Sunday, 6 May 2007

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith

The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
Alexander McCall Smith

BOTSWANA'S people live in the trembling territory between South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia.

The Batswana are diplomats, familiar with the problems of walking carefully around bad-tempered neighbours.

Alexander McCall Smith was born in the nasty racist state of Rhodesia (now the nasty racist state of Zimbabwe), studied in Scotland, then returned to Botswana to teach, and now lives in Scotland.

He writes books about Botswana, which I love, and ones about Scotland, which I don't.

The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is at the centre of his Botswana books. Its proprietor, Mma Precious Ramotswe, has a comfortable 'traditional African figure' (size 22) and a heart as big as Africa.

Here, the agency investigates when the rudest woman in Botswana thinks her husband is having an affair. A hospital is worried that patients are dying on Fridays in a particular bed. And office supplies are going missing in a printing company.

All these - and a few staffing problems - are solved by tact and thought, flavoured with kind politeness.

A happy and lovable book; read it and smile.


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