series.

It sounds goofy to me to talk about how profoundly beautiful and wonderful these books are. I want you who haven’t experienced them to seek them out, so I want to talk about how amazing they are. But I don’t want to build up expectations that will only be realized slowly, gradually, as the stories unfold.

Hm. It’s something of a dilemma. I’ll have to think about that while looking at the big, beautiful sky above Carpinteria. And while I’m doing that, you can go to this page at, and see if they’ll send you the first book for free: Alexander McCall Smith exclusive. “While supplies last”, it says, and that was posted a few weeks ago, so you may need some luck there. But it also has an mp3 of Alexander McCall Smith reading a new short story based on Mma Ramotswe, which I haven’t listened to yet, so we’ve both got that to look forward to regardless.

In the meantime, I thought this was cute: Apparently a Hollywood adaptation is being done, which is worrisome, but the director is Anthony Minghella, who really is the perfect choice, and the screenplay was co-written by Richard Curtis, so that’ll probably be okay. And then there was this interesting passage in an article on the website of the (South African) Cape Film Commission, quoting from the Sunday Times of London (isn’t the Web wonderful?) Tlou mum over Mma Ramotswe role.

Botswana Minister of Health, Prof Sheila Tlou remains mum over media reports that she is the number one contender for the role of Mma Ramotswe in the multi million pula Hollywood production. Reports from the UK link the minister to the coveted role in the US$40 million film based on serialised novel No. 1 Ladies Detective by Alexander McCall Smith.

UK- based newspaper Sunday Times has quoted the author of the serialised novel, rooting for the health minister: There is one person who is really keen to play Mma Ramotswe and who has played her twice on the amateur stage in Gaborone and that’s the minister of health, Sheila Tlou.

In my view she is Mma Ramotswe and in her view she is Mma Ramotswe, the paper quoted the author.

I can not comment on what international newspapers have reported. It is just speculation right now and we will cross that bridge when the time comes, Prof Tlou said.

See, the reason that’s cute is this passage from the latest book. Mma Ramotswe and her adopted daughter, Motholeli, are up early, and Motholeli asks Mma Ramotswe if she ever thinks about whether she’d like to be someone else. This causes Mma Ramotswe to reflect on the people in her life, and the whole passage is great, including a beautiful payoff at the end, but as much as I’d like to I’m not going to quote the whole thing, so you’ll just have to get the book and read it, and again, read the whole series leading up to it so you get the full impact.

But I have to quote this part:

Motholeli, the cause of this train of thought, now interrupted it; there was to be no enumeration of the consolations of being forty-ish. “Well, Mma,” she said. “Who would you be? The Minister of Health?”

The Minister, the wife of that great man, Professor Thomas Tlou, had recently visited Motholeli’s school to present prizes and had delivered a stirring address to the pupils. Motholeli had been particularly impressed and had talked about it at home.

“She is a very fine person,” said Mma Ramotswe. “And she wears very beautiful headdresses. I would not mind being Sheila Tlou… if I had to be somebody else. But I am quite happy, really, being Mma Ramotswe, you know. There is nothing wrong with that, is there?”

Nope. Nothing at all.

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