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Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith, CBE was born on 24 August, 1948 in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and is a much-loved author. Famous for his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency stories starring Mma Ramotswe and the Isabel Dalhousie series, he has written over 100 books ranging from children’s books and short stories to specialist academic titles and his bestselling fiction.

Alexander earned a P.h.D in law from the University of Edinburgh (where he is now a Emeritus Professor of Medical Law) and worked as a teacher before going into writing. A respected expert on medical law and bioethics, Alexander is a lover of tea and takes his teapot wherever he goes and likes to play wind instruments in his spare time. He lives in Scotland with his family near Ian Rankin and J.K. Rowling.


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Alexander McCall Smith Books

  • To the Land of Long Lost Friends

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: LLLF
    Hardback
    Hand-picked favourites
    Sign up for another instalment of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency...

    Alexander McCall Smith's latest novel finds Mr J. L. B. Matekoni being approached by a client of Mma Ramotswe. His brother has built him a new house but is refusing to move on.

    Elsewhere, a woman with a troublesome daughter needs Mma Ramotswe's help and Charlie is still enamoured with Queenie-Queenie. As a love triangle starts to loom, Mma Makutsi decides to get involved.
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  • Clearance

    Chance Developments

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: CDAS
    Hardback
    (2)
    Hand-picked favourites
    Inspired by a selection of vintage photographs, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency author Alexander McCall Smith presents a selection of short stories about all kinds of love in Chance Developments.

    With a die-cut jacket and all five black-and-white photographs lovingly reproduced throughout the book, this is a gorgeous gift for any fan of the popular author. He looks at each photo and comes up with stories about the people captured in them.

    From an estate in the Highlands of Scotland to a Canadian travelling circus, the stories are captivating from start to finish. They'll make you smile, laugh and cry and hope these characters find the love they're after - whether that be romantic, platonic, passionate or familial.
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  • The Colours of all the Cattle

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BXGOC
    Paperback
    The latest installment from THE NO. 1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY series Mma Ramotswe's friend will persuade her to stand for election to the City Council. 'We need women like her in politics,' Mma Potokwani says, 'instead of having the same old men every time . . .' To be elected, Mma Ramotswe must have a platform and some policies. She will have to canvas opinion. She will have to get Mma Makutsi's views. Her slogan is 'I can't promise anything - but I shall do my best'. Her intention is to halt the construction of the Big Fun Hotel, a dubious, flashy business near a graveyard - an act that many consider to be disrespectful. Mma Ramotswe will take the campaign as far as she can, but lurking around the corner, as ever, is the inextinguishable Violet Sephotho.
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  • The Cleverness of Ladies

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: ADZDB
    Audio
    Glorious short stories from international bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith, in a collection written especially for World Book Day There are times when ladies must use all their wisdom and good sense to face life's problems and mysteries. Mma Ramotswe, owner of the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency, keeps her wits about her as she looks into why the country's star goalkeeper isn't saving goals. Georgina turns her rudeness into a virtue when she opens a successful hotel. Italian shop-keeper Fabrizia shows her bravery when her husband betrays her. And in Suffolk during the Second World War, gentle La proves that music really can make a difference. With his trademark gift for storytelling, Alexander McCall Smith brings us five tales of love, heartbreak, hope and the cleverness of ladies. This recording is unabridged. Typically abridged audiobooks are not more than 60% of the author's work and as low as 30% with characters and plotlines removed.
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  • Corduroy Mansions

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: AAABG
    Paperback

    Another wonderfully curious work of fiction from author of the 44 Scotland Street series Alexander McCall Smith, this new block of flats in Pimlico plays host to a cleverly constructed cast of characters, whose interactions rarely fail to amuse. Corduroy Mansions is the perfect home for some of McCall Smith's finest creations such as top flat dwellers William and his faithful ex-vegetarian dog Freddie de le Hay, and MP Oedipus Snark, a man so vile that even those closest to him are plotting revenge against the Lib Dem parliamentarian. The author's cunning social observations bring the reader closer than ever to the hopes and dreams of his assembled cast in unique fashion.

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  • A Time of Love and Tartan

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BQJBO
    Paperback
    Catch up with the delightful goings-on in the fictitious 44 Scotland Street from Alexander McCall Smith . . . 'A joyous, charming portrait of city life and human foibles, which moves beyond its setting to deal with deep moral issues and love, desire and friendship' Sunday Express If only Pat Macgregor had an inkling of the embarrassment romantic, professional, even aesthetic that flowed from accepting narcissistic ex-boyfriend Bruce Anderson's invitation for coffee, she would never have said yes. And if only Matthew, her boss at the art gallery, hadn't wandered into his local bookshop and picked up a particular book at a particular time, he would never have knocked over his former English teacher or attracted the attentions of the police. Whether caused by small things such as a cup of coffee and a book, or major events such as Stuart's application for promotion and his wife Irene's decision to go off and study for a PhD in Aberdeen, change is coming to serial fiction's favourite street. But for three seven-year-old boys Bertie Pollock, Ranald Braveheart Macpherson, and Big Lou's foster son Finlay - it also means a getting a glimpse of perfect happiness. Alexander McCall Smith's delightfully witty, wise and sometimes surreal comedy spirals out to include tennis-playing Rwandan Forest People, researches into levitating Celtic saints, bogus headhunters in Papua New Guinea and primary school performances of Beckett. But its heart remains where it has always been true to life, love and laughter in Edinburgh's New Town.
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  • Precious and Grace

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: AZNIX
    Paperback
    One bright morning, Precious Ramotswe - head of Botswana's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - receives a visitor: a woman from Australia. This woman asks Precious to take on a case: to find the nursemaid who raised her during her childhood in Botswana. The woman wants to thank her for being such an important part of her life. Precious has a history of successfully solving cases, but this one proves difficult and throws up a number of surprises and challenges. Back in her office, next door to the Speedy Motors Garage on Twokleng Road, Precious also has a team to manage: Mr Polopetsi, a part-time science teacher and new assistant at the agency; she mentors Charlie, a former apprentice and young man too handsome and charming for his own good - a man who has gotten himself in deep water; and then there is Precious's tumultuous but heart-warming friendship with her co-director, the fiery Grace Makutsi. Precious and Grace is a story about being a detective, the complexities of human nature, as well as lessons about gratitude and obligation.
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  • Espresso Tales

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: AAFRY
    Paperback
    In Espresso Tales, Alexander Mc Call Smith returns home to Edinburgh and the glorious cast of his own tales of the city, the residents of 44 Scotland Street, with a new set of challenges for each one of them. Bruce, the intolerably vain and perpetually deluded ex-surveyor, is about to embark on a new career as a wine merchant, while his long-suffering flatmate Pat MacGregor, set up by matchmaking Domenica Macdonald, finds herself invited to a nudist picnic in Moray Place in the pursuit of true love. Prodigious six-year-old Bertie Pollock wants a boy's life of fishing and rugby, not yoga and pink dungarees, and he plots rebellion against his bossy, crusading mother Irene and his psychotherapist Dr Fairbairn. But when Bertie's longed-for trip to Glasgow with his ineffectual father Stuart ends with Bertie taking money off legendary Glasgow hard man Lard O'Connor at cards, it looks as though Bertie should have been more careful what he wished for. And all the time it appears that both Irene Pollock and Dr Fairbairn are engaged in a struggle with dark secrets and unconscious urges of their own.
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  • The Case of the Vanishing Granny

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BWLHG
    Paperback
    Billy, Fern and Joe Shortbread are the stars of their family circus, but they also have another talent ... they're experts at solving mysteries! When their circus moves into a new town they soon make friends with a young boy named Tom. But Tom can't enjoy the circus because his granny has disappeared and he's worried he'll never see her again. With the help of their astonishing circus skills can the Shortbread circus stars crack the clues and find Tom's granny? A brilliant McCall Smith adventure story, brimming with wit, wisdom and larger than life characters.
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  • Pianos and Flowers

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: CBQZZ
    Hardback
    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.
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  • The Great Clown Conundrum

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: CAXPO
    Paperback
    Roll up! Roll up! A new season is about to begin at the Shortbread family's circus! The big-top is ready and everyone is excited to get started. But as the shows begin chief clown Mr Birdcage is in a bit of a pickle - none of his hilarious props seem to be working! When budding detectives Billy, Fern and Joe get on the case to investigate, they soon discover that the props have been tampered with! But who would want to sabotage Mr Birdcage and why?
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  • The Secret of the Dark Waterfall

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BYXZB
    Paperback
    The School Ship Tobermory and its intrepid young crew are back in Hebridean waters. When a violent storm blows them off course to a remote island, they discover a fisherman's journal written a hundred years ago which tells of a mysterious shipwreck crammed with treasure. But without a precise location, where do they start looking? An extraordinary chance encounter gives them a valuable clue. Before long, Ben, Fee and their friends realize they are not the only ones searching for the lost wreck and must face a ruthless and determined adversary who will stop at nothing to seize the prize.
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  • The Peppermint Tea Chronicles

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BYJCU
    Hardback
    To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose; 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 start ... Take a few minutes to relax with a cup of your favourite tea and savour the affairs of the world in microcosm, teeming with life's loves and challenges. Little dramas writ large by the master chronicler of modern life and manners.
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  • Dream Angus

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BXYHX
    Paperback
    Dream Angus comes to you at night and bestows dreams. Just the sight of him may be enough to make you lose your heart, for he is also the god of love, youth and beauty. In this mesmerising retelling of the Celtic myth, Alexander McCall Smith unites dream and reality, leaving us to wonder: what is life but the pursuit of dreams? The Myths series brings together some of the world's finest writers, each of whom has retold a myth in a contemporary and memorable way. Authors in the series include Karen Armstrong, Margaret Atwood, A.S. Byatt, David Grossman, Natsuo Kirino, Alexander McCall Smith, Philip Pullman, Ali Smith and Jeanette Winterson.
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  • The Department of Sensitive Crimes

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BUOOB
    Hardback
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo introduced us to 'Scandi noir'. Now, welcome to Alexander McCall Smith's world of Scandi blanc . . . Ulf Varg works in Malmo's Department of Sensitive Crimes. Like all Scandinavian detectives he has his issues. In his 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, Marten, the only dog in Sweden (and possibly all Scandinavia) who is able to lip-read (in Swedish). Along with his colleagues, Ulf is called upon to investigate a bizarre attack on a market trader, the disappearance of a handsome man who may or may not exist, and the affairs of a variety of young female students whose relationships with one another leave a great deal to be desired. Ulf and his team come to realise that the world is a puzzling place, lycanthropy (were-wolfism) exists and fish might have something to teach us. There is so much to learn if you are a Swedish detective, and in the first book in this new quasi-Scandinavian series, Ulf Varg embarks on these lessons with spirit and good humour.
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  • The Second Worst Restaurant in France

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BUOAR
    Hardback
    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 ...
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  • The Quiet Side of Passion

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BUIOY
    Paperback
    It is summer in Edinburgh and Isabel Dalhousie is once again caught between 'gossip' and significant rumour. It is none of her business that Patricia, the mother of her son Charlie's little friend Basil, is estranged from Basil's father, or that the woman has a somewhat brazen attitude to childcare. And yet, it is curious. Isabel, however, has much else on her mind as editor of the Review of Applied Ethics. Along with the work involved for its impending next issue, she really needs to get her house in order and tend to the demands of her niece, Cat. Thankfully, the arrival of Antonia, the exuberant Italian au pair, will take care of urgent chores. And the hiring of Claire, a diligent if unsettlingly beautiful new assistant at the Review, surely means that Isabel can breathe, at least a little. But her sharp observation and assured role as confidante soon have Isabel doubting all her recent decisions. What's more, her instinct to help others may have put her in real danger. In her desire to run both a smooth household and working life, has she simply created more chaos? Perhaps the quiet side of passion is, after all, the best side on which to be?
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  • Max Champion and the Great Race Car Robbery

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BUGSX
    Paperback
    Start your engines and get in gear for an action-packed story from the bestselling author of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, Alexander McCall Smith, with fun and energetic illustrations by Kate Hindley. When Max finds an old car that has his last name - Champion - on the bonnet, he learns that his grandfather used to make some of the best cars around ... and race them! That is, until his ideas book and his favourite car, Arabella, were stolen by greedy rival Mr Grabber. Can Max find a way to get back what Grandfather Gus lost? And will Arabella ever be seen again?
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  • The Colours of all the Cattle

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BTNGB
    Hardback
    (2)
    The latest installment from THE NO. 1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY series Mma Ramotswe's friend will persuade her to stand for election to the City Council. 'We need women like her in politics,' Mma Potokwani says, 'instead of having the same old men every time . . .' To be elected, Mma Ramotswe must have a platform and some policies. She will have to canvas opinion. She will have to get Mma Makutsi's views. Her slogan is 'I can't promise anything - but I shall do my best'. Her intention is to halt the construction of the Big Fun Hotel, a dubious, flashy business near a graveyard - an act that many consider to be disrespectful. Mma Ramotswe will take the campaign as far as she can, but lurking around the corner, as ever, is the inextinguishable Violet Sephotho.
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  • The Good Pilot, Peter Wodehouse

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BSBES
    Paperback
    Val was working as a land girl when the Americans arrived at the nearby airfield in 1944. Mike, a young American airman, came into her life soon after, and so too did Peter Woodhouse, a dog badly treated on a neighbouring farm and taken in by her aunt. Little persuasion was needed for Mike to take Peter Woodhouse to the airbase and over time he became the mascot of the American squad, flying with them whenever their Mosquitoes took to the skies. When their plane is shot down over Holland both Mike and his canine companion are feared lost. But unknown to their loved ones at home, Mike and Peter Woodhouse survived the crash. Taken in by the Dutch resistance and with the help of Ubi, a German officer, the pair to remain in hiding till the end of the war when they are reunited with Val. We then follow Val, Mike and Peter Woodhouse as they rebuild a life in England. And Ubi as he returns to Germany at the end of the war and tries to build a new life for himself. His dream is to run a Wall of Death, a circus ring that pitts motorcyclists against gravity as they attempt to stay upright at ever increasing speed...
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  • A Gathering

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BRZKP
    Hardback
    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. Grouped together in themes, from: Islands, Friendship, Love and Marriage, through to War and Conflict, Secrets, and Joy, this book would make the prefect gift for any occasion. It is a book for readers with a deep love of poetry, as well as those who are looking for the key that will open up the world of poetry.
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  • The Quiet Side of Passion

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BPYBG
    Hardback
    It is summer in Edinburgh and Isabel Dalhousie is once again caught between 'gossip' and significant rumour. It is none of her business that Patricia, the mother of her son Charlie's little friend Basil, is estranged from Basil's father, or that the woman has a somewhat brazen attitude to childcare. And yet, it is curious. Isabel, however, has much else on her mind as editor of the Review of Applied Ethics. Along with the work involved for its impending next issue, she really needs to get her house in order and tend to the demands of her niece, Cat. Thankfully, the arrival of Antonia, the exuberant Italian au pair, will take care of urgent chores. And the hiring of Claire, a diligent if unsettlingly beautiful new assistant at the Review, surely means that Isabel can breathe, at least a little. But her sharp observation and assured role as confidante soon have Isabel doubting all her recent decisions. What's more, her instinct to help others may have put her in real danger. In her desire to run both a smooth household and working life, has she simply created more chaos? Perhaps the quiet side of passion is, after all, the best side on which to be?
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  • The House of Unexpected Sisters

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BPPHH
    Paperback
    Precious Ramotswe learns valuable lessons about first impressions and forgiveness in this latest installment of the much-loved, best-selling No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. At Botswana's No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Precious Ramotswe and Grace Makutsi are intrigued by the troubling dismissal of an employee at a thriving local business. The ladies proceed with investigations as they are inclined to do - with Mma Makutsi's customary vigour, and Mma Ramotswe's rather more subtle caution. Soon enough, interesting discoveries are made... marital subterfuge, undue influence and commercial chicanery! Clearly, there is more to this dismissal than at first imagined. While Mma Makutsi's focus, as self-appointed Principal Investigating Officer, is firmly on the case, Mma Ramotswe's attention is diverted by personal matters. Not only has her disgraced ex-husband reappeared in town, but she has stumbled on an unsettling family secret of her own - one that might threaten what she holds closest to her heart. As Precious contemplates this painful possibility, she must draw on her strength and compassion and confront The House of Unexpected Sisters. And for both Mma Makutsi and Mma Ramotswe, the wise words of their mentor Clovis Andersen - 'the needle swings in confusing ways' - have never been more prescient . . .
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  • A Distant View of Everything

    Alexander McCall Smith

    Product Code: BOHYN
    Paperback
    Recently distracted by the arrival of her and Jamie's second son, Magnus, Isabel Dalhousie - philanthropic editor of the Review of Applied Ethics - is anxious. The next issue of the Review is far from ready, her eldest, Charlie, is jealous, and their housekeeper, Grace, has an officious approach to childcare. With some relief, Isabel returns to helping out at her niece Cat's delicatessen, where surely the most taxing duty is the preparation of sandwiches. It's not long before Isabel's helpful, philosophical nature draws her into customers' problems, specifically that of ambitious, self-proclaimed matchmaker, Bea Shandon. Bea has staged a potentially dangerous liaison involving enigmatic plastic surgeon, Tony MacUspaig, who may not be quite who he claims to be - and Isabel's help is required in getting to the truth of the matter. Good-hearted Isabel proceeds with her usual thorough attention to task, and on Bea's advice talks to her friend Rob, a trustworthy regular on Bea's dinner party circuit, and known to have deep suspicions about MacUspaig. It becomes clear, however, that Rob has an agenda of his own and Isabel is now contending with that, along with a mysterious medical condition of Jamie's and some frustrating dead ends when it comes to Bea's predicament. When the truth finally reveals itself, Isabel must conclude that along with MacUspaig, Bea, Jamie - and even Cat - she herself is not immune to misunderstandings, or the neurotic fantasies that arise from keeping secrets . . .
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