He made his directorial debut until 1991 with Truly, Madly, Deeply and promptly won several international awards for this independent gem. The English Patient (1996), adapted from Michael Ondaatje's novel, won nine of the 13 Oscars for which it was nominated, including Best Picture and Best Director.
His two follow-ups -- The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), based on Patricia Highsmith's thriller, and Cold Mountain (2003), based on Charles Frazier's Civil War drama -- were fairly well received, boasting great casts, smart scripts and beautiful cinematography. Minghella died an early death on March 18, 2008 from complications after a routine surgery. His last completed project was an adaptation of the novel The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.
Precious Ramotswe plies her trade as a private investigator in Botswana, uncovering corruption and malfeasance with the help of auto repair shop proprietor Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and a preternaturally gifted typist named Mma Makutsi.