Any time Alan and I travel very far by car, we like to bring along an audio book to help keep us alert after we’ve exhausted our mental reservoirs of “things to share next time we’re on vacation.” Cindi had recommended The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith. I’d never heard of either the book or author, although I’ve since learned that this particular book has sold over 20 million copies and is an international success. Furthermore, he’s written more than 90 books over time! Alexander McCall Smith taught law at the University of Botswana (which is likely where he got inspiration for this mystery series) and medical law at the University of Edinburgh, so he’s a very insightful student of culture and human nature as well as forensics. Alan and I were totally charmed by The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. The story is about an unusually clever young woman who grew up in Botswana, Mma “Precious” Ramotswe, who uses the money she inherits from her father to set up a detective agency. Most of the crimes are not too gruesome, and all are used as foils for exploring human nature and passing along rich insights into life …especially the life, plight, and buoyancy of the African people. I definitely affirm the appraisal offered on the back cover: “Chosen as a top ten mystery by the Organization of Independent Booksellers, U.S.A., The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is that rare novel that imparts a sage wisdom while inspiring hearty laughter and lasting smiles.” Well said, and well done. The narrator for the audio book, Lisette Lecat, does a superb job, bringing to life to sounds and characters of the African bush. I’m sure Alan and I will look for other of Smith’s books. Some titles are available at the public library, but new and used copies of his works can be purchased through Amazon. Smith is on Facebook. He and his wife have two daughters and live in Scotland, but I just noticed that he’s on his way to cross Canada in a 4-city celebratory tour for his latest book, The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine. Wanna go?