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

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  17,093 ratings  ·  934 reviews

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 ass
Hardcover, 213 pages
Published April 17th 2007 by Pantheon (first published January 1st 2007)
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62nd out of 386 books — 572 voters

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Community Reviews

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After quite a few years of living it, I've come to the conclusion that life is made of two things: time and attention. What I love about the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series is the way the author, Alexander McCall Smith, handles both.

In The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, as in all the books in the series, the pace is lazy and relaxed. If I ever visit that part of Africa, I expect that I'll recognize the way the sun feels there, the way the dust settles on the roads after a car goes by. The um
Ok, we're up to the 8th installment of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, it's pretty review-proof and/or just not a whole lot to say other than it's another perfectly pleasant literary trip to visit some perfectly pleasant friends (well, Mma Makutsi tends to get a bit crabby at times.

This time around I almost was creating a No. 1 Ladies' drinking game. Mention of Mma. Makutsi's 97% score at Secretarial School? Drink! Reference to Mma. Ramotswe's how-to book Clovis Anderson's "The Principles o
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.
This book stands out for me because of the shake-up caused by one of the main characters in the series... but it seems like things were righted appropriately and put neatly back in to place.

The case about the hospital was quite good - they already told this case on the BBC/HBO show, but they changed some of the details. I liked that it had much more depth in the books.

...and as a complete aside... I wish Mma Ramotswe's confidence, civility, and enduring optimism could be bottled up and doled ou
While THE GOOD HUSBAND OF ZEBRA DRIVE is, on the surface, a typically satisfying addition to the long-running series of Botswana-set books by Alexander McCall Smith, there's something about it that isn't quite right.

Superficially, the story is as good as ever; Smith carries out his usual attention to detail and weaves separate sub-plots together in an engaging and pacy read. The characters are drawn from real life, the human interaction and conversations are witty and engaging, and the mysteries
Faith Spinks
One of the things I really love about these books is how so much happens and yet so little really changes. This book was another great example of this with 2 resignations, 3 coincidental deaths in a hospital, and the red bush tea bags having run out at morning tea time! Yet we still end the book in that peaceful and thoughtful way that Mma Ramotswe has!

One highlight for me reading this was as I traveled out of Botswana and arrived in South Africa I was greeted at the airport lounge by a less abr
Anne Hawn Smith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I love this series. I did not love this book, which makes me kind of sad. I had two major problems with this particular volume. First, the overarching theme appeared to be "people are who they are, and there's no point trying to change who you are," which I find defeatist and unappealing. Second, nearly all of the intertwining subplots made me uncomfortable. Part of the reason is that Mma Makutsi and Mr. JLB Matekoni were acting in ways that seemed out of character to me (which of course was to ...more
Petra X
I loved the first few books in this series but lost interest after the Full Cupboard of Life. Something about this book's cover appealed to me and I looked forward to immersing myself in Mma Ramotswe's African world again.

I didn't really enjoy the book very much, it was an effort to finish it. The writing was as good, the little plots and twists and turns as amusing, and all the familiar characters were getting on with their lives, so what was it?

To me, Mma Ramotswe was just a paper figure in
This was a very good book. I chose it for Book Group because Deborah, one of my colleagues, used to live in Botswana. She is bringing pictures and artifacts to Book Group and to Coffee Club. According to Deborah, McCall Smith does an excellent job of capturing the spirit of Botswana.

I love the optimistic and humorous tone, the simplicity and underlying wisdom of Mma Ramotswe, and the courtesy and dignity with which the characters treat one another. I also like the repetition of phrases and imag
Connie N.
I listened to the audio version narrated by Lisette Lecat. Very well done. I really liked her African accent, and her voices had just enough variation to be able to easily tell the characters apart. As always, Mma. Ramotswe is a very calm, very happy woman, with a lot of common sense. In this book they deal with mysterious deaths in a hospital. Plus Mma Makutsi becomes associate detective after her resignation, but she comes back to handle a stealing case at a printer. And Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni tr ...more
Jandy James
I love Mma Ramotswe. I love her values and her wisdom. I love the way she interacts with all the other wonderful characters in these charming stories, that are so well-read in the audio books. Key word is "charming". Nothing terribly controversial or upsetting or edgy here. They are great books to listen to in the car or at bed-time. They are tame, suitable for the tenderest ears but not at all boring. Delightful.
An Odd1
Reread. Precious finds why a critically ill patient dies every Friday at same time in Mochudi hospital. Common tale. (view spoiler) Dreaming of greener wifely pastures, engaged Grace Makutsi resigns from Agency. (view spoiler) Precious always thinks of ...more
I always begin a new book in this series thinking here we go again but I am quickly seduced by the gentle lilting stories and genuinely like all of the characters. Of course there are moments of conflict but we could all learn something from the way the characters deal with it.
it’s been lovely to come back and have tea with Precious Ramotswe and her crew after a few years, now that she’s clearly shown McCall Smith that there was plenty more to her story. as usual, her deep love for Botswana and her fellow humans is what makes her so compelling, and even if the minor cast features some annoying people (with plenty of redeeming traits), one still loves spending time with them. and thankfully, the winning formula is still there: we learn simple lessons from listening to ...more
Will Byrnes
Another visit to comfortable Botswana and Mma Rawotse’s detective agency. This edition centers around separating and rejoining. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni tries his hand at detecting with expected results. Mma Makutsi decides that she need no longer work at the agency and decides to strike out to find another job. Smith amusingly gives her blue shoes a voice. Charlie, the apprentice, wants to quit and start a cab company. The mysteries are the usual simple items. Mysterious deaths at a hospital resolve ...more
Diana S
"This is the first book of this series that I've read and I loved it! I really enjoyed getting to know Mma Ramotswe and her beloved Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, and their foster children, Motholeli and Paso. Her assistant Mma Makutsi and her fiancee Phuti Radiphuti of the Double comfort Furniture Store. I also loved the descriptions of their lovely country of Botswana. I would love to go there and see the sights described in the book and drink Red Bush Tea. For a mystery, it was so enjoyable and light h ...more
This isn't a bad one for the series. I don't think it added much new, but I did have fun with it. Not my favorite, but not my least favorite either. Just good fun.
This was a satisfying addition to the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series. This could also have been titled, "Nearly Everyone Tries Something New and Discovers That Happiness Is Already At Hand." Charlie starts a new business with predictable results, Mr. J.E.B. Matakoni tries his hand at detection, and Mma. Makutsi explores freedom. One of the attractions of these books are the ruminations on how people act, their motivations, their sheer variety. But the thing I like best is the narrator! It ...more
In this eighth installment of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, the entire gang--Mma Ramotwse, Mma Makutsi and even Mr. JLB Matekoni--are working on separate cases brought to the company. While I think the case of the possible philandering husband is a staple mystery in this type of series, the way that it was handled wasn't to my satisfaction. The case is not actually SOLVED. The same can be said of Mma Makutsi's case with office supply theft in a printing company--both the general book ...more
Donna Barnes
I wish I could give this between a 3 and a 4 because I would give it 3.8. I have read most of the books, and this one was funnier than some of the others. I, of course, listen to most of these books (love the reader), and I actually laughed out loud several times while listening to this one --- there are some changes. Madame R's hubby decides he wants to try his hand at detecting, Charlie, his apprentice strikes out on his own to be a limo driver, Madame Khutsi takes on a case by herself, and Ma ...more
This is the eighth book in this series. I have come to just love all the main characters. I LOVE reading their inner dialog. As with the others it is a light and easy read and just has a feel to it that makes me happy.
Kelsey Hanson
I enjoyed this book, but it seemed quite a bit slower than usual. These books are usually pretty slowly paced, but in a relaxing sort of way. This one just seemed a bit dull in parts. I continued to care for all the characters but I was pretty irritated with most of them in this book. The moral of this story is The grass is not greener on the other side. Most of the characters initially unhappy with their lives attempt something new but it doesn't go as planned. It's interesting for some like wh ...more
these books are so cute. they are hard to describe. written by a guy about a woman detective agent in Botswana. No blood, no violence, just a good, simple story! love them!
These are addictive. CAVE, LECTOR. I blame Kathleen for getting me hooked.

In this one, the whole crew starts solving mysteries. I think I should have read them in order.
Una Tiers
The second time around I still love this book. The flawless mirroring of conflict and lovely language. "Same devil, different clothes."
Jun 10, 2008 Skortebein rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
I learned something about Botswana and how people relate to one another in this particular area of AFrica.
Even shorter and more insubstantial than usual for this series, but still charming.
The detective aspect of the series is wearing thinner and thinner and that is something you either like or not. I don't mind necessarily, but I was somewhat annoyed by the predictable storylines of Mr JLB Matekoni's adultery case and Mma Makutsi's impetuous decisions. Either the characters are allowed to evolve and reach beyond their current habits, or the story needs offer more to chew on. Why is Charlie's predicament so foreseeable, for example? Surely people learn from their experiences and g ...more
This is my only experience reading the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books. I read it for book club. I thought it was pretty good. It's definitely not the kind of book I would normally pick up but I appreciated the writing style and I know it's a fairly popular series. I would probably try another one in this series sometime. I know my sister (and other acquaintances of mine as well) really enjoy these books. I think this one probably isn't one of the best ones and I'm interested in trying out a ...more
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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what ...more
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Other Books in the Series

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (1 - 10 of 16 books)
  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency  (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #1)
  • Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #2)
  • Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #3)
  • The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #4)
  • The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #5)
  • In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #6)
  • Blue Shoes and Happiness (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #7)
  • The Miracle at Speedy Motors (No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency #9)
  • Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #10)
  • The Double Comfort Safari Club (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency #11)
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency  (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #1) Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #2) Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #3) The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #4) The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #5)

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“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 simplicity, but, she asked herself, what was their own solution?” 34 likes
“And if there's bad behaviour," Mma Potokwane went on. "If there's bad behaviour, the quickest way of stopping it is to give more love. That always works, you know. People say we must punish when there is wrongdoing, but if you punish you're only punishing yourself. And what's the point of that?” 24 likes
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