Monday, May 14, 2007
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith
It is getting hard to review the books of Alexander McCall Smith without repeating myself. It is like reviewing episodes of a recurring television series. Each installment has many of the same positive qualities.
I just finished The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, which continues the story of Mma Ramotswe and her friends in Botswana that started in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. I enjoyed this eighth book of the series very much. I do not want to spoil the story, so I will only say that the agency juggles three cases, while the mechanic's apprentice Charlie tries to start his own business. With an agency office problem added into the mix, I count five parallel plots. Readers will have to keep reading to sort it all out.
What I thought would be interesting is to see how other readers rate the book. I looked at Library Thing, where I found that 100 readers have added the new book to their online catalogs. Of that number, 18 have rated it so far. This Library Thing chart shows readers liking the book so far.
Other books in the series have gotten similar member ratings: Blue Shoes and Happiness (3.9), In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (4.09), The Full Cupboard of Life (3.91), The Kalahari Typing School for Men (3.83), Morality for Beautiful Girls (3.83), Tears for the Giraffe (3.87), and No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (3.82).
For contrast, I checked Amazon to see how its customers rate the book. So far, 41 have rated it, with the average rating being slightly over 4 stars. Amazon does not provide as specific a statistic as Library Thing nor does it have the nice green bar chart.
If you are planning to read No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series books, I urge that you do start with book one, which has lent its name to the series. It sets the groundwork for the series. Other books are better read in order, too, as there are developments that are easier to understand chronologically.
I will end with a question. Does anyone know the name of the younger apprentice at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors?
McCall Smith, Alexander. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive. New York: Pantheon Books, 2007. ISBN 9780375422737