It's taken me a while, but I've finally got round to reading the first in the Alexander McCall Smith series The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Having already read several others in the series it was a bit strange going back and being introduced to Mma Ramotswe, Mr J. L. B. Metekoni and Mma Makutsi but the book did pull together several background bits that helped me understand some of the small details in the later books.
Going back a step in this way has really made me realise how much Alexander McCall Smith's style has matured as he has progressed through the series. This book has several much shorter chapters concentrating on some of Mma Ramotswe's shorter cases, whereas later ones in the series seem to concentrate on longer, more complex cases and include many more fine details about the smaller things in Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi's behaviour. It's these details that I enjoy so much in these later books. The small things that make me smile as I read them that are sadly not yet developed in this book.
Some may disagree with me here, butI didn't think this book added that much more to the series as a whole; it's certainly not a prerequisite for the rest. If you're starting from the beginning then I'd suggest reading it, but if you've joined the series part way (like I have) then I don't think it's worthwhile. Sorry!