I should preface this entry by saying that I absolutely love Alexander McCall Smith‘s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency mystery books. While I have them listed as Cozy Mystery books, I have to say that in my opinion, they are more beautiful, character-driven pieces of fiction>>> in which the “mystery part” of the novel is secondary. (I emphasize that this is only my opinion! I consider Alexander McCall Smith one of today’s best storytellers.)
This HBO series was a collaboration with the BBC, and it shows! The episodes are quite true to Alexander McCall Smith’s mystery books, except for the addition of a secondary character (hair dresser) who, to me, is a nice addition. HBO has not added (again my opinion!) their almost-perfunctory nudity and sex scenes… which totally delights me.
The African (Botswana) setting is phenomenal. I am struck by the realistic “look” of the episodes… no slick Hollywood gloss-overs here! The cattle you see are not corn-fed, “beefed-up Hollywood” animals. The roads are dusty, the houses are modest, and the cars look like the type which would keep Mr. J. L.B. Matekoni (Lucian Msamati) busy at his auto repair shop.
Mma Ramotswe (Precious) is superbly played by Jill Scott, but to me, the stand-out performance is Anika Noni Rose as Mma Makutsi (Grace).
I strongly recommend the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency television series. In the past, I have often had problems watching a screen production of a favorite book/series of mine. There have been a few exceptions to this, the Princess Bride is one that comes to mind. This production of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is yet another exception!
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