Today's publishing world seems to be dominated by writers who produce violent crime/thrillers. These books are usually driven by bleak plotlines and blood spills off nearly every page. The crooks/evil ones are usually caught in the end, but there's nothing positive to take away from the experience.
While a good adrenaline rush gets the blood pumping, it's nice to slow down with sweet, uplifting fiction. With the release of his 8th book in the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, Alexander McCall Smith is establishing himself as one of the preeminent writers of sweet, gentle fiction.
As with previous books, "The Good Husband of Zebra Drive" gives the reader a glimpse into the life of Precious Ramotswe, proprietor of a detective agency in Gaborone, Botswana.
Mma Ramotswe's agency is located adjacent to Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, a garage owned by her husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni.
Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, the real husband of Zebra Drive, is about to investigate his first case, but is troubled about how to tell his wife about the assignment.
Mma Ramotswe's capable assistant, Grace Makutsi is troubled about several things, including a date for her wedding to Phuti Radiphuti, owner of the Double Comfort Furniture Store. Miss Makutsi is also concerned about her future. She's been working for Mma Ramotswe for sometime, without a promotion. She should be doing better. After all, she is a 97-percent graduate of the Botswana Secretarial College.
The agency investigates a wayward husband and three unexpected, mysterious deaths at a hospital. The puzzles are always solved in McCall Smith's books, but what keeps readers coming back for each book are the main characters and their rich, human relationships.
At the heart of soul of the stories is Mma Ramotswe, `a traditionally built' middle-aged woman who loves her family, her work and her country.
Supporting Mma Ramotswe is the solid, dependable Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni. He's a good mechanic, a kind employer and a devoted husband.
Grace Makutsi, young and a bit vain, provides color in this volume. Grace provides drama in Mma Ramotswe's world, especially when she suddenly decides to leave the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency one day, stunning everyone.
Providing comic relief this time around is Charlie, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's oldest apprentice. The naïve Charlie is determined to set out on his own. His brief foray into the real world provides some funny and poignant moments.
Spending time with these gracious people is like finding a calming and soothing oasis after a parched trip through the barren desert. Time spent in Precious Ramotswe's world is never wasted. You'll leave feeling happy, contented and lucky.