Precious and the Zebra Necklace by Alexander McCall Smith
Published by Birlinn Ltd
If you’ve read Alexander McCall Smith’s series, The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, or seen the television version, then this story will be familiar to you. It’s a lovely introduction for young readers to the stories of Precious Ramotswe and her detective cases – and just as lovely for those who are a bit grown up.
Sometimes we wonder about the child behind the adult. This book takes us back to the childhood of Precious Ramotswe, the owner of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency (the only one) in Botswana, Africa. We see that even as a child, Precious loved to solve mysteries and help people.
Precious and the Zebra Necklace captures friendship, trust, kindness, love and hope – but don’t let that lead you to think it’s a soppy story. Each page turned, steps the reader into village life in Botswana. The young and curious Precious Ramotswe takes the reader a little further out – to the edge of the desert, where danger lurks and some of that friendship, trust and kindness is found.
The author subtly encourages the reader to use their imagination (there’s a picture of a cake, and if you scratch it, you can smell the cake – but the smell’s not coming from the page – it’s all in your head!). There are snippets of wisdom along the way which fit so easily into the story that it feels like the wisdom is passed on to the reader, not preached to the reader. The book is dotted with illustrations which are simple – only three colours are used throughout, yet perfectly paired with the story.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable story that is so comfortable to read, that who-ever does, will surely be the new No.1 fan of Precious Ramotswe and The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Title: Precious and the Zebra Necklace
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd
Published: September 2015