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Alexander McCall Smith - Author

About the Author

McCall Smith’s generous writing and dry humor, his gentleness and humanity, and his ability to evoke a place and a set of characters without caricature or condescension have endeared his books to readers

— New York Times

Alexander McCall Smith, often referred to as ‘Sandy’,  is one of the world’s most prolific and best-loved authors. For many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the UK and abroad before turning his hand to writing fiction. He has written and contributed to more than 100 books including specialist academic titles, short story collections, and a number of immensely popular children’s books. His first book, The White Hippo—a children’s book, was published by Hamish Hamilton in 1980.

But it wasn’t until the publication of the highly successful The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series that Alexander became a household name. The series has now sold over twenty million copies in the English language alone, and since the books took off, he has devoted his time to writing.

His various series of books have been translated into forty-six languages and become bestsellers throughout the world. These include the popular 44 Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in the Scotsman newspaper and now the longest-running serial novel in the world; the Isabel Dalhousie novels, and the von Igelfeld series. He is also the author of the Corduroy Mansions series, which started life as an engaging cross-media serial written for the Telegraph online. And most recently, he launched the Ulf Varg series of Scandi blanc novels set in Sweden.

In addition to these series, Alexander has written a number of stand-alone novels, including , The Good Pilot Peter WoodhouseMy Italian Bulldozer, The Second Worst Restaurant in FranceFatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party, Chance Developments and Pianos and Flowers.

Earlier stand alone books include Trains and Lovers: A Heart’s JourneyThe Forever Girl; La’s Orchestra Saves the World; and Emma—a reworking of the classic Jane Austen novel.

He has also authored many non-fiction titles, the latest of which are A Work of Beauty: Alexander McCall Smith’s Edinburgh and What W.H. Auden Can Do For You.

Recently Alexander has written a new children’s series—The School Ship Tobermory—and we now have four books in the series. This increases the number of children’s books he has written to more than thirty.

Alexander has received numerous awards for his writing and holds twelve honorary doctorates from universities in Europe and North America. In 2007 he received a CBE for services to literature and in 2011 was honoured by the President of Botswana for services through literature to the country. In 2015 he received the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction and in 2017, The National Arts Club (of America) Medal of Honor for Achievement in Literature. In 2020, he will receive the honorary fellowship of the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival.

The breadth of his body of work vividly evokes places and characters who are infused with humanity, decency, wit and humour –The National Arts Club citation

 

Click here to read an exclusive interview with Alexander McCall Smith by Mary Hogarth.

A Lovereading guide to the works of Alexander McCall Smith...

The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency was first published in 1998 and then, suddenly, it took off in America to the extent that no less than11 reprints were required in 2003.

Since then, so prolific has been his output, and so has his popularity soared, that there was a time when the sheer multitude of McCall Smith's books led to confusion as to which book fitted into each of the various series under which he writes. One has hardly been able to keep up with the sheer abundance of books published - we reckon at least thirty in less than a decade.

Now, thankfully, things have settled down and the legions of McCall Smiths avid fans can compartmentalise his new books into the four main series under which they sit - The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency Series, The Isabel Dalhousie Novels, The 44 Scotland Street Series and The Corduroy Mansions Series with a few more on top!

There are constant features across the whole panoply of McCall Smith's output. Wry and witty observations about the day-to-day lives of normal people. An innocence and delight in the human condition. And, always, a twinkle on the eye shared by writer and reader. He is a happy writer and that makes for happy readers.


He is best known for the following 4 series of novels (they are shown below in the order they were published) :-

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Tears of the Giraffe, Morality for Beautiful Girls, The Kalahari Typing School for Men, The Full Cupboard of Life, In the Company of Cheerful Ladies, Blue Shoes and Happiness, The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, The Miracle at Speedy Motors, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built, The Double Comfort Safari Club, The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party, The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection, The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe, The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine, Precious and Grace.

Isabel Dalhousie series: The Sunday Philosophy Club,Friends, Lovers, Chocolate, The Right Attitude to Rain, The Careful Use of Compliments, The Comfort of Saturdays, The Lost Art of Gratitude, The Charming Quirks of Others, The Forgotten Affairs of Youth, The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds, The Novel Habits of Happiness.

44 Scotland Street series: 44 Scotland Street, Espresso Tales, Love Over Scotland, The World According to Bertie, The Unbearable Lightness of Scones, The Importance of Being Seven, Bertie Plays the Blues, Sunshine on Scotland Street, Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers, The Revolving Door of Life, The Bertie Project, A Time of Love and Tartan.

Corduroy Mansions Series: Corduroy Mansions, The Dog Who Came in from the Cold, A Conspiracy of Friends.

Author Photo © Graham Clark

Featured books by Alexander McCall Smith

The Novel Habits of Happiness

The Novel Habits of Happiness

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/04/2016

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.

ebook of the month
The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine

The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/09/2015

Mma Ramotswe, the proprietress of the No 1. Ladies' Detective Agency, is not one to sit about. Her busy life gives her little time for relaxation (apart from the drinking of tea, of course). Nonetheless, she is convinced by co-director Mma Makutsi to take a holiday. But Mma Ramotswe finds it impossible to resist the temptation to follow the cases taken on by Mma Makutsi, and to interfere in them - secretly, she intends ...This leads her to delve into the past of a famous man whose reputation has been called into question, and to join forces with a new assistant detective (and part-time science teacher), Mr. Polopetsi. While 'on holiday' Mma Ramotswe also manages to help a young boy named Samuel in the search for his missing mother; and then of course there is the agency's arch-enemy Violet Sephotho, scheming to set up a rival secretarial college. Lessons must be learned, whether we are willing or not, and in the end Mma Ramotswe finds that a little trust goes a long way, especially when it comes to having confidence in our dearest friends and colleagues.

ebook of the month
The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe

The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/05/2015

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 Cafe. 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.

ebook of the month
The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe

The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/09/2014

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 Cafe. 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.

ebook of the month
Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers

Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/06/2014

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.

ebook of the month
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/02/2014

Not only is Mr J. L. B. Matekoni attempting to reform himself into a modern husband, but after her marriage to Phuti Radiphuti, Mma Ramotswe's challenging but irreplaceable associate Mma Makutsi has joyful news. With the arrival of an heir to the Double Comfort furniture empire and Mma Makutsi busy with motherhood, cobras and a senior aunt, Mma Ramotswe must grapple alone with tea-making, detective work and a new uncertainty. Disturbing developments over the will of a local dignitary, Edgar Molapo, point to fraud and a shocking family secret, while tracing the source of a smear campaign against the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, in which notorious troublemaker Violet Sephotho may or not have a hand, proves to require a keen eye and an open mind. But the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is resilient and adaptable, and change brings salutary lessons: that our enemies are not always obvious, that a snake under the bed may be an ally, and that a mother's love conquers all.

ebook of the month
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/02/2014

As Botswana awaits the familiar blessing of the rains and the resumption of the eternal cycle, seismic upheaval is taking place at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Not only is Mr J. L. B. Matekoni attempting to reform himself into a modern husband, but after her marriage to Phuti Radiphuti, Mma Ramotswe's challenging but irreplaceable associate Mma Makutsi has joyful news. With the arrival of an heir to the Double Comfort furniture empire and Mma Makutsi busy with motherhood, cobras and a senior aunt, Mma Ramotswe must grapple alone with tea-making, detective work and a new uncertainty. Disturbing developments over the will of a local dignitary, Edgar Molapo, point to fraud and a shocking family secret, while tracing the source of a smear campaign against the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, in which notorious troublemaker Violet Sephotho may or not have a hand, proves to require a keen eye and an open mind. But the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is resilient and adaptable, and change brings salutary lessons: that our enemies are not always obvious, that a snake under the bed may be an ally, and that a mother's love conquers all.

ebook of the month
The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds

The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2013

As a mother, wife, employer and editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, Isabel Dalhousie is aware that to be human is to be responsible. So when a neighbour brings her a new and potentially dangerous puzzle to solve, once again Isabel feels she has no option but to shoulder the burden. A masterpiece painting has been stolen from Duncan Munrowe, old-fashioned philanthropist, father to two discontented children, and a very wealthy man. As Isabel enters into negotiations with the shadowy figures who are in search of a ransom, a case where heroes and villains should be clearly defined turns murky: the list of those who desire the painting - or the money - lengthens, and hasty judgement must be avoided at all cost.

ebook of the month
Unusual Uses for Olive Oil A Von Igelfeld Novel

Unusual Uses for Olive Oil A Von Igelfeld Novel

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/10/2012

Life is so unfair, and it sends many things to try Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, author of Portuguese Irregular Verbs and pillar of the Institute of Romance Philology in the proud Bavarian city of Regensburg. There is the undeserved rise of his rival (and owner of a one-legged dachshund), Detlev Amadeus Unterholzer; the interminable ramblings of the librarian, Herr Huber; and the condescension of his colleagues with regard to his unmarried state. But when his friend Ophelia Prinzel takes it upon herself to match-make, and duly produces a cheerful heiress with her own Schloss, it appears that the professor's true worth is about to be recognised. Maddening, idiotic and hugely entertaining, von Igelfeld is an inspired comic creation.

ebook of the month
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/03/2012

 While investigating unpleasant occurrences on a southern cattle-post, Mma Ramotswe, always on the side of the weak against the strong, has reason to reflect on Rule No.3 of The Principles of Private Detection: never lie to the client. Apprentice mechanic Charlie seems to be avoiding certain important responsibilities. And as Mma Makutsi's big day approaches, her nemesis Violet Sephotho is casting her net wider: by standing for election which could spell trouble for the entire nation. But as friends and family gather under starry African night skies, it turns out that even the most perplexing of apparitions - and the most shocking of crimes - may yield to rational explanation. And, of course, to Mma Ramotswe's inimitable way with love, intuition and redbush tea.

ebook of the month
The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/03/2012

ebook of the month
Unusual Uses for Olive Oil A Von Igelfeld Novel

Unusual Uses for Olive Oil A Von Igelfeld Novel

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/10/2011

Life is so unfair, and it sends many things to try Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, author of Portuguese Irregular Verbs and pillar of the Institute of Romance Philology in the proud Bavarian city of Regensburg. There is the undeserved rise of his rival (and owner of a one-legged dachshund), Detlev Amadeus Unterholzer; the interminable ramblings of the librarian, Herr Huber; and the condescension of his colleagues with regard to his unmarried state. But when his friend Ophelia Prinzel takes it upon herself to match-make, and duly produces a cheerful heiress with her own Schloss, it appears that the professor's true worth is about to be recognised. Maddening, idiotic and hugely entertaining, von Igelfeld is an inspired comic creation.

Other books by Alexander McCall Smith

A Promise of Ankles

A Promise of Ankles

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/11/2020

We are back in Scotland Street, where Bertie is now living with his father and younger brother, Ulysses, his mother, Irene, having gone off to Aberdeen (at long last, in the view of some). Bertie's father has found a friend, and is trying to get to know her better. Irene, though, may have other ideas. Big Lou is developing her coffee bar, aided by her new business partner, Matthew, father of triplets and dealer in art. Bruce, the confirmed narcissist, meets a charming dental hygienist. Will he reform and settle down? The mysterious Italian nun who arrived in Scotland with Antonia, one of the residents of Scotland Street, is becoming more enigmatic. Her meteoric social rise, however, continues unabated. She is now on the board of the Scottish National Gallery and is planning a rehang of the nation's paintings. Will she get away with that?

In a Time of Distance

In a Time of Distance

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2020

'In a Time of Distance', the poem from which the collection take its title, was written at the start of the global pandemic which struck at the start of 2020, here the author reminds us of what is important in life and to focus on love, friendship and family. And it is this approach to life that makes this collection a captivating celebration of love and friendship, of Scotland and people, of animals and books. Looking at the World through the lens of this writer, it is a better, more humane place. Throughout the collection there are moments of swoop and soar, descriptions that will make you laugh and realign your view. The author reminds us to look at the World differently, to stop once in while and look up at the sky.

Tiny Tales

Tiny Tales

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/08/2020

Stories do not have to be long. In the space of a couple of sentences - or even a page or two - we may see the human heart exposed in a way that is more powerful than occurs in many much longer narratives. In Tiny Tales Alexander McCall Smith explores romance, ambition, kindness and happiness in thirty short stories that range in length from the short to the minuscule. The settings are as diverse as the characters - Scotland, England, Australia, the United States - combining to create a rich and surprising tableau. An Australian pope?. A persuasive cosmetic surgeon? The world's laziest cat. A group of students living together and getting romantically entangled? All human and animal life is here - in miniature. These stories are inspired and accompanied by the thirty magnificent strip Tiny Tales created by McCall Smith and illustrated by the brilliant Iain McIntosh - each cartoon a little gem of observation.

The Limpopo Academy Of Private Detection

The Limpopo Academy Of Private Detection

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/08/2020

THE THIRTEENTH BOOK IN THE BELOVED NO. 1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY SERIES The one where Mma Ramotswe meets her hero . . . Mma Ramotswe, normally a peaceful sleeper, finds her slumbers disturbed by dreams of a tall stranger - but she is not quite ready to learn what this vision portends. Soon even Mma Makutsi has to admit that untoward things are occurring around the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency: at Speedy motors, Fanwell finds himself in trouble with the law, and the indomitable Mma Potokwani disappears from the orphan farm. Armed with courage, kindness and an instinct for the truth, Mma Ramotswe sets out to restore order . . .

Noah Wild and the Floating Zoo

Noah Wild and the Floating Zoo

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/08/2020

It's full-time monkey business on the high seas in this new family adventure from Alexander McCall Smith, the bestselling author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. Noah can't believe it when he finds out his uncle owns a zoo! But the zoo is closing down, and there are animals who need homes. Before he knows it, Noah and his family are setting sail on a round-the-world trip returning the zoo animals to the places they were born. But when they try to return one very cheeky monkey, they're in for a whole boat-load of trouble!

Tears of the Giraffe

Tears of the Giraffe

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/08/2020

THE SECOND BOOK IN THE BELOVED NO. 1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY SERIES The one where Precious gains a new family . . . Mma Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is hoping to set up home with Mr J.L.B. Maketoni. But first she must deal with his scheming, misbehaving maid. She also has to confront the most difficult case of her career so far: that of an American who went missing ten years ago, and about whom all leads have long since dried up. Then there are not one, but two sudden additions to Mma's family . . .

The Good Husband Of Zebra Drive

The Good Husband Of Zebra Drive

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/08/2020

THE EIGHTH BOOK IN THE BELOVED NO. 1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY SERIES The one where Mma Ramotswe's husband plays detective . . . At the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency there are many new cases for Precious Ramotswe to attend to, including the grave matter of three suspicious deaths at the hospital. But her attention is distracted by domestic problems - for the engagement of Mma Makutsi to Phuti Radiphuti is threatening their friendship. And, unkown to them both, the good husband of Zebra Drive, Mr J. L. B. Matekoni, has been tempted into some detective work of his own, with disastrous results . . .

The Peppermint Tea Chronicles

The Peppermint Tea Chronicles

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/07/2020

It is summer in Scotland Street (as it always is) and for the habitues of Edinburgh's favourite street some extraordinary adventures lie in waiting. For the impossibly vain Bruce Anderson - he of the clove-scented hair gel - it may finally be time to settle down, and surely it can only be a question of picking the lucky winner from the hordes of his admirers. The Duke of Johannesburg is keen to take his flight of fancy, a microlite seaplane, from the drawing board to the skies. Big Lou is delighted to discover that her young foster son has a surprising gift for dance but she is faced with big decisions to make on his and her futures. And with Irene now away to pursue her research in Aberdeen, her husband, Stuart, and infinitely long-suffering son, Bertie, are free to play. Stuart rekindles an old friendship over peppermint tea whilst Bertie and his friend Ranald Braveheart Macpherson get more they bargained for from their trip to the circus. And that's just the beginning . . .

The Geometry of Holding Hands

The Geometry of Holding Hands

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/07/2020

THE THIRTEENTH INSTALLMENT OF THE MUCH-LOVED ISABEL DALHOUSIE SERIES When Isabel Dalhousie and her husband Jamie book a table at an expensive Edinburgh restaurant, she finds herself battling with her conscience. Lately, there has been a lull in work for the Review of Applied Ethics, and the care of their young sons, Charlie and Magnus, is often undertaken by their housekeeper Grace. Is Isabel deserving of such a luxurious dinner? But Isabel holds herself to impossible moral standards. Not so, the parents of one of Jamie's students, who have no qualms about ensuring their son's place in the school orchestra, despite his mediocre talent. In the restaurant, Isabel witnesses a row between local businessmen; another reminder that thoughtless ambition is too often second nature to others. Compelled to intervene in the aftermath, Isabel's sense of integrity is observed by a fellow diner, Iain Melrose, who seeks out her help. He must decide which of his remaining relatives should one day inherit his estate. Isabel, he believes, would make a just executor of his will. While she deliberates, another troubling situation arises with her niece, Cat, whose relationship with the unlikeable Leo is causing her to behave recklessly, putting Isabel in a very difficult position. Faced with such weighty decisions, can Isabel balance compassion and integrity to make the right choice for all, and to protect those she holds dear to her heart?

The Second Worst Restaurant in France

The Second Worst Restaurant in France

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/06/2020

Paul Stewart has returned to Scotland to continue his successful career. His agent and girlfriend, Gloria, has arranged for him to write The Philosophy of Food in Six Easy Chapters, a project he relishes but that will have to be delivered in six months. It is not going well, as Paul finds his domestic circumstances unsuited to concentrated hard work: Gloria has now moved in with him (not specifically invited) and has brought with her two extremely vocal and demanding Siamese cats. The cats give Paul no peace. Beginning to worry that The Philosophy of Food will never be written Paul calls on the aid of his cousin, Chloe, who suggests a radical course of action. She has taken a six-month lease on a house in a French village not far from Poitiers and invites him to join her there and get the book finished in peace. He needs no second bidding and it is not long before he escapes to France. Once there, however, Paul finds his fortunes tangled up with the fate of one eating establishment in the village: the infamous Second Worst Restaurant in France ...

A Gathering

A Gathering

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/04/2020

A poem does not have to be famous to be cherished. The best-known poems of Robert Burns have been loved by countless people over the years, but there are other poems that may be largely unknown that will mean a great deal to the few who are familiar with them. This anthology is a personal curation and not just a simple collection of poems. Each poem, handpicked by Alexander McCall Smith, leads the reader from one poem to the another. Intimate in tone, the editor shares the pleasure he finds in these poems through short epigraphs written for each piece.

The Talented Mr Varg

The Talented Mr Varg

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 09/04/2020

In the second installment in the bestselling Detective Varg Novels, Ulf and his team investigate a notorious lothario - a wolf of a man whose bad reputation may, much to his chagrin, be all bark and no bite. The Department of Sensitive Crimes, renowned for taking on the most obscure and irrelevant cases, led by Ulf Varg, their best detective, is always prepared to take on an investigation, no matter how complex. So when Ulf is approached by the girlfriend of Trig Oloffson, who claims her beau (the infamous bad boy of Swedish letters) is being blackmailed, Ulf is determined to help. The case requires all of Ulf's concentration, but he finds himself distracted by his brother's questionable politics and meteoric rise within the Moderate Extremist Party and by his own constant attraction to his married co-worker Anna. When Ulf is then tasked with looking into a group of dealers exporting wolves that seem decidedly domestic, it will require all of his team's investigative instincts and dogged persistence to put these matters to bed.

The Talented Mr Varg

The Talented Mr Varg

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 09/04/2020

The second book in Alexander McCall Smith's new DETECTIVE VARG series . . . 'Reading the novel feels like a form of meditation . . . There is much to enjoy' Scotsman 'Wonderfully soothing and relaxing' Telegraph 'Heaven is in the detail with this sort of escapist writing. It's like AA Milne meets Karl Ove Knausgaard' Financial Times Spring is coming slowly to Sweden - though not quite as slowly as Detective Ulf Varg's promised promotion at the Department of Sensitive Crimes. For Varg, referred by his psychoanalyst to group therapy at Malmoe's Wholeness Centre, life now seems mostly a circle of self-examination, something which may or may not be useful when it comes to the nature of his profession and the particularly sensitive cases that have recently come to light. All in a day's work for Detective Varg, except that one of his new investigations involves fellow detective Anna; it will require every ounce of self-discipline he has in order to remain professional. The other, more curious case is centred around internationally successful novelist Nils Personn-Cederstroem. According to his girlfriend, Cederstroem is being blackmailed - but by whom and for what reason? Accompanied by his irritating but kindly colleague Blomquist, Varg begins his enquiries and soon the answers fall neatly into place. Nothing and no one is ever that simple, however, and not for the first time he learns as much about his own emotional and moral landscape as he does about the motives of others. Now Varg must make a possibly life-changing decision. Will he choose his own happiness over that of his heart's desire?

The Department of Sensitive Crimes

The Department of Sensitive Crimes

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/03/2020

The first book in Alexander McCall Smith's new Detective Varg series . . . The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo introduced us to Scandi noir. Now, welcome to Alexander McCall Smith's world of Scandi blanc, where mysteries abound and there is still so much for a Swedish detective to learn. Ulf Varg works in Malmoe's Department of Sensitive Crimes. Like all Scandinavian detectives, he has his issues. In this case, these include his unresolved feelings for his colleague Anna, his impatience over the seeming incompetence of his irritating colleague Blomquist and his concerns for the health of his hearing-impaired dog Martin, the only dog in Sweden (and possibly all Scandinavia) who can lip-read. Soon, Ulf and his colleagues find themselves investigating an attack on a market trader, the disappearance of a handsome man who may not exist and a group of students whose relationships leave a great deal to be desired . . . 'Wonderfully soothing and relaxing' Telegraph

Pianos and Flowers

Pianos and Flowers

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/11/2019

In Pianos and Flowers we are invited, through the medium of sepia images, to glimpse a world long departed. In these stories, inspired by long-lost photographs, the lives of the people in the frame are imagined and then explored, layer by layer. What must have it like to be them? We hold our breath for them. Our heart beats faster for them. We look again at the photograph in a new light, and say Yes, it might have happened just like that. This journey of exploration takes us to some exotic places. We share the lives of three sisters, brought up in Penang. We read of what happened to them, and to their Chinese neighbours caught in the tides of war. We see a group of small boys in a Glasgow slum, their young lives stunted by poverty, and hear how life worked out in contrasting ways for them. We follow a young woman's search for love in the unlikely realm of Egyptian antiquities. And through all of these photographs, and all of these stories, there runs the same refrain: the possibilities of love, of friendship, of happiness lie before us. There are big stories in these simple pictures. At first glance the photographs may seem unexceptional: the mere freezing of a moment in time. But delve deeper and you will realise that these photographs speak volumes.

To the Land of Long Lost Friends

To the Land of Long Lost Friends

Author: Alexander McCall Smith Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 01/11/2019