Linking a group of passengers on a Edinburgh to London train, this is an exquisitely produced pocket-sized edition of his latest book and it’s a perfect gift or stocking filler. Four passengers meet on a train and exchange stories of love and railways. Poignant stories full of warmth, romance and charm.
In the words of Alexander McCall Smith: 'You feel the rocking of the train, you hear the sound of its wheels on the rails; you are in the world rather than suspended somewhere above it. And sometimes there are conversations to be had, which is what the overarching story in this collection is all about. It is a simple device: people brought together entertain one another with tales of what happened to them on trains. It takes place on a journey I frequently make myself and know well, the journey between Edinburgh and London. It is best read on a train, preferably that one.'
Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the highly successful No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which has sold over twenty-five million copies. Since then he has devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty-six languages and become bestsellers throughout the world. These include the 44 Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in The Scotsman, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, the Von Igelfeld series and the Corduroy Mansions novels. In 2024 he was awarded a knighthood for services to literature, academia and charity.
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 44ScotlandStreet 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 CorduroyMansions 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 Woodhouse, My Italian Bulldozer,The Second Worst Restaurant in France, Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party, Chance Developments and Pianos and Flowers.
Earlier stand alone books include Trains and Lovers: A Heart’s Journey; The 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
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) :-