The Good Husband of Zebra Drive: The New Novel in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series
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The eighth installment in the universally beloved, internationally bestselling series.

In the life of Mma Ramotswe – a woman duly proud of her fine traditional build – there is rarely a dull moment, and in her newest round of adventures, challenges and intrigues, the same certainly holds true. But one thing above all else is keeping her occupied – her estimable husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni. He has been hinting for some time now that he intends to do something special for their adopted daughter, Motholeli, and it seems that the time for this good deed has come. Of course, good deed or not, his plan is bound to hit some snags. And that’s when he will undoubtedly consider himself doubly – perhaps even triply – lucky to be married to the ever-resourceful, ever-understanding Precious Ramotswe.

From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • Heartwarming story
    I've read all the Ladies' Detective Agency novels so far (along with some of his other series), and I enjoy them more and more. This book gives much more depth to the character of J. L. B. Matekoni, along with the other primary characters. It just makes me want to go to Botswana and meet all these lovely people....more info
  • Another Worthwhile Additon
    Mma Ramotswe is solving mysteries again. This time her husband Mr.JLB Matekoni believes that he too may have the skills to be a detective, afterall how hard can it be? So begins the lastest installment of Alexander McCall Smith's No.1 Ladies Dective Agency Series. As usual McCall Smith's warm writing and colorful characters make for easy, joyful reading. As in the last books, often the stories revolve around the characters relationships and descriptions of life in Botswana. Again as in the other books, Mma Makutsi plays a major role as she considers if she's outgrown her position at the agency. Particularly staisfying in this story is the mystery that is being solved at the local hospital. Readers will not be disappointed with this latest installment as McCall Smith delivers with his usual charm and warmth all the characters we love, living life and solving mysteries in Africa....more info
  • The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
    McCall Smith's characters remind us of a calmer, saner place where we can go, if not in person, through the eyes and minds and experiences of his very human people. Keep 'em coming. ...more info
  • Very good, like others in the series, but verging on formulaic
    Anyone who has enjoyed previous books in this series will enjoy this one as well, with its refreshingly grounded, yet subtly lyrical, outlook on life in a land that is both primal and as familiar as one's everyday routine. The essential decency and common-sense insight of Mma Ramotswe, the central character, is restorative and inspirational. And yet, with the series continuing in many volumes, there is a danger of it becoming formulaic, and repetitive. I enjoy each book, but I'm almost reluctant to read each new one, apprehensive that it will seem a clockwork repetition. It would be a shame if the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency were to become a mass-production....more info
  • more stories about gentle souls
    Alexander McCall Smith has done a great job of putting Mayberry, North Carolina in Botswana, with a cast of characters that live life at an easy pace with gentle loving spirits. But there is a bit of restlessness down at Tlokweng Road, where both Mma Makutsi and Charlie, the older apprentice start to think about new employment. And Mr J. L. B. Matekoni wonders if his life needs a new bit of excitement. The reader knows that all will work its way out, as it always does in these precious stories. Humerous endings occur to the mysteries brought to the detectives. Another excellent entry in this outstanding series....more info
  • love this series....
    I've read all the books in the series, thus far, and really enjoy the relaxed pace and humanity of these books. The detective stories are really secondary to the storyline of the book. The focus of the books is really about consideration of others, humanity and the ways of Africa . It's a nice change of pace and the main character, Precious, is sly and clever. In this fast-paced rat-race world, these books are a very welcome respite. They're good for the soul!...more info
  • Wrong Address
    I had given the wrong address but the seller was patient and gave me a refund. I will use him again....more info
  • The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
    Recommended reading. It is a humorous story about the gentle and kind man who is husband to the head of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, woven in with the details of cases and training apprentices. The author does a good job describing details of life in a small town with humorous events that take place....more info
  • The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
    Another A.M.Smith's upbeat and sensible effort. Leaves one in a positive frame of mind. Another in the matchless No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series....more info
  • Great condiction, fsst shipping
    Loved the whole series of books, this was the last. Great condiciton, fast shipping...more info
  • Another charmer
    What can I say? This is another charming installment in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. I wish Mma Ramotswe and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni really existed so I could meet them. At any rate, this series makes me want to visit Botswana. If you liked the other books, you will definitely like this one. If you are starting out, read them in order from the beginning....more info
  • Series is still remarkable; characters endearing
    For me there is no other author like Alexander McCall Smith. He can string words and thoughts together like no other and his characters are real and endearing (or infuriating as in the case of Charlie the apprentice). One of the subplots in Good Husband is Charlie's business venture as he sets off to start the No. 1 Ladies' Taxi Service in a revamped Mercedes from Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors.You might imagine how that turns out. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni tries his hand at detective work and Mma Makutsi decides she needs to leave the detective agency and find new employment in another field.

    Along with the above circumstances, other challenges present themselves to the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Mma Botumile, a most rude, arrogant, and unpleasant woman who believes her husband is being unfaithful to her; disappearing supplies from the print shop of Teenie; and three suspicious deaths at a hospital in Mochudi. Precious Ramotswe takes on the hospital deaths, Grace Makutsi the print shop thiefs, and Mr J.L.B. Matekoni follows the unfaithful husband.

    These scenarios, along with more African lure, and a brief, but engaging visit with the orphanage home owner, Mma Potokwane, create another wonderful story that will stand the test of time. I have started reading this series to my elderly mother who is now almost blind from macro degeneration and can no longer read for herself. She thoroughly enjoys them.

    Another winner for AMS.

    Carolyn Rowe Hill...more info
  • Another delightful book
    This is yet another delightful read about our favorite "traditional" lady of Botswana. She continues to solve her clients' problems with simple common sense and a belief in the goodness of people. The characters in this series of books are so endearing, and Alexander McCall Smith makes you long for the simplicity of life that he portrays so well. I recommend the 'No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series to anyone, and look forward to many more....more info
  • It's About People, Not Plot
    I loved the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series when it first appeared, but like so many things in life, as I read further entries in the series, they grew progressively less enchanting. Perfectly fun and readable, but somewhat familiar and no longer greatly anticipated, until I stopped after the fifth. Needing something fairly simple for short a car ride, I picked up the audio version of this eighth in the series, and revisited the familiar characters and their beloved Botswana.

    This installment features three separate cases for the detective agency, all of which underscore the book's (and series') main theme: personal relationships. Mma. Ramotswe is asked by a distant relative to investigate the mysterious deaths of three patients at the hospital he works at. Mma. Makutsi is assigned a case in which the owner of a printing company suspects one of their employees of theft. Finally, Rra.Matekoni even gets in the act, and takes up a case which involves tailing a suspected wayward husband.

    However, these cases act more as subplots than anything else, as the real focus is on the family of main characters. There's Mma. Makutsi's impending marriage and financial security, which leads her to question the need for her job. There's Rra. Matekoni's insecurity about his marriage to Mma. Ramotswe. There's even apprentice Charley, seeking to leave the garage to embark on grand schemes of his own. Smith seems a lot more interested in how close friends and family relate to each other and allow for periods of growth and change, as well as the benefits and pitfalls of trusting one another. It's a little striking then, that Mma. Ramotswe's children barely show up at all.

    Nonetheless, the personal interactions are well-drawn and handled with Smith's usual gentle touch, and fans of the series will be pleased by them. However, the "crime" sections are rather forgettable. The hospital case is based on a famous disproven urban legend from South Africa, and thus rather predictable. The theft case is completely underwhelming and barely resolved. And the adultery case is marred by Rra. Matakoni's abandoning his methodical nature, which makes the whole enterprise somewhat silly. On the whole, the book feels somewhat flat and tired, and I'm reminded why I stopped reading the series....more info
  • Delightful, once again.
    If you are an avid fan of Precious Ramotswe and all the gang at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, you will love this book. More adventures, more lessons learned, and more love of Africa...more info
  • Relaxing Read
    Another relaxing adventure of one of my favourite detectives, Mma Ramotswe. Easy reading, enjoyable and entertaining. The internal musings of the characters often give a lovely insight into their outlook. McCall Smith has a tendency to contrast thoughts in human interaction, with what is actually said. He reveals a character's thoughts and takes the reader through the process of filtering before the character speaks. The dichotomy this creates between thoughts and spoken word rings quite true and is simultaneously humorous. Of course there are certain people one would always want to speak the truth, but sometimes speaking one's mind without reservation may have disastrous consequences.
    Three different cases run through the storyline, with Mma Makutsi and Mr J L B Matekoni both taking on a case too, neither of which is solved in a quite satisfactory level.
    Mma Ramotswe's tact and good-humour may be a guide to all and stands in contrast with the rudeness of some of the minor characters in the book.
    ...more info
  • Preserves series' unique voice and perspective
    I've never been to Botswana, but many informational sources will tell you that this pleasant series affectively explicates that country's culture. Botswana successfully survived the colonial period to emerge in the last half of the 20th century as an independent democracy, moving from a tribal and agrarian society to one with growing cities that shake hands with the rest of the world. In the First Ladies Detective Series, Mma Precious Ramotswe, detective entrepreneur, deploys the morality of her country's past as she negotiates the complications of modernity. This series turns on character, not procedure or intricate mysteries. In this episode, everyone around her--her husband, her assistant, her husband's apprentice--is restless. Mr. JLB Matekoni, her husband, wants to try his mechanic's hand at detecting. Mma Makutsi wants more authority. Charlie, the feckless apprentice, wants to start a taxi service trading on the name of Mma Ramotswe's detective agency. You can predict some of the conclusions, but you can never predict the full effect of the human revelations. The gentle witty narrative voice softens but does not deter from some of the contemporary realities the characters must face, like AIDS and inadequate hospital resources. ...more info
  • And the story continues...
    While this addition to the "No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency" saga begins a little more slowly than its predecessors (in my humble opinion), Smith continues to deliver the wit and wisdom of Mma Ramotswe in an entertaining and enlightening fashion. Another delight for the heart and mind....more info
  • Coincidence?
    The first word that springs to mind when describing AM Smith's books is "gentle" and this is especially so with the Mma Ramotswe works. I enjoyed this the way I have enjoyed the others in the series. (I like the Dalhousie works too but had to give up on Portuguese Irregular Verbs)

    My only concern was that the degree of coincidence between the plot thread involving deaths at the Mochudi hospital and an episode of "A Touch of Frost" that aired in 2001. Unless, of course, this is a common plot like philandering husbands and pilfering workers....more info
  • Wonderful People, Wonderful Place
    The books in Smith's "Ladies' Number 1 Detective Agency" series are a treasure. When you read the first page of any of them you are transported to a wondrous society where almost everyone is nice, where old values predominate, where courtesy and dignity prevail, where subtle humor and timeless wisdom frame everyday life. It's not a fairy land -- it's Botswana. And Smith writes of this magic place with love and familiarity. As in the earlier books, this one is peopled with wonderful characters, each with a unique character and each having the strengths and weaknesses of the human animal. But the REAL magic is in how Smith structures his stories and builds in suspense and insight in such a fashion that the reader is totally entranced. This series started off excellent and has improved with each book, although I must say this one, albeit a wonderful book, is not the best of the series. But no matter. The "#1 Ladies" books are classics and will remain so for a long time. Each is a gem and each takes you away, for ever so short a time, from our crazy world and puts us in a place where sanity reigns. This book is no exception...more info
  • Gerald
    I can not praise The Good Husband of Zebra drive enough. It's like hanging out with old friends over a cup of bush tea. I eagerly awaited the release of TGHoZD and was not disappointed. It's a very authentic look at Africa in the most gentle and humane way with a touch of humor that truly warms the heart. BIG thumbs up! ...more info
  • Three stumbling steps
    Mma Grace Makutsi enjoys shopping. New dresses are a fine thing to buy, but for Grace, shoes are nearly an obsession. While most people are limited in their available shopping times, Grace has a bit more flexibility. One day, she follows her impulse to visit the shops. What follows is a cascade of events with unexpected results. Among other things, it brings on a clash with her employer, Mma Precious Ramotswe of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. The confrontation is rather intense for two such mild-mannered ladies, but the success of the business may be at stake - as well as the type of lifepath each lady will follow. Grace makes a decision regarding her future. It's the first of several mis-steps that occur in this tale.

    McCall Smith may have reached a new peak with this book. Each character seems enlarged through this volume - particularly when compared to the earlier works. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, proprietor of the Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors facility - which also houses the Agency - takes on a richer role here. As Precious' husband, he is challenged as never before, as a man and as a mentor. The author grants him more introspective opportunities, and we learn even more about him than the earlier books conveyed. Even Charlie the apprentice mechanic becomes something more than just an aggravation to both Mr Matekoni and Grace. For one thing, Charlie has also determined to enlarge his role - in unexpected ways. It, too, proves a difficult, almost tragic, step in the wrong direction.

    The "mysteries" the Agency must resolve are of the usual type. There is the suspected unfaithful husband. A printing shop is being victimised by one of its own employees. And in distant Mochudi, patients in the local hospital have died under mysterious circumstances. Mochudi, of course, is a special place to Mma Ramotswe, and she must travel there to investigate this bizarre circumstance. Meanwhile, Mr J.L.B. Matekoni has taken it upon himself to address the adultery issue with surprising results. Is he going to become a detective instead of keeping to his beloved mechanic's role?

    McCall Smith seems to add triumph upon triumph in this series. His ability to depict characters is unexcelled, brought here to new heights. He has already given vivid life portrayals to both Precious and Grace. They are more fully revealed in this book. The added thoughts and feelings of Mr J.L.B. Matekoni are especially moving. Although most of these novels may be read without reference to the other works, this one's value cannot be fully embraced without having at least the first one under the reader's belt. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]...more info
  • A very fine read indeed
    Alexander McCall Smith is a deceptively good writer. His books are simple and simply read. But there is a texture and depth to the prose that is not dashed off. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive continues this author's of straightforward stories set in the richness of Africa.

    Things are changing at The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Gabarone, Botswana. Mma Makutsi is engaged and doesn't really need to work any more. This brings a subtle shift in office dynamics as Mma Makutsi is tempted to take on new challenges. Mma Ramotswe promotes Mma Makutsi to Associate Detective.

    And a shift is underway at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. The apprentice, Charlie, has an opportunity to go into business for himself. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni takes on an investigation of his own while his wife, Precious Ramotswe, and her associate are busy with other cases. All the matters are resolved, although not all are satisfactory to the clients or the detectives.

    Along the way, everyone learns a lesson. Whether it's grace and mercy, being thankful for your blessings, or learning to be content to bloom where you are planted, McCall Smith draws each character's story with tenderness.

    It would be easy to paint Botswana with the brush of trivialization, but the author's love and respect for the land and its people shine through every word. I've never been to Africa but I feel the pull it has on him and others.

    Precious Ramotswe and her family are characters rich in love, proud of their homeland, and anchored firmly to a culture where respect is valued and the worst you can say about someone is that they are rude.

    We should all be so blessed.

    Armchair Interviews says: The Good Husband of Zebra Drive is a very fine book indeed....more info
  • Lovely
    Eighth book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.

    The big case in this installment concerns three unexplained deaths at a local hospital--three people have died unexpectedly in the same bed, at the same time of day. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni decides he is tired of being a mechanic and takes over a case of a cheating husband. All does not go quite as planned. Mma Makutsi resigns in preparation for being a married rich lady, but her newfound freedom doesn't live up to her expectations either. And Charlie, well he is just as irresponsible as ever.

    In seeking to improve their lives and try new things, these characters realize that they've had it pretty good all along...

    Another wise and wonderful book from Alexander McCall Smith. Highly recommended! ...more info
  • Another Ma Ramatsche winner.
    Reading The Good Husband of Zebra Drive was sort of like getting a letter from relatives--I've read the whole series, and the characters all seem like people we've known for a long time. A recent trip to South Africa reinforced the cultural feeling. I much prefer this series to others by McCall Smith. ...more info
  • getting a bit thin
    i have enjoyed almost all of the books in this series very much, especially the first ones, up to and including the book where precious and jlb get married in the last chapter. however i sadly need to say that this book and the previous one, blue shoes, are starting to feel a bit thin. as if he has sucked almost all the juice out of the orange, or like a piece of chewing gum that has been chewed so long it has lost its flavour. it just did not seem as interesting or as gripping as the first books, and also i had just read the internet "joke" about the patients in hospital all dying at the same time.....not very original or unique to botswana. time to say goodbye, maybe?...more info
  • Looking firward to the next installment!!
    Another charming edition to the series of delightful, good humored stories, We could all learn something from what makes these characters treasure life....more info
  • excellent continuation of lovely story
    This was a another installment of McCall Smith's wonderful series of books set in Botswana. Having lived in Kenya 35 years, every book of this series has caused me to pleasantly remember my life in Africa. Smith treats the characters gently and carefully, giving them very believable personalities and lives. While reading, it is hard to think that Smith is a man writing the thoughts and feelings of an African woman.

    ...more info
  • Unique and Precious
    The books featuring Precious Ramotswe engage the reader with the small mysteries of life and are unique in literature as well as the mystery genre. They offer a compelling, engaging view of a country that most readers in the Western world know nothing about and show life in a place that is less harried and rude, although no less complex. The disarming sympathy and charming simplicity of Smith's style serve as a foil for a transcendent wisdom that seems to shine brighter with each installment.

    Mma. Ramotswe is a sleuth like no other gumshoe. A large "traditionally-sized" lady, she specializes in untying the thorny knots that occur when human beings do not behave as they should. Her agency undertakes a couple of difficult cases, missing office supplies in one instance and hospital patients dying in another. Meanwhile, life goes on all around her, in her husband's auto repair shop and in the wider community.

    One of the notable events in this volume is the surprising case that Mr. JLB Matekoni decides to investigate himself. More known for his mechanical skills than his prowess as a dectective, the good husband of Zebra Drive shows that luck can favor the persistent. And appearances are deceiving. Highly recommended.

    ...more info
  • The good husband of Zebra Drive
    Enjoyed the book, light reading, quick read. Not as good as the first in the series, though....more info
  • Gentle and delightful!
    As with all the others, this book in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series is just a treat. Mma Ramotswe and her friends continue to go on mild and meaningful adventures, and her beautiful homeland is shared in exquisite descriptions. ...more info
  • The good husband of Zebra Drive
    So happy to have such prompt delivery service. The book was in even better condition than described by the seller, and the price was very fair. I would not hesitate to do business with this seller again. Thank you!...more info
  • Another Great Book
    I so enjoy Alexnder McCall Smith's books abot Mma Ramotsowe. I feel like I know her and all her cohorts. This is another great book in the series. It's a book that makes you feel as if all's right with the world. I traveled to Cameroon, Africa last year. His books prepared me for so much of what I saw and reading them refreshes my memory. Thank you, Mr. Smith...more info
  • Lacks suspense
    I've been a fan of this series since the beginning, and especially impressive is that the author has so far avoided being repetitive. Very few authors can write more than a few books in a series and avoid falling into a stylistic rut. These stories remain enjoyable, even at #8, an enviable testimony to the author's writing ability.

    My only criticisms of this book are that, while the characters are drawn beautifully as always, there is even less suspense than usual, and there seems to be little growth in the characters. The mysteries were unusually mundane, and the resolutions easily anticipated. In two places it seemed characters might be changing and growing; I was disappointed when this turned out not to be so.

    In short, the book is enjoyable, but it lacks some of the suspense of the earlier books, and the characters are in danger of stagnating. Not bad, just not quite as good as the rest of the series....more info
  • great read
    As always, a great read. The characters are wonderful and you just care about them. With each book you are waiting to see what will happen to them. If you haven't read any of the rest of the series you should do so! A gentle read with no violence or sex....more info
  • great service, great books
    Amazon had my books delivered to me in perfect condition in a few short days, as always. The book series, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith, and by the way, his LAST name is McCall Smith, are delightful, filled with humor,good nature, and kindness....more info
  • The Good husband of Zebra Drive
    This book was sent on time and was all in order. Very swift and efficient. Thank you. I must say that I was saddened by the high cost of postage....more info
  • Mma Ramotswe and friends stay interesting
    I was afraid that the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series would begin to pall, becoming contrived and deficient, as have many other series, which I will not mention here. This book, however, held my interest and added even more to the authors insight of the importance of the complex interweaving of family and friends in the African society. The usual cast of characters appears, but their lives have progressed and new problems arise that can only be solved by a careful investigation of relationships and past situations. Unfortunately, I gave this book to my sick mother, and now I have to buy another one. It is a worthwhile purchase....more info
  • The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
    Awesome book, can't wait for the next in the series!...more info
  • A Delightful Mystery
    This new addition to "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" is a delightful tale about Precious Ramotswe and her beloved country, Botswana. Again in this story, she has several stange cases to solve. She also has problems with her staff, Mma Makutsi, who decides to leave the agency after a bit of a disagreement between them. And Mma Ramotswe's husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, a fine auto mechanic, wants a change, and asks to handle a case of an errant husband. Although the No. 1 lady detective fears that a man cannot solve the case as satifactorily as a woman could, she allows him to take it on. All ends happily over a cup of bush tea. I like the kindness of the characters, and their pleasant attitudes toward difficulties.
    ...more info
  • Not the best in the series...
    This was a surprise eighth installment to a series that was supposed to end with seven. While I am a big fan of the series, I found this particular book to be disappointing for a number of reasons, most of them related to the plot.
    As is his usual set-up, McCall Smith starts a series of mini-mysteries to be solved by the ever-resourceful Mma Ramotswe and/or her colorful assistant, Mma Makutsi. In this book, several characters get their own mystery to solve, some with more success than others. Some of the plot lines break down, only to be gathered up hastily with weak explanations. There is also a lack of continuity between some of the story lines.
    While the subplots have some definite leaks, the author's painting of the characters continues to be what makes these books so good. The reader learns a bit more about Mr. JLB Matekoni, although the mystery behind his depression remains as such. Mma Makutsi continues to have enjoyable dialogues with her shoes as she prepares for the next phase in her life. The children, Motholeli and Puso, make only brief appearances, as does Phuti Radiphuti.
    There are still a few open loops in the tale of Mma Ramotswe and cohorts, so the author might not be finished with the series. Should there be a next installment, however, I hope that McCall Smith finds a fresh supply of creative plot lines....more info
  • No Bad Days on Zebra Drive
    If you are ever having a really bad day, if life is just too much for you, if the complications and stresses are beyond endurance, then settle down on the verandah with Mma Ramotswe, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, Mma Makutsi and all the rest for a nice, restorative cup of bush tea.

    This latest installment in the priceless Women's Detective Agency series may be one of the best, but I say that with every single book. In this outing, there are some big changes coming to rattle Mma Ramotswe's world. First, can it be--can it actually be--that Mma Makutsi, she of the 97% from the Botwsana Secretarial School, actually wants to resign from the detective agency?? Oh no!

    And what about the feckless apprentice Charley, whom we all love to hate? Is he finally going to leave Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's garage before his apprenticeship is completed? He's threatened before, but this looks serious.

    And yet, with these problems, and some thorny cases being investigated by the Agency, life goes on with complete serenity. The bottom line in these books is simplicity and love--something we all could use.

    Another fabulous winner from Alexander McCall Smith, long may he write!...more info
  • All is not well at No.1 Ladies Detective Agency.
    All is not well at the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Mma Ramotswe discovers one morning. Mr J L B Matekoni informs her a customer came to the agency the previous afternoon and he took the interview. It does not take reference to Clovis Anderson's informative book on Detection for Mma Ramotswe to realise that assistant detective, Mma Makutsi, was not at her post as she is supposed to be when Ramotswe is away. In fact it does not take much to realise that Mma Makutsi was probably out buying shoes.

    And so a series of events are set in motion. Mma Makutsi is unhappy with her position at the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. She is now a woman of means as the fiance of Rra Phuti Radiphuti, proprieter of the Double Comfort Furniture shop. She needs to establish a new position in life, and that may not involve the No.1 Ladies detective Agency at all.

    Then there is Mr J L B Matekoni. He has taken the first interview with the new client and so wishes to follow it through, only to find that the client is known as the rudest woman in Botswana. A title given lightly. He may not have the training that Precious Ramotswe has, but he shows he is more than just the mechanic at Tlokweng Rd Speedy Motors.

    There are problems with Charlie the apprentice who is also restless, he wants to strike out on his own, form his own taxi business, he knows he will do well, everyone tells him (apart from Mma Makutsi) that he will be successful. He thinks a lot about his success.

    This is another wonderful comedy of manners from Alexander McCall Smith. Beautifully written, and in fact much more about human relations than mysterys. However there is as much satisfaction in solving of relationship problems as there is in the solving of the crimes.

    McCall Smith deals a neatly sharpened scalpel to some trite homilys along the way. There is nothing glib in these books!

    At times disjointed this book is in actual fact several stories, Mma Ramotswe, Rra Mateknoi, Mma Makutsi and Charlie. It could be confusing for people just starting into McCall Smith Territory, but overall is a great read and recommended to fans in the highest. ...more info
  • Good Husband of Zebra Drive
    This is another, well-written, story with the unusual plot of two female detectives in Africa. The plot has a charm that needs to be read to be appreciated. All books in this series have been excellent....more info
  • Spend A Delicious Afternoon with Precious Ramotswe And the Cast Of Characters From The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency
    This is another winner in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series. I read these delightful novels between heavier reading. They are deceptively simple. However, there are charming pearls of wisdom framed in Precious delightful phrasing throughout. I finish one only to hunger for the next....more info
  • Common sense and gentle sweetness
    I am another Precious Ramotswe groupie and have come to love every one of the books in this series. There probably aren't any strangers to these books that started as "The Number One Ladies Detective Agency," but if there were, I would advise a first timer to start with an earlier book than this one. If you've been following the adventures of Mma Ramotswe for awhile, you learn not to look for a hard-edged whodunit. This book, and its precedessors, amble through minor and not so minor, human dramas that need sorting out, but generally are devoid of blood and violence. There isn't a lineup of characters in current literature (that I know of) that is more likeable and good-hearted than the groups that surrounds Precious Ramotswe, and above all, features her good self.
    There's a wonderful, touching quote in "The Good Husband..." that summarizes much of what this terrific series of stories is about.
    "The world, Mma Ramotswe believed, was composed of big things and small things. The big things were written large and one could not but be aware of them--wars, oppression, the familiar theft by the rich and the strong of those simple things that the poor needed, those scraps which would make their life more bearable: this happened and could make even the reading of a newspaper an exercise in sorrow. There were all those unkindnesses, palpable, daily, so easily avoidable; but one could not think just of those, thought Mma Ramotswe, or one would spend one's time in tears--and the unkindnesses would continue. So the small things came into their own: small acts of helping others, if one could; small ways of making one's own life better: acts of love, acts of tea, acts of laughter. Clever people might laugh at such simplicty, but, she asked herself, what was their own solution?" ...more info
  • Excellent addition to the Series
    I thought The Good Husband was a great addition to the series. If you haven't read any other books in the series, I wouldn't advise that you start with this novel. In this story a majority of plot depends on the characters and their relationships that were developed in earlier stories. Alexander Smith does an excellent job of bringing out these characters and their relationships but in my opinion it still would be a cumbersome read if you have not been educated by the earlier books. This is just my opinion.

    This novel is another wonderful tribute to Botswana and to the values; loyalty, honesty, compassion that the characters hold dear. There are many reviews so in summary I would say this is a very entertaining read that will keep you reading page after page.

    ...more info
  • Above par!!
    I found this book to be as insightful to humanity and as exciting as all of the other "Ladies' Detective Agency" books. The only problem is that I read these books so fast and then am left waiting for the next book to be written! No reader of Alexander McCall Smith will be disappointed with The Good Husband of Zebra Drive....more info
    If you have yet to meet Precious Ramotswe - treat yourself. As I said of her in a review of the first novel in Smith's series, she is "Of traditional build and generous heart, she's the indefatigable, irresistible proprietress of Botswana's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency."

    For this reader it was love at first page of Smith's initial offering and my enthusiasm for this endearing, surprising character hasn't wavered. Her story is as fresh and new with this, the eighth in the series, as it was in the first. By now many have become familiar with the characters and eagerly look forward to their latest adventures. I count myself among those readers.

    With The Good Husband of Zebra Drive several of our favorites find themselves facing momentous decisions just as Precious is presented with a confounding mystery by a doctor who has seen patients die in the same bed at the same time of day at Mochudi's hospital. Mma Makutsi may leave the Agency (Heaven forbid as I'll always remember her undulations of pleasure to say nothing of her perfect typing). And, there is a straying husband.

    As always Precious's life is filled with conundrums and challenges which she faces with wit and wisdom. Pages of The Good Husband of Zebra Drive flew by far too rapidly and I eagerly await a return visit to beautiful Botswana.

    Highly recommended.

    - Gail Cooke ...more info
  • another good book from the series
    I've read all the books in the No. 1 Ladies Detective series from this author. They are all good but this one develops the characters even further. There is a sense of place here, in this case, Africa. I have learned something about Africa from these books, and that is always a good thing to say about a book; that you learn something, especially one as entertaining as this one. The main characters are interesting. This series could go on, I've read them all and look forward to the next....more info
  • Another great book by Alexander McCall Smith
    I had the pleasure of meeting the author this year at a talk at a local university and he is just as charming as you would think. Another great story from this super-creative guy!...more info
  • Red Bush Tea
    Curious? Red bush tea is available at Stash Tea, item #030700. I find that it has the delightful piquancy of burnt rubber tires. I will give it another try later when my spirit of adventure has recovered....more info
  • #1 Ladies Detective Agency continues, as with Mma and Rra!
    I totally place myself in Botsuana as I read about these gentle people that have so much respect for each other as well as for the natural elements that surround them..
    I find myself wishing I could visit and share Bush Tea with Mma Ramawatse and Company.....more info
  • Smith is starting to Coast
    I am a big fan of this series and got this latest installment as soon as I could. It is the weakest of the series. I think Smith got lazy. Sure, you love the characters, but the tales are simply not up to his previous installments, not nearly as layered or workmanlike. I am disappointed he chose to grind out a paycheck this time....more info
  • Earthy Wisdon
    Close to the earth, close to what's real and true (if there is ever a 'true'). Very personal to me as I lived in Botswana some years ago for a few years. An authentic rendition of the ways of living and the general 'feeling' of Botswana. I have all 7 of the series and re-read the previous 6 before reading the newest one. I loved the immersion. Mma Ramotswe is wise. Her character is not unique to Botswana but Botswana offers a fine ambience for developing and displaying wisdom. Over the coming years I intend to re-read the series frequently....more info