Okay, so I just watched the pilot of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency on HBO, and of course it was as delightful as I was hoping it would be.
Most of it was a pretty faithful adaptation, and what changes they made all seemed very sensible to me. The addition of the swishy gay hairdresser friend, for example, in the person of Desmond Dube: in the novels there are innumerable passages representing Mma Ramotswe’s inner monologue; the only way to convey these thoughts on film is to give her somebody to speak them to. Or, I suppose, to have her speak them to herself, thereby making everybody around think she was a crazy person and cringe from her in fear, which was not I think what the show’s producers were going for, so the swishy gay hairdresser friend it is.
Except they seem to have left out the part about how in Botswana homosexual sex is punishable by up to seven years’ hard labor. Actual prosecutions are apparently rare, but, from what I can divine, Botswana isn’t the kind of place where a boy can flounce around talking about being uninterested in women and not risk getting beaten up, even in big cities like Gaborone. So what gives?