The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, Paperback
4 out of 5 (5 ratings)


As winter turns to spring across the red earth, acacia trees and slow green rivers of Botswana, all is not quite as it should be on Zebra Drive, home to Mma Ramotswe and her beloved husband Mr J.

L. B. Matekoni. At the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency there are the usual number of cases to be pursued, from persistent theft at Teenie Magama's printing works to the rather more serious case of three suspicious deaths at the Mochudi hospital, but there is discontent among the ranks.

It is bad enough that Mr Matekoni's apprentice Charlie is off on another escapade and Mma Makutsi's impending marriage threatens her happy working relationship with Mma Ramotswe. And when - in trying to prove himself a worthy husband - Mr J.

L. B. Matekoni himself decides to try a little detective work, disaster looms ...Tender, witty and wise, the latest instalment in the lives of Alexander McCall's Smith's extended Botswana family instructs us with familiar modesty in the importance of trust, love, not judging by appearances and what really makes a good husband.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780349117737



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Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.

Review by

I am an unabashed fan of Alexander McCall Smith’s works, and <i>The Good Husband of Zebra Drive</i>, the eighth instalment in <i>The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency</i>, only further strengthens that opinion. Without fanfare and despite a rather long interval between books, from the very first page I became totally immersed again in the world of Precious Ramotse, and utterly enchanted.The season is slowly changing from winter in Botswana, and so it seems is the status quo around Mma Ramotse. With the larger issues in life now comfortably established, the inhabitants of Zebra Drive are routinely cosy, until one morning “suppositions are so rudely shattered before eight o’clock” and it becomes “a day for discovering things about the world which are quite different from what you thought they were!” Thus we are introduced to the premise for this book and the merriment begins.Mr J. L. B. Matekoni decides to try his hand at a little detective work; Mma Makutsi is feeling so unsettled, despite her engagement to Phuti Radiphuti, she is considering a change to her employment; and Charlie, the apprentice, wants to start his own business! It is, indeed, as if the stars are out of alignment and are having a dire influence on Botswana, and in particular over Tlokweng Road; all this as the agency investigates three suspicious deaths at a hospital, thefts from a printing works, and Mma Ramotse catches up with old friends, while surveying the world at large in her usual but inimitable fashion. The appeal of these books is directly related to the characters – Alexander McCall Smith, I think, genuinely loves his creations, and the land in which he places them – and it is easily apparent that he speaks from personal knowledge and experience. Subtle lessons in life are artfully advanced through the musings and thought processes he links so aptly to these personas; and hence provides a depth of feeling that is unreservedly satisfying to me, at a spiritual level. These people are earthy, engaging, earnest, honest, often idiosyncratic – but with an innate humanity that charms and inspires. And produce many laugh-out-loud moments, even as you <i>know</i> their world will realign favourably!These books are not a fast-paced crime thriller; in fact, any sleuthing in these books is used to emphasise the author’s philosophy and sociological mind set – resulting in a well-written, ingenious take on life. These books simply make me smile.

Review by

Continuing introspection on Botswanan life from Mma Ramotswe and co. Featuring all the usual cast and the barely mentioing the children. A series of deaths is troubling the administrator of the local hospital, someone is stealing from the printworks, and a wife is yet again suspecting her husband of philandering, meanwhile Charlie the oldest apprentice is once again dreaming about making his fortune and his own way in the world.I didn't enjoy this as much as some of the others, somehow the charm was lacking. There were too many instances of awkward personal encounters, annoying enough in the occasional real life occurance, I've little wish to spend most of a book reading about them. However once again the redeeming factor is Mma Ramotswe's social commentry as she thinks about what it takes to live in the world.

Review by

As lovely as usual. This is the first of the series that I've read since watching the tv adaptation of the first book, so it was nice to see the reference to Happy and her daddy.I love Mr J L B Matekoni! He's so sweet.

Review by
It was the same with his trousers. Mma Ramotswe kept a general watch on the generously cut khaki trousers that her husband wore underneath his work overalls, and eventually, when the trouser legs became scuffed at the bottom, she would discreetly remove them from the washing machine after a final wash and pass them on to the woman at the Anglican Cathedral who would find a good home for them. Mr J.L.B. Matekoni often did not notice that he was putting on a new pair of trousers, particularly if Mma Ramotswe distracted him with some item of news or gossip while he was in the process of getting dressed. This was necessary, she felt, as he had always been unwilling to get rid of his old clothes, to which, like many men, he became excessively attached. If men were left to their own devices, Mma Ramotswe believed, they would go about in rags.As Mma Makutsi sets a date for her wedding, Mma Ramotswe starts to worry that her assistant may decide to give up work once she is married, and Mr J.L.B. Maketoni persuades his wife to let him investigate the case of an unfaithful husband.When I read the previous book I was getting rather bored of this series, so I left a gap of a few months before reading this one. I feel entirely differently about this one, so perhaps the charming television series which is currently being shown on Sunday nights has reawakened my liking for the books.
Review by

Things are shaken up on Zebra Drive - do Mr J. L. B. Maketoni, Mma Makutsi and apprentice Charlie really want changes of career - what will be the implications for Mma Ramotswe's No. 1 Ladies Detective agency and Mr J. L. B. Maketoni's Speedy Motors! More of the same low key charm from Alexander McCall Smith. Inspector Frost fans will recognise one of the plot lines ...