The late Anthony Minghella, who directed the pilot, called 'No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' a quiet poem of Botswana. He discovered a great love for the country and its people. Could you tell us what made Botswana so attractive to you?
People often say, when you visit Botswana that you are likely to be impressed by the spirituality of the place. Not in a religious sense, but just a sense of human spirituality, and spiritual possibilities. And, you can't help but be bowled over by the magnificence of the country, by the sense of being in this great natural theater of light and wonderful expanses of countryside and intense natural beauty. It's very moving. It's overwhelming. I fell in love with it.
So how did you come to set a detective agency in Botswana?
It's a great literary device in that, if one were trying to tell the story about a country, about a town, or place, in a detective agency every day somebody can come in with a fresh issue, a fresh problem. These books aren't about crime. What they're about is somebody who helps other people with the problems in their lives.
How would you describe Mma Ramotswe's detective work?
She is somebody who has a very sound, intuitive knowledge of what's what. And she has a very straightforward approach to solving mysteries. She takes the view that if you want to find out something, go and ask somebody, and they'll give you the answer. It's not very complex. But that's what life is like; life isn't like a mystery novel normally. Life is really quite straightforward. I think the little instants of our lives, the little challenges, the little peculiarities, the little amusing incidents are capable of saying a great deal. One can make really profound remarks about the world without resorting to all this tough and violent and distressing stuff.