The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

no 1 ladiesBook – I enjoy listening to audiobooks, especially when they are set in foreign places so that I can familiarize myself with the correct pronunciations of the places and the characters’ names. One series that I am particularly fond of is The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, read by Lisette Lecat. Currently there are 14 books in the series and I never tire of listening to the further adventures of Precious Ramotswe, a “traditionally built” woman who decides to become Botswana’s one and only lady private detective and purchases a detective agency with the money left to her by her beloved deceased father. Instead of using high tech gadgets and weapons Precious solves her cases using her intuition, intelligence, likable demeanor, and the assistance of her secretary Grace Makutsi. Though the cases are not high profile, they are of utmost importance to her clients and thus handled with sensitivity and the highest priority. Mma Ramotswe’s goodness, wisdom, humor and love of Africa shine through the stories and McCall Smith does a wonderful job of placing us in her land and relationships through his vivid descriptions and tone. The other characters are also likable and it is interesting to see how they develop and interact as the series continues. Reader Lisette Lecat transports listeners to Botswana and gives personality to each character with her incredible array of accents. Her narration adds immensely to the overall appeal of this delightful series. Start with The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency and enjoy.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

stormfrontBook – In Storm Front, Jim Butcher introduces Chicago’s own wizard named Harry, Harry Dresden. The sarcastic yet vulnerable Harry derives much of his living from consulting for local law enforcement. The detective story format used for Harry’s stories gives them a 1940s’ film noir quality. In this introduction to Harry’s world, he is called in to investigate a double homicide, apparently committed with dark magic. His investigation is complicated because he’s trying not to taint his own reputation after a mysterious death in his past placed him on probation under the rule of the wizard’s council. This 300 page book is a quick read with plenty of inventive action and mysteries to unravel. Butcher has created a detailed world of magic as well as a memorable cast of characters that inspired the TV series The Dresden Files. The library collection contains 15 books in this series as well as eMedialibrary editions such as eAudiobooks that are performed with the well matched narration of James Marsters (who played Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer).