I've never read "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency," by Alexander McCall Smith, though I have watched a few episodes and was quite entertained by them. I imagine they're wonderful reads, though, as I thoroughly enjoyed "The Sunday Philosophy Club," another book by AMS (as I will refer to him in the future). Isabel Dalhousie is a wonderful character who was easy to fall in love with, from her musings on human nature and her philosophizing to her penchant for meddling in affairs she really aught to stay out of. What I loved most is the way her character really examines all of her actions. I know most of us don't really think that deeply (or that honestly) about our behavior, but watching Isabel go through the thought process behind her actions made them feel terribly realistic and reasonable, even when they weren't. It's not an action-packed book by any stretch of the imagination; instead it's a (for me) intense character study.
Not that I think most authors could pull off the navel-gazing half so entertainingly, but I almost wished for more of that kind of intense thoughtfulness in the books I read. I'm also inspired to throw more navel-gazing into my own work. Hey, if it's boring, I can always cut it or streamline it, and if it's interesting my characters will be lifted off the page like Isabel Dalhousie was for me.