The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series #8) [NOOK Book]

Overview

THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY - Book 8

Fans around the world adore the bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, the basis of the HBO TV show, and its proprietor Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s premier lady detective.  In this charming series, Mma  Ramotswe navigates her cases and her personal life with wisdom, and good humor—not to mention help from ...

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The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series #8)

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Overview

THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY - Book 8

Fans around the world adore the bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, the basis of the HBO TV show, and its proprietor Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s premier lady detective.  In this charming series, Mma  Ramotswe navigates her cases and her personal life with wisdom, and good humor—not to mention help from her loyal assistant, Grace Makutsi, and the occasional cup of tea.
 
There is rarely a dull moment in the life of Precious Ramotswe, and on Zebra Drive and Tlokweng Road many changes are afoot. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni wants be put in charge of a case involving an errant husband, and Mma Makutsi is considering leaving the agency, taking her near perfect score on the Botswana Secretarial College typing exam with her. Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe has been asked to investigate a series of unexpected deaths at the hospital in Mochudi. Along the way, she encounters other tricky mysteries, and once again displays her undying love for Botswana, a country of which she is justly proud.




From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
The eighth installment of Alexander McCall Smith's beloved No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency saga is marked with existential upheaval: Automobile repair shop owner Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni -- husband of Botswana's leading, and only, female private detective, Precious Ramotswe -- unexpectedly approaches his wife with the ill-conceived idea of becoming a part-time investigator; one of Matekoni's bumbling apprentices quits; and Ramotswe's longtime assistant, Grace Makutsi, suddenly resigns.

Struggling to come to grips with Makutsi's abrupt resignation, "traditionally built" detective Ramotswe has her hands full with a trio of cases involving unexplained deaths at a nearby hospital, an allegedly cheating husband, and thievery at a print shop. But the exceedingly wise owner of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency confronts all these situations with compassion, discretion, and her trademark wry Botswanan sense of humor.

Part of the widespread appeal of this series lies in the tidbits of quiet wisdom sprinkled throughout each delightfully meandering narrative. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, for example, explores the importance of not only trust and mercy but also tolerance. Ramotswe's musings are as insightful as they are understated: "It's interesting how we can look at things and think we see something, when it really isn't there at all." Entertaining and enlightening, Smith's beloved No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency saga is simply precious. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly

Lisette Lecat doesn't simply portray the characters in McCall Smith's series about Botswana's No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency and the Speedy Motors car repair service that improbably share a building in the nation's capitol city: she isMma Ramotswe, that robust, throaty and ever-so-kind detective. Lecat is also Ramotswe's husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, whose rumbling pronouncements sound as if they originate in one of the beaten-down Mercedes he tenderly mends. Ramotswe's assistant, Mma Makutsi, makes her caustic comments in a pencil-sharp voice. Even Makutsi's shoes, which offer advice to their wearer from time to time, have a down-to-earth tone to them. Each volume of this series offers Lecat a few new characters to inhabit. She does especially well with a rude, shrill client who thinks her husband is cheating on her. Even though the series is becoming a bit repetitious, Lecat brings so much love and skill to her rendition of the characters that this will charm both old fans and newcomers alike. Simultaneous release with the Pantheon hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 22). (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal
The "something special" that Mama Ramotswe's husband planned for their adopted daughter hits a snag in the eighth of the popular series. Twelve-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Everyone's a detective in this eighth peek into the files of Botswana's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (Blue Shoes and Happiness, 2006, etc.). Mma Precious Ramotswe's distant cousin Tati Monyena, who's almost (but not quite) an administrator at the Dutch Reformed Mission Hospital in Mochudi, wants her to look into the thorny question of why three patients should suddenly die on the same black Friday. Although Mma Ramotswe tells him that the Agency doesn't usually get involved in such cases-"we may be detectives, but not that sort"-she agrees to question the hospital staff, only to find a disconcerting lack of evidence that there's been any foul play. Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe's husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, the proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, has inadvertently intercepted a case-the suspected adultery of bossy Faith Botumile's accountant husband-he promptly claims as his own, brandishing some deductions worthy of Sherlock Holmes in support of his status. And Mma Grace Makutsi, the assistant who's shaken Mma Ramotswe by quitting the Agency for an entire afternoon, is rewarded on her return by her own investigation: chronic pilferage from Mma Teenie Magama's Good Impression Printing Company. Only Mma Ramotswe's case ends up amounting to anything. But the outpouring of mercy it provokes casts a welcome new light on Smith's beloved Botswana, where everyone is honest and polite, except for the ones who aren't. Agent: Robin Straus/Robin Straus Agency
From the Publisher
Praise for the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series:

“Enchanting . . . An inspiration to us all. . . The sweet, chuckling voice of Precious Ramotswe falls gentle on the ear.”
–The New York Times Book Review

“Beautiful in spirit . . . Botswana and its way of life are described in exquisite detail . . . Delightful . . . Positively uplifting.”
–Winston-Salem Journal

“What a treat to discover . . . Brims with good humor and compassion.”
–Entertainment Weekly

“Utterly charming and compulsively readable.”
–Newsweek

“Endearing, amusing . . . Sparkles with African sunshine and wit.”
–The Dallas Morning News

“Smart and sassy [with] the power to amuse or shock or touch the heart, sometimes all at once.”
–Los Angeles Times

“McCall Smith’s simple, sweet descriptions of everyday pleasures–a cup of tea, walking around one’s garden–are enticing.”
–The Boston Globe

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375424793
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/17/2007
  • Series: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series , #8
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 58,631
  • File size: 300 KB

Meet the Author

Alexander McCall Smith
Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the huge international phenomenon, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and The Sunday Philosophy Club series. He was born in what is now known as Zimbabwe and he was a law professor at the University of Botswana and at Edinburgh University. He lives in Scotland, where in his spare time he is a bassoonist in the RTO (Really Terrible Orchestra). His website is www.alexandermccallsmith.com.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Biography

Alexander McCall Smith was born in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) and went to school in Bulawayo, near the Botswana border. Although he moved to Scotland to attend college and eventually settled in Edinburgh, he always felt drawn to southern Africa and taught law for a while at the University of Botswana. He has written a book on the criminal law of Botswana, and among his successful children's books is a collection of African folk tales, Children of Wax.

Eventually, Smith had an urge to write a novel about a woman who would embody the qualities he admired in the people of Botswana, and the result, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, was a surprise hit, receiving two special Booker citations and a place on the Times Literary Supplement's International Books of the Year and the Millennium list. "The author's prose has the merits of simplicity, euphony and precision," Anthony Daniels wrote in the Sunday Telegraph. "His descriptions leave one as if standing in the Botswanan landscape. This is art that conceals art. I haven't read anything with such unalloyed pleasure for a long time."

Despite the book's success in the U.K., American publishers were slow to take an interest, and by the time The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency was picked up by Pantheon Books, Smith had already written two sequels. The books went from underground hits to national phenomena in the United States, spawning fan clubs and inspiring celebratory reviews. Smith is also the author of a detective series featuring the insatiably curious philosopher Isabel Dalhousie and the 44 Scotland Street novels, which present a witty portrait of Edinburgh society

In an interview on the publisher's web site, Smith says he thinks the country of Botswana "particularly chimes with many of the values which Americans feel very strongly about -- respect for the rule of law and for individual freedom. I hope that readers will also see in these portrayals of Botswana some of the great traditional virtues in Africa -- in particular, courtesy and a striking natural dignity."

Good To Know

As a professor at Edinburgh Law School, Smith specializes in criminal law and medical law, and has written about the legal and ethical aspects of euthanasia, medical research, and medical practice.

When he isn't writing books or teaching, Smith finds time to play the bassoon in the candidly named amateur ensemble he co-founded, The Really Terrible Orchestra.

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Read an Excerpt

IT IS USEFUL, people generally agree, for a wife to wake up before her husband. Mma Ramotswe always rose from her bed an hour or so before Mr J.L.B. Matekoni – a good thing for a wife to do because it affords time to accomplish at least some of the day’s tasks. But it is also a good thing for those wives whose husbands are inclined to be irritable first thing in the morning – and by all accounts there are many of them, rather too many, in fact. If the wives of such men are up and about first, the husbands can be left to be ill-tempered by themselves – not that Mr J.L.B. Matekoni was ever like that; on the contrary, he was the most good-natured and gracious of men, rarely raising his voice, except occasionally when dealing with his two incorrigible apprentices at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. And anybody, no matter how even-tempered he might be, would have been inclined to raise his voice with such feckless young men. This had been demon-strated by Mma Makutsi, who tended to shout at the apprentices for very little reason, even when one of them made a simple request, such as asking the time of day.

“You don’t have to shout at me like that,” complained Charlie, the older of the two. “All I asked was what time it was. That was all. And you shout four o’clock like that. Do you think I’m deaf?”

Mma Makutsi stood her ground. “It’s because I know you so well,” she retorted. “When you ask the time, it’s because you can’t wait to stop working. You want me to say five o’clock, don’t you? And then you would drop everything and rush off to see some girl or other, wouldn’t you? Don’t look so injured. I know what you do.”

Mma Ramotswe thought of this encounter as she hauled her-self out of bed and stretched. Glancing behind her, she saw the inert form of her husband under the blankets, his head half cov-ered by the pillow, which was how he liked to sleep, as if to block out the world and its noise. She smiled. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni had a tendency to talk in his sleep–not complete sentences, as one of Mma Ramotswe’s cousins had done when she was young, but odd words and expressions, clues each of them to the dream he was having at the time. Just after she had woken up and while she was still lying there watching the light grow behind the curtains, he had muttered something about brake drums. So that was what he dreamed about, she thought–such were the dreams of a mechanic; dreams of brakes and clutches and spark plugs. Most wives fondly hoped that their husbands dreamed about them, but they did not. Men dreamed about cars, it would seem.

Mma Ramotswe shivered. There were those who imagined that Botswana was always warm, but they had never experienced the winter months there–those months when the sun seemed to have business elsewhere and shone only weakly on southern Africa. They were just coming to the end of winter now, and there were signs of the return of warmth, but the mornings and the evenings could still be bitterly cold, as this particular morning was. Cold air, great invisible clouds of it, would sweep up from the south-east, from the distant Drakensberg Mountains and from the southern oceans beyond; air that seemed to love rolling over the wide spaces of Botswana, cold air under a high sun.

Once in the kitchen, with a blanket wrapped about her waist, Mma Ramotswe switched on Radio Botswana in time for the opening chorus of the national anthem and the recording of cat-tle bells with which the radio started the day. This was a constant in her life, something that she remembered from her childhood, listening to the radio from her sleeping mat while the woman who looked after her started the fire that would cook breakfast for Precious and her father, Obed Ramotswe. It was one of the cher-ished things of her childhood, that memory, as was the mental picture that she had of Mochudi as it then was, of the view from the National School up on the hill; of the paths that wound through the bush this way and that but which had a destination known only to the small, scurrying animals that used them. These were things that would stay with her forever, she thought, and which would always be there, no matter how bustling and thriving Gaborone might become. This was the soul of her coun-try; somewhere there, in that land of red earth, of green acacia, of cattle bells, was the soul of her country.

She put a kettle on the stove and looked out of the window. In mid-winter it would barely be light at seven; now, at the tail end of the cold season, even if the weather could still conjure up chilly mornings like this one, at least there was a little more light. The sky in the east had brightened and the first rays of the sun were beginning to touch the tops of the trees in her yard. A small sun bird–Mma Ramotswe was convinced it was the same one who was always there–darted from a branch of the mopipi tree near the front gate and descended on the stem of a flowering aloe. A lizard, torpid from the cold, struggled wearily up the side of a small rock, searching for the warmth that would enable him to start his day. Just like us, thought Mma Ramotswe.

Once the kettle boiled, she brewed herself a pot of red bush tea and mug in hand went out into the garden. She drew the cold air into her lungs and when she breathed out again her breath hung in the air for a moment in a thin white cloud, quickly gone. The air had a touch of wood smoke in it from somebody’s fire, perhaps that of the elderly watchman at the nearby Government offices. He kept a brazier fire going, not much more than a few embers, but enough for him to warm his hands on in the cold watches of the night. Mma Ramotswe sometimes spoke to him when he came off duty and began to walk home past her gate. He had a place of sorts over at Old Naledi, she knew, and she imag-ined him sleeping through the day under a hot tin roof. It was not much of a job, and he would have been paid very little for it, so she had occasionally slipped him a twenty-pula note as a gift. But at least it was a job, and he had a place to lay his head, which was more than some people had.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Foreword

1. In what ways does the early morning scene at the beginning of the novel, with Mma Ramotswe surveying the Botswana landscape from her garden, set the tone for what is to come [pp. 4-7]? Why is the landscape an important element in Mma Ramotswe's consciousness?

2. Both Grace Makutsi and Mr J.L.B. Matekoni are restless in their current work. Why does it worry Mma Ramotswe that when she argues that all work is repetitive, her husband replies that he would like to “try something different,” and handle the case of the woman client he interviewed that morning [pp. 41-42]? Later we learn that J.L.B. Matekoni is worried about a rival for his wife, and asks himself, “How does a husband become more exciting?” [p. 81]. What elements of his character are revealed in the course of the story?

3. When Mr Polopetsi asks Mma Ramotswe to be his son's godmother, she doesn't hesitate to say yes. Yet she realizes that it will put her under various obligations to the boy. She thinks, “But we cannot always choose whose lives will become entangled with our own; these things happen to us, come to us uninvited” [p. 55]. What is the etiquette called for at a moment like this, and why?

4. When her husband first reports on interviewing Mma Botumile, Mma Ramotswe is impressed with his powers of observation [pp. 14-15]. What goes wrong with his investigation? How does the confusion about identity follow through in his mistake about Mma Ramotswe's other man [p. 176]?

5. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni is amazed at the rudeness of Mma Botumile, and doesn't understand why she behaves as she does. “In his experience bad behaviour came from those who were unsureof themselves, those who had some obscure point to make” [p. 83]. Is there any obvious reason why this woman is so rude, particularly since she lives in Botswana, “a polite country” [p. 83]?

6. Grace is humiliated by her former classmate, Violet Sephotho, when she goes to an employment agency to seek a new job [p. 102]. How is this encounter similar to Mr J.L.B. Matekoni's meetings with Mma Botumile? What is the effect, on Grace, of being treated so rudely? How does this meeting change her feelings about Mma Ramotswe and the job she has left?

7. What is the nature of the conflict between Grace Makutsi and Charlie, the apprentice [pp. 59-64]? What change does Grace have to undergo in order to behave more kindly toward Charlie? Is there any particular reason she has been able to make this change in herself?

8. Mma Makutsi sometimes has trouble controlling herself when it comes to saying what is on her mind. How does this characteristic create trouble for her, and how does it create comedy in the novel?

9. Thinking about the small-time thievery going on at Teenie Magama's printing business, Mma Makutsi realizes that some people “were governed by some impulse within them that stopped them from feeling and understanding” how their actions affected others [pp. 113-14]. How does Mma Makutsi suggest the thief be dealt with, and how does this experiment in human behavior work out?

10. “Disputes, even between nations, between peoples, can be set to rest with simple acts of contrition and corresponding forgiveness, can so often be shown to be based on nothing much other than pride and misunderstanding, and the forgetting of the humanity of the other-and land, of course” [p. 127]. To whom do you attribute this speech? Is there a recognizable narrative voice in the novel, and is this speech the product of the narrator's consciousness?

11. Is it likely that Charlie's accident with the Mercedes will have an effect on his habitual irresponsibility [p. 154]? How does Mr J.L.B. Matekoni behave when Charlie returns, humiliated, to resume his apprenticeship [p. 191]?

12. The title of the novel focuses on “the good husband” Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, who, we learn, suffers from depression and has been treated with medication [p. 177]. Depressives, he has been told by Dr Moffat, sometimes suffer from delusional thinking, and he finds himself wondering if Mma Ramotswe would betray him with another man. Does this story develop the character of Mr J.L.B. Matekoni in ways we haven't seen before? If so, how?

13. How does Mma Ramotswe deal with the discovery of who is responsible for the mysterious deaths of three patients in the intensive care ward? Why, when she breaks the news to Tati Monyena, does she offer to say grace [p. 207]? How would you describe the quality of Mma Ramotswe's spirituality, and how does it inform her treatment of others?

14. Detective stories usually have complex plots and eventually provide a solution to a mystery. McCall Smith's books, however, are not so much based on plot as on human interaction and on the fact that misunderstandings and errors are the stuff of daily life. How does Mma Ramotswe's approach to the detective's profession differ from that in other detective novels?

15. Book reviewers and fans all agree that the novels in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series give a great deal of reading pleasure. Does this pleasure mask their moral seriousness, or is their moral seriousness part of what makes them pleasurable?

16. A typographic design, repeating the word Africa, follows the novel's final sentence. How does this affect your reading of the ending, and what emotions does it express?

17. No less than those of Jane Austen, the novels of Alexander McCall Smith are studies in the comedy of manners — stories based on a close observation of the foibles of human behavior and interaction. Think about how Emma's behavior is cruel and mocking toward Miss Bates, and Mr. Darcy's is condescending and rude toward Eliza Bennet at the dance. What might Mma Ramotswe have said about these situations?

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Reading Group Guide

1. In what ways does the early morning scene at the beginning of the novel, with Mma Ramotswe surveying the Botswana landscape from her garden, set the tone for what is to come [pp. 4-7]? Why is the landscape an important element in Mma Ramotswe's consciousness?

2. Both Grace Makutsi and Mr J.L.B. Matekoni are restless in their current work. Why does it worry Mma Ramotswe that when she argues that all work is repetitive, her husband replies that he would like to “try something different,” and handle the case of the woman client he interviewed that morning [pp. 41-42]? Later we learn that J.L.B. Matekoni is worried about a rival for his wife, and asks himself, “How does a husband become more exciting?” [p. 81]. What elements of his character are revealed in the course of the story?

3. When Mr Polopetsi asks Mma Ramotswe to be his son's godmother, she doesn't hesitate to say yes. Yet she realizes that it will put her under various obligations to the boy. She thinks, “But we cannot always choose whose lives will become entangled with our own; these things happen to us, come to us uninvited” [p. 55]. What is the etiquette called for at a moment like this, and why?

4. When her husband first reports on interviewing Mma Botumile, Mma Ramotswe is impressed with his powers of observation [pp. 14-15]. What goes wrong with his investigation? How does the confusion about identity follow through in his mistake about Mma Ramotswe's other man [p. 176]?

5. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni is amazed at the rudeness of Mma Botumile, and doesn't understand why she behaves as she does. “In his experience bad behaviour came from those who were unsure of themselves, those who had some obscure point to make” [p. 83]. Is there any obvious reason why this woman is so rude, particularly since she lives in Botswana, “a polite country” [p. 83]?

6. Grace is humiliated by her former classmate, Violet Sephotho, when she goes to an employment agency to seek a new job [p. 102]. How is this encounter similar to Mr J.L.B. Matekoni's meetings with Mma Botumile? What is the effect, on Grace, of being treated so rudely? How does this meeting change her feelings about Mma Ramotswe and the job she has left?

7. What is the nature of the conflict between Grace Makutsi and Charlie, the apprentice [pp. 59-64]? What change does Grace have to undergo in order to behave more kindly toward Charlie? Is there any particular reason she has been able to make this change in herself?

8. Mma Makutsi sometimes has trouble controlling herself when it comes to saying what is on her mind. How does this characteristic create trouble for her, and how does it create comedy in the novel?

9. Thinking about the small-time thievery going on at Teenie Magama's printing business, Mma Makutsi realizes that some people “were governed by some impulse within them that stopped them from feeling and understanding” how their actions affected others [pp. 113-14]. How does Mma Makutsi suggest the thief be dealt with, and how does this experiment in human behavior work out?

10. “Disputes, even between nations, between peoples, can be set to rest with simple acts of contrition and corresponding forgiveness, can so often be shown to be based on nothing much other than pride and misunderstanding, and the forgetting of the humanity of the other-and land, of course” [p. 127]. To whom do you attribute this speech? Is there a recognizable narrative voice in the novel, and is this speech the product of the narrator's consciousness?

11. Is it likely that Charlie's accident with the Mercedes will have an effect on his habitual irresponsibility [p. 154]? How does Mr J.L.B. Matekoni behave when Charlie returns, humiliated, to resume his apprenticeship [p. 191]?

12. The title of the novel focuses on “the good husband” Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, who, we learn, suffers from depression and has been treated with medication [p. 177]. Depressives, he has been told by Dr Moffat, sometimes suffer from delusional thinking, and he finds himself wondering if Mma Ramotswe would betray him with another man. Does this story develop the character of Mr J.L.B. Matekoni in ways we haven't seen before? If so, how?

13. How does Mma Ramotswe deal with the discovery of who is responsible for the mysterious deaths of three patients in the intensive care ward? Why, when she breaks the news to Tati Monyena, does she offer to say grace [p. 207]? How would you describe the quality of Mma Ramotswe's spirituality, and how does it inform her treatment of others?

14. Detective stories usually have complex plots and eventually provide a solution to a mystery. McCall Smith's books, however, are not so much based on plot as on human interaction and on the fact that misunderstandings and errors are the stuff of daily life. How does Mma Ramotswe's approach to the detective's profession differ from that in other detective novels?

15. Book reviewers and fans all agree that the novels in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series give a great deal of reading pleasure. Does this pleasure mask their moral seriousness, or is their moral seriousness part of what makes them pleasurable?

16. A typographic design, repeating the word Africa, follows the novel's final sentence. How does this affect your reading of the ending, and what emotions does it express?

17. No less than those of Jane Austen, the novels of Alexander McCall Smith are studies in the comedy of manners—stories based on a close observation of the foibles of human behavior and interaction. Think about how Emma's behavior is cruel and mocking toward Miss Bates, and Mr. Darcy's is condescending and rude toward Eliza Bennet at the dance. What might Mma Ramotswe have said about these situations?

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 48 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

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(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 49 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An 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. In summary I would say this is a very entertaining read that will keep you reading page after page.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2010

    What? Do we really need another review of Mma Ramotswe?

    This, the latest in the marvelous series by Alexander McCall Smith, is just as _______(fill in from other reviews, e.g. quirky, lovable, unique,universal...) as the rest. But if I might add a spin:

    What no one may have said before is what a great selection this may be for someone who is forgetful. My mother, at 90, loved to read before her short term memory betrayed her. This series she enjoys mightily, and looks forward to each new book. She can hold on to the memorable characters, so lovingly drawn and so vivid that they "stick." The stories are warm, expressive of values she holds dear, and the pace suits her just fine.

    Not much happening here -- just enough mystery to keep it rolling. In fact, the mystery is akin to those we find in our own lives: will she/won't she; you'll never believe...; well, what happened next?

    These are perfect stories for everyone who has little extra brain space or time for complex tales that depend on twists of plot for value. She loves them, I love them, and you and your beloved sage might, too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2014

    Such a wonderful book. The writing in this Series is so beautifu

    Such a wonderful book. The writing in this Series is so beautiful. This is the 4th book in the series I've read (out of order!) and I feel I've gotten to know the characters well and love them. Grace Makutsi is droll in her interaction with the apprentices & Mr. Pulopetsi, and especially with her shoes. Precious Ramotswe is the loving, wise and strength of character aunt who enfolds you in her arms for when you need succor.

    The cases the Detective Agency takes on is a secondary story to the human aspects of how these characters interact with one another and their fellow man; their observervations & musings of the human tendencies and behavior; and the values they expound. And really, they make me reflect on living a simpler life. I love this series and look forward to reading more of them!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2010

    Excellent peek at the heart of Africa

    Mma Ramotswe is such a beautiful example of the best of Africa. Remembering & respecting the old ways & customs while standing strong for herself and others.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2009

    Alexander McCall Smith

    I first bought "First Ladies Detective agency", and loved it. Subsequently bought entire series except #10. Excellent, exquisite, relaxing, touching. Loved them all. Love his writing. Enjoyed the characters. I now am buying other books by this author. I recommended these highly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2009

    Characters With Charisma

    The Good Husband of Zebra Drive is one of the main characters who has charisma but yet is very ordinary and unassuming in his life. Mr. Smith's writing has a way of bringing him to life, turning this ordinary man into one the reader can appreciate and enjoy.

    His wife, also of Zebra Drive and the star of this series, is also an unassuming rather quiet person but with Charisma with a capital C!! She is a true heroine in a quiet dignified way. I'm glad that I've known her now for 8 books. She has reminded me to appreciate much that is easily taken for granted in life. As a detective I admire her caution and cleverness.

    The assistant lady detective who does not live on Zebra Drive is the other main character who also is unassuming but whose demeanor is not always quiet and dignified but that's part of her charisma. She's the one who can sometimes make the sparks fly with her actions and words. Like the other 2 main characters I can appreciate and admire her, especially after starting out with her in Book 1.

    I look forward to continuing on with them through books 9 and 10.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    ENTERTAINING, REFRESHING

    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

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2007

    Delightful as always

    I have enjoyed the entire series and can't wait for the next one. I just love Mma Ramotswe and her love for a gentler Africa, her wisdom and insight into the human psyche also her honesty. Just sweet!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire 'No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series. This one, however was a bit disappointing compared to the others. Something was missing. I was sorry to see that Mma Ramotswe's adopted children were not included at all. They were only mentioned once, more than 3/4 of the way through the story. I found that a bit strange. But I still love all the characters in these wonderful novels, and I always look forward to more...I wish they were longer!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2007

    Reassuring Adventure

    McCall Smith's novels connect at a human level, since the uncomplicated language uncovers revelations about daily life. These adventure novels have a comforting quality to them and you're always left in suspense. This eight book will please readers of Mccall Smith's other books. I have a special affection for Mma Ramotswe and that's why I love this book so much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2007

    Like a shot of Serotonin

    I came to love the #1 Ladies Detective series about two years ago when my friend gave me Tears of the Giraffe to read. I then went back to the first in the series and I was hooked. I even had the pleasure of seeing Alexander McCall Smith when he spoke at Cooper Union last April. This was amazing because hearing Sandy is like hearing an old friend since I have read so many of his words. Now I am able to read the books as if he were telling me the story himself. Reading about Precious Ramatswe and her life is like a shot of Serotonin. I feel so calm and peaceful, and this latest is no exception. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive will leave you wanting more. Too bad we have to wait another year for the next one.

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