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
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
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.
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
“I have eagerly awaited each subsequent volume [in the series]. . . . It is about the gentle and whimsical intelligence pondering, without any pretensions whatsoever to divinity, ‘what fools these mortals be.'” —The Globe and Mail
“Anyone looking for a spring tonic this month would do well to skip the medicine cabinet and try the latest pick-me-up from Alexander McCall Smith. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive is the eighth installment in the Ladies’ No. 1 Detective Agency series and it’s the best to date.” Edmonton Journal