Alexander McCall Smith - The Good Husband Of Zebra Drive - Little, Brown Book Group

The Good Husband Of Zebra Drive

By Alexander McCall Smith

  • Paperback
  • £8.99

The eighth instalment of Alexander McCall Smith's wonderful No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series

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.

Biographical Notes

Following a distinguished career as a Professor of Medical Law, Alexander McCall Smith has turned to writing full-time. He is the author of over sixty books on a wide array of subjects, and his books have been translated into forty-two languages. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780349117737
  • Publication date: 07 Feb 2008
  • Page count: 240
  • Imprint: Abacus
Simple, elegantly written and gently insightful — THE GOOD BOOK GUIDE
Perfect escapist fiction — THE TIMES
There is a timelessness to the tales, yet they are also of the moment . . . His talent is to see the god in small things — SUNDAY TIMES SCOTLAND
This is delicious, light-hearted stuff and I love it - my only criticism is that these books are just not long enough — THE LADY
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The nursery gate is a good place for parents to meet one another. As the mother of two small children, Isabel finds herself enlarging her circle of friends to include other parents. She meets Patricia, an Irishwoman, a musician and the single mother of a small boy called Basil Phelps. Isabel hears from her husband, Jamie, that this child is allegedly the unacknowledged son of a well-known Edinburgh organist, Basil Phelps. Patricia takes to Isabel, but Isabel is suspicious - there is something about Patricia that she does not quite like, but, with her usual attention to moral obligation, she does her best to be civil and supportive. That is until she sees Patricia with a mysterious, freckled man. Isabel gets it into her head that this is Patricia's lover, and that he must be the real father of young Basil. When further discoveries are made, everything is turned on its head.Despite Jamie's discouragement, Isabel decides that she is going to get to the bottom things. Yet, when the truth is finally revealed, it seems that Isabel has misjudged Patricia; in fact, she has misjudged just about everybody.

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For seven-year-old Bertie Pollock, life in Edinburgh's most celebrated fictional street has just got immeasurably better. The enforced absence of his endlessly pushy mother Irene - currently consciousness-raising in a Bedouin harem (don't ask) - has manifold and immediate blessings: no psychotherapy, no Italian lessons and no yoga classes. Bliss.For Scotland Street's grown-ups, life throws up some new dilemmas. Matthew makes a discovery that could make him even richer but also leaves him worried. Pat makes one that could make her poorer and her father miserable - unless that uber-narcissist, Bruce, can help her out. And the Duke of Johannesburg, we discover, isn't exactly who he says he is.From what happens behind Edinburgh Airport's luggage carousel to Machiavellian manoeuvrings at the Association of Scottish Nudists, Alexander McCall Smith guides us through the brighter, lighter and frankly unexpected side of Edinburgh life. As ever with his 44 Scotland Street series, his readers will make their own discovery: that its blend of wit and wisdom mark it out as a comedic tour de force.

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Mma Ramotswe is not one to sit about. Her busy life gives her little time for relaxation (apart from the drinking of tea, of course, which is another matter altogether). Nonetheless, she is persuaded to take a holiday from the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency. But Mma Ramotswe finds it impossible to resist the temptation to follow the cases taken on by her business partner, Mma Makutsi, and to interfere in them - at one remove. This leads her to delve into the past of a man whose reputation has been called into question. Meanwhile, Violet Sephotho, Mma Makutsi's arch enemy, has had the temerity to set up a new secretarial college - one that aims to rival that great institution, the Botswana Secretarial College. Will she get her comeuppance? It will be a close-run thing.

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Even the arrival of her baby can't hold Mma Makutsi back from success in the workplace, and so no sooner than she becomes a full partner in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - in spite of Mma Ramotswe's belated claims that she is only 'an assistant full partner' - she also launches a new enterprise of her own: the Handsome Man's De Luxe Café. Grace Makutsi is a lady with a business plan, but who could predict temperamental chefs, drunken waiters and more? Luckily, help is at hand, from the only person in Gaborone more gently determined than Mma Makutsi . . . Mma Ramotswe, of course.

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Isabel Dalhousie is one of Edinburgh's most generous (but discreet) philanthropists - but should she be more charitable? She wonders, sometimes, if she is too judgmental about her niece's amorous exploits, too sharp about her housekeeper's spiritual beliefs, too ready to bristle in battle against her enemies. As the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, she doesn't, of course, allow herself actual enemies, but she does feel enmity - especially towards two academics who have just arrived in the city. Isabel feels they're a highly destabilizing influence; little tremors in the volcanic rock upon which an Enlightened Edinburgh perches. Equally troubling is the situation of the little boy who is convinced he had a previous life. When Isabel is called upon to help, she finds herself questioning her views on reincarnation. And the nature of grief. And - crucially - the positioning of lighthouses. The only questions Isabel doesn't have to address concern her personal life. With her young son and devoted husband her home life is blissfully content. Which is the best possible launching pad for the next issue of the Review - the Happiness issue. As Isabel is beginning to appreciate, happiness, for most people, is not quite what it seems . . .

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As summer blooms in Edinburgh's gardens and Bertie Pollock's birthday appears on the horizon, all at 44 Scotland Street is not cake and sunshine. Newlywed Angus Lordie has been booked by his bride into what he must not call the loony bin; Bruce's first encounter with hot wax brings more anguish than he bargained for; and Bertie's birthday dreams of scout camp and a penknife look set to be replaced by a game of Royal Weddings and a gender-neutral doll. But fate, an amorous Bedouin and the Dubai Tourist Authority conspire to transport Bertie's mother Irene to a warmer - if not a better - place, and once again in Scotland Street the triumph of human kindness over adversity gives cause for celebration.

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