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

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  19,504 Ratings  ·  1,051 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 2007)
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Mar 20, 2009 Donna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-suspense
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
Apr 10, 2016 Lauren rated it liked it
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
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.
Feb 03, 2016 Trelawn rated it really liked it
The tone of this book changed a little with resignations, new endeavours and people evaluating their position in life. I enjoyed the change, it makes the books more real to me. People don't follow the same path happily all the time. They question, they deviate. I really love this series and am glad there are 8 books left to go, I'll miss Mma Ramotswe and her words of wisdom.
Dec 11, 2015 Wendy rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
This one moved along a little slowly for me. I did enjoy the addition of some conflict between Mma R and Mma M - it made their relationship seem more genuine. Poor Charlie! He always seems to get into trouble.
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
May 20, 2015 Faith Spinks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, kindle, travel
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
May 18, 2016 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alexander McCall Smith's stories are perfect for when one is tired of reading. You read his gently-paced books secure in the knowledge that, even though there may be moments of mild drama, nothing very horrible will happen and everything will be alright in the end. The solution to one of the mysteries was obvious from the start, but you do not expect intricate plots from ASM; the charm of ASM's books lies in the humanity of his writing, the goodness of the characters and the beauty of the settin ...more
Jan 23, 2016 Robert rated it really liked it
After reading some "serious" stuff, it's always a relief and a joy to pick up the next (for me) Alexander McCall Smith and just ENJOY reading again. How does he do it? How does he keep it up? This one (NOT his latest - I had missed it) is better than some others. The story is complex (3 investigations going on at once) and the beloved characters do some "unusual" things - particularly Mma Makutsi and Charlie. The simple and beautiful writing could be maudlin, but then he puts in a quick and shar ...more
May 01, 2014 Bachyboy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 29, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 02, 2009 Holli rated it really liked it
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
Petra Eggs
May 05, 2015 Petra Eggs rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
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
Jun 11, 2009 Isis rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook
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
Alisha Trenalone
May 22, 2016 Alisha Trenalone rated it really liked it
This series is a world away from my usual literary tastes--I'm a glutton for the Victorian/Edwardian British sentimental novel, and these are set in modern-day Botswana and introduce a lifestyle that is foreign to me. They were recommended to me some years ago, and I read several but then stopped. I'm starting to pick them up again.
They're quite smooth reading and narrate the thought processes of the characters in a way that's entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking. I do recommend them!
Anne Hawn Smith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
An Odd1
Mar 07, 2015 An Odd1 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fun
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
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
Oct 14, 2010 hadashi rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-series
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
Diana S
Jan 11, 2013 Diana S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Will Byrnes
Oct 05, 2008 Will Byrnes rated it liked it
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
Kelsey Hanson
Dec 11, 2015 Kelsey Hanson rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction
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
Mar 06, 2016 Teri-k rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I've been reading one of this series every month or so. Generally I enjoy taking my time with them, soaking up Mme Ramotswe's surroundings and friends. But at 1/3 in, I'm finding this one less fun, because everyone seems unhappy with their lives and each other. :( Also, because they are each investigating a separate crime, they spend less time together in this book. Continuing on, though, the story lines come together again and problems are dealt with if not completely resolved. As Mme Romotswe ...more
Dec 21, 2007 Rhonda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
P.D.R. Lindsay
Another charming read in the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. And for all the charm and humour there are serious things to think about - mercy and what it is. Also can a person change themselves and if so how or if not what does everyone else do about it?

Through all the small incidents readers are led to think about much more important moral issues. That's the joy of an author like McCall Smith and makes the books in the series well worth reading.

Readers wanting a light, gently humorous sto
Tara Bush
Mar 19, 2016 Tara Bush rated it liked it
It seems that I'm becoming immune to the repetitive references: Mma Makutsi's 97% score, Mma Ramotswe's traditional build, the laziness of the apprentices, etc. I've learned to just skip over those paragraphs. I continued to lose respect for Mma Makutsi in this book as her character became even more self-centered. The cases that are being solved in this book are very easy to solve, so there isn't much surprise at the end.
Jandy James
Jun 29, 2015 Jandy James rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 07, 2016 Emilie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like the other books in the series, it was nice, a bit funny and very repetitive. Everytime I start the books, I think "enough, this is the last book I'll read in this series" because it is the same thing over and over. Yet, when I reach chapter 3, it starts growing on me. I don't think I will be able to give up on the series, it is nice to have around once in a while.
Sep 15, 2012 Marianne rated it really liked it
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.
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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
More about Alexander McCall Smith...

Other Books in the Series

No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (1 - 10 of 17 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)

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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?” 47 likes
“The previously unloved may find it hard to believe that they are now loved; that is such a miracle, they feel; such a miracle.” 24 likes
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