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

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  21,420 Ratings  ·  1,123 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 a
Hardcover, 213 pages
Published April 17th 2007 by Pantheon Books (first published 2007)
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Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne FlukeMurder at the Vicarage by Agatha ChristieThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan BradleyAbby Cooper, Psychic Eye by Victoria Laurie
Best Cozy Mystery Series
1,741 books — 1,837 voters
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene HanffThe Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall SmithCannery Row by John SteinbeckBrick Lane by Monica AliThe Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
City Streets
227 books — 48 voters

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Community Reviews

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Mar 20, 2009 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
Jul 06, 2009 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
Jul 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Second Read:
One of the best things about 2017, for me, has been rereading this series by Alexander McCall Smith. If you find yourself needing a book that will give you something to chew on but is mostly about human interaction, community, civility, kindness and humor, with a good dose of culture, then there is a very long series here that will fill the bill. 17 volumes so far, and a new one coming out next month.

There were a few surprises in this volume I didn't expect, I love the characters mo
Aug 07, 2015 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.
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.
Dec 01, 2015 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.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a book about mistaken impressions. Everybody seems to make one, some regret theirs, but others are too arrogant to admit they can be wrong. It's not the best book in the series, but there are some insights that are valuable. Mr. Matekoni shows his weakness by continuing to enable Charlie, but finally admits to himself that he is no detective. Now, if he would just stand up to Mma Potokwane, but then Mma Ramotswe enables her as well. Strengths and weaknesses make the world of the No. 1 La ...more
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
Petra X
Jul 05, 2008 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
Anne Hawn Smith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diana S
Jan 07, 2013 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
Faith Spinks
May 18, 2015 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 11, 2016 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 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 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 20, 2014 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.
Gláucia Renata
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oitavo livro da deliciosa série AN1MD. Cinco estrelas de puro entretenimento, nada mais que ótimos momentos de leitura tão aconchegante quanto uma xícara de chá... de roibos se possível.
Como sempre nada de tão extraordinário na agência, mas foi tão legal ver o Sr. J.L.B. Matekoni dar uma de detetive lidando com uma cliente rude.
O caso das mortes no hospital teve um desfecho delicado.
Fiquei com muita pena de Charlie, o aprendiz mais velho e sua malfadada Agência Número 1 de Táxi Para Mulheres.
E m
When these books first came out, I thought they were brilliant, as they were something completely different. But having gone back to this series after something like 6 years , I did find this was quite repetitive. The story was fine and the description of the countryside was interesting, and the relationships between the characters was amusing, but I found it kept going over the same thing. I will carry on with the books as I have a few unread here, but doubt if I will buy any more.
Feb 02, 2009 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
May 31, 2009 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
May 15, 2016 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!
An Odd1
Feb 20, 2015 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
Sep 12, 2010 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
Will Byrnes
Oct 05, 2008 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
Feb 06, 2014 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
Feb 20, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Nov 13, 2007 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
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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 19 books)
  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #01)
  • Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #02)
  • Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #03)
  • The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #04)
  • The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #05)
  • In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #06)
  • Blue Shoes and Happiness (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #07)
  • The Miracle at Speedy Motors (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #09)
  • Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #10)
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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?” 49 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?” 25 likes
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