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The Good Husband of Zebra Drive [Audio Cassette]

Alexander McCall Smith
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 2007 No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
Mr J.L.B. Matekoni becomes involved in the agency's work when he investigates an errant husband. But can a man investigate such matters as competently as one of the ladies? Mma Ramotswe has her doubts. One thing, though, that she does not doubt is the good nature of Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, who stands for all that is solid and true in a shifting world.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. 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 is Mma 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Scotsman McCall Smith's best-selling novels featuring "traditionally built" Botswana sleuth Precious Ramotswe continue to resonate with poignancy, wisdom, and wit. Fans of the series will appreciate the deeper characterizations in this eighth entry, particularly that of Mma Ramotswe's bespectacled assistant, Mma Makutsi, whose professional priorities seem to shift after her engagement to a wealthy man. McCall Smith (whose vast opus includes the Isabel Dalhousie, 44 Scotland Street, and Portuguese Irregular Verb series) serves up a compelling mystery, too, involving a series of patients who have died at the same time of the week in the same hospital bed. This time around, Mma Ramotswe's devoted husband (and first-class mechanic) J. L. B. Matekoni also tries his hand at the detective business, catering to a rude client who suspects her husband of infidelity. The case prompts Mr. Matekoni to wonder whether he's exciting enough for his cherished wife. Of course, no matter what dramas the day brings, Mma Ramotswe always has time to enjoy a cup of red bush tea and revel in the beauty of her native land. Peace and prosperity prevail in Botswana, where McCall Smith, who was born in Zimbabwe, spent time as a professor of law. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series is his love letter to a country whose salubrious climate is matched by the warmth and humanity of its people. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Good Husband of Zebra Drive Dec 30 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I Loved this book! Very easy to read and one that's hard to put down! Even my husband loved it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars ENGAGING, ENTERTAINING, REFRESHING March 19 2008
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
If you have yet to meet Precious Ramotswe - treat yourself. As I said of her in a review of the first novel in Smith's series, she is "Of traditional build and generous heart, she's the indefatigable, irresistible proprietress of Botswana's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency."

For this reader it was love at first page of Smith's initial offering and my enthusiasm for this endearing, surprising character hasn't wavered. Her story is as fresh and new with this, the eighth in the series, as it was in the first. By now many have become familiar with the characters and eagerly look forward to their latest adventures. I count myself among those readers.

With The Good Husband of Zebra Drive several of our favorites find themselves facing momentous decisions just as Precious is presented with a confounding mystery by a doctor who has seen patients die in the same bed at the same time of day at Mochudi's hospital. Mma Makutsi may leave the Agency (Heaven forbid as I'll always remember her undulations of pleasure to say nothing of her perfect typing). And, there is a straying husband.

As always Precious's life is filled with conundrums and challenges which she faces with wit and wisdom. Pages of The Good Husband of Zebra Drive flew by far too rapidly and I eagerly await a return visit to beautiful Botswana.

Highly recommended.

- Gail Cooke
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Filled with Humorous Situations! April 27 2007
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
If you haven't read any other books in the series, don't start with this one! Why? Most of the plot's impact relies on long-standing character and relationship developments developed in the prior seven books. Alexander McCall Smith does a fine job of referencing those histories, but the impact won't be the same without having read about those events in the earlier books. This is particularly important to the extreme sense of fun that the book can bring to you.

The theme of this book could be summarized in the humorous Joel Osteen aphorism, "The grass may look greener on the other side of the fence, but it still has to be mowed." Precious Ramotswe's world is turned upside down when many of those closest to her decide that they want changes in their lives. Her husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, wants to take a turn at being a detective. Mma. Makutsi, her able assistant, is increasingly restive as she looks forward to marriage to the wealthy Phutti Radiphutti and doesn't see herself in the assistant role any more. In fact, she decides she wants a new job! The woman-chasing Charlie decides to drop out of his apprenticeship with Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and start his own taxi business. Never has Precious faced so many changes in those who are closest to her since her father, Obed Ramotswe, died.

Talk about a great set-up for a book. Wow!

Obviously, life isn't as easy to change as that. You have to know how to work with clients and detect in order to be a detective. The easy-going Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni is easily cowed by his client, the very rude Mma. Botumile. In fact, he just follows her direction.

Mma. Makutsi has forgotten that most offices in Botswana want to hire help for their appearance rather than for their skill.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forget Miss Marpole Dec 20 2007
Format:Hardcover
This is a great series. Fun and light-hearted mystery. It's no mystery why so many people love Alexander McCall Smith.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  211 reviews
90 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great visit with Mma Ramotswe and her crew March 25 2007
By Terry Mathews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
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.

Enjoy!
47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purchase the Audio CD and Hear an African Voice May 27 2007
By Marco Antonio Abarca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"The Good Husband of Zebra Drive" is the latest work in Alexander McCall Smith's Number One Ladies Detective Agency series. If you have not had a chance to purchase the Audio CD, do so for the opportunity to listen to Lisette Lecat narrate the book. She is a talented actor from South Africa. As an African, Lecat is able to bring the sound of Botswana to the listener. Hearing the accent and having the places and names pronounced correctly adds an additional layer of pleasure to this well written book.
54 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darker Side of Botswana is Depicted April 17 2007
By Miami Bob - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It has been some time since I read my last novel of the Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series, and I was originally displeased with this book. I thought about giving it 4 stars. Then I thought, I opened the book after dinner and finished it before bedtime: how bad can a book be if you don't put it down?

What I disliked was the reality of the characters, the reality of the issues, the reality that Botswana is modernizing. Mma Makutsi, like my teenager at home, too often chides other people, in a rude and in-your-face fashion. The new cases walking through their doors are not cow thieves or simple questions of trust. Clients seek to discover employees who steal - even though the employers are generous. Stock trading scandals are discovered. What next: pollution violations? Botswana now has modern day issues. Botswana is an uglier place.

McCall Smith seems less enchanted by the "Leave It To Beaver" simplicity of many of its gloriously gentle citizens. "There were all those unkindnesses, palpable, daily; so easily avoidable; but one could not think of those, thought Mma Ramotswe, or one would spend one's time in tears - and the unkindness would continue. 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 solution?"

Botswana is changing, but it is not dead. McCall Smith reminds us, "That fine country, with its good people, was still there. . . "

Reading these books is like getting out of the rat race and flying off to where life is simpler, better. Social standards seem so good in Botswana. Maybe the "good old days" were better in Botswana than they are today; but, the present days still have a lot of good.

After engaging the characters in numerous "new vocations" whether from malaise or midlife crisis, the author has our beloved J.L.B. Matekoni return to his auto mechanic's life as Matekoni realizes that, "The things that we do best. . . are the things that we have always done best."

Among all of the series written by McCall Smith, this is his best. And we can only hope that he realizes this fact and continues to do his best by delivering more novels for this series.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ENDEARING, SURPRISING, REFRESHING March 20 2008
By Gail Cooke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you have yet to meet Precious Ramotswe - treat yourself. As I said of her in a review of the first novel in Smith's series, she is "Of traditional build and generous heart, she's the indefatigable, irresistible proprietress of Botswana's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency."

For this reader it was love at first page of Smith's initial offering and my enthusiasm for this endearing, surprising character hasn't wavered. Her story is as fresh and new with this, the eighth in the series, as it was in the first. By now many have become familiar with the characters and eagerly look forward to their latest adventures. I count myself among those readers.

With The Good Husband of Zebra Drive several of our favorites find themselves facing momentous decisions just as Precious is presented with a confounding mystery by a doctor who has seen patients die in the same bed at the same time of day at Mochudi's hospital. Mma Makutsi may leave the Agency (Heaven forbid as I'll always remember her undulations of pleasure to say nothing of her perfect typing). And, there is a straying husband.

As always Precious's life is filled with conundrums and challenges which she faces with wit and wisdom. Pages of The Good Husband of Zebra Drive flew by far too rapidly and I eagerly await a return visit to beautiful Botswana.

Highly recommended.

- Gail Cooke
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master does it again April 17 2007
By C. Catherwood - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Other reviews tell the plotline, so I won't do that here, but it is a truly wonderful book that is a perfect member of an idyllic series - McCall Smith is the Master of the novel that is a perfect antidote to the all too hectic society in which we live today. Plenty happens in this novel - if not more than usual - and lots of fascinating ethical and other issues are raised, but the sense of calm that one gets reading any Botswana novel by him pervades here too. This is the perfect book to read to soothe the troubled 21st century brow, as well as a great yarn in its own right. Read it, then buy copies to give to all your colleagues at work - they will thank you for it! Christopher Catherwood, author of A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MIDDLE EAST (Carroll and Graf 2006) and CHURCH HISTORY: A CRASH COURSE FOR THE CURIOUS (Crossway 2007), and a no.1 McCall Smith enthusiast
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