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mercredi 7 juillet 2010

“The Good Husband of Zebra Drive” by Alexander McCall Smith

Le présent billet a été rédigé par Jacquie Bridonneau, que je remercie.

“The Good Husband of Zebra Drive” by Alexander McCall Smith

A book in the series “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” Published by First Anchor Books Edition $13.95

“The Good Husband of Zebra Drive” is a good, easy to read, fun and entertaining book which will be a good one to slip into your vacation suitcase, and read while relaxing at the pool, or on the beach. This is the eighth book in Alexander McCall Smith’s enjoyable series about Precious Ramotswe, a “traditionally built” woman who lives on Zebra Drive, and who is the at the head of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, located in a building she shares with Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, her husband and head of the Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors garage.

Precious Ramotswe, or Mma Ramotswe as she is most commonly called in the book, is a good lady, full of common sense, diplomacy, philosophy and endowed with kindness and dignity. She is one of those people that always see the glass as being half full, and who is able to bring out the best in anyone. She is assisted in her job by Mma Makutsi, who, being engaged, is considering leaving the Agency, in spite of the fact that she had the enviable score of 97% in the Botswana Secretarial College typing exam. And Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni also wants to branch out of his garage, and take on a bit of detective work, so Mma Romatswe’s life could possibly be changing drastically.

There is rarely a dull moment in this book, as Mma Ramotswe is asked to investigate a series of unexpected deaths at the Mochudi hospital, and other mysteries crop up in this book, which she and her assistants are able to solve.

But this is not really a book about solving crimes, we do not have to wait until the very last pages of the book to understand “whodunit.” This is a book promoting the universality of human nature, and about life in Mma Ramotswe’s beloved country of Botswana, its specificities, way of living, flora and fauna. When you read this book, you want to know more about this country: here are just a few facts that I looked up.

“Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name upon independence in 1966. Four decades of uninterrupted civilian leadership, progressive social policies, and significant capital investment have created one of the most dynamic economies in Africa. Mineral extraction, principally diamond mining, dominates economic activity, though tourism is a growing sector due to the country's conservation practices and extensive nature preserves. Botswana has the world's highest known rate of HIV/AIDS infection, but also one of Africa's most progressive and comprehensive programs for dealing with the disease.” (Botswana facts website)

“Botswana has maintained one of the world's highest growth rates since independence in 1966. Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of $8,800 in 2003. Two major investment services rank Botswana as the best credit risk in Africa. Diamond mining has fuelled much of the expansion and currently accounts for more than one-third of GDP and for nine-tenths of export earnings. Tourism, subsistence farming, and cattle raising are other key sectors. On the downside, the government must deal with high rates of unemployment and poverty. Unemployment officially is 21%, but unofficial estimates place it closer to 40%.” (Botswana facts website)

“What is Botswana Famous for?

• Being the number 1 tourism destination in Africa
Botswana also ranks within the Top 10 of the favorite global tourist destinations!

• Political Stability

• Having the largest Elephant population in Africa

• Being the largest producer of diamonds in the world (...by value)

• Last but not least the loving and friendly people of Botswana.” (safaris-in-Botswana.com)

So even if you can’t go to Botswana, where by the way, the official language is English, for your summer vacation, just reading this pleasant non-intellectual but entertaining book will give you plenty of ideas for next year!

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