Alexander McCall Smith biography

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Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith Biography

Alexander McCall Smith began the now highly successful 'No 1 Ladies Detective Agency' series in 1996, after being inspired by the sight of a 'traditionally built' Botswanan lady chasing down a chicken for a meal. The first book in the series - 'The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency' was published in the UK in 1998 but didn't arrive in the USA until 2001.

Known to his friends as Sandy, McCall Smith describes the Botswanans as 'genuinely courteous people' He knows Botswana well as he grew up there and also spent several years on the law faculty of the University of Botswana; his volume on the legal system of Botswana (The Criminal Law of Botswana) remains the definitive and in fact, only book on the subject.

In 2004 he published the first in a new series, 'The Sunday Philosophy Club' featuring Isabel Dalhousie, a Scottish-American professor of moral philosophy.

When asked what ties the two series together he says that he believes it to be 'the comfort of the settings - not too cozy, but interesting and comfortable enough that you get caught up in the worlds of Mma. Ramotswe and Isabel'.

In addition to all his other projects, McCall Smith also finds time to play in the Really Terrible Orchestra and writes a daily column for The Scotsman newspaper titled 44 Scotland Street. These columns have been compiled into at least a dozen books (as of the time of writing).

Up until 2004 he juggled his career as a Professor of Medical Law, with his writing. He has written well over sixty books for adults ranging from specialist medical titles to his many novels. Plus a wealth of books for children.

For a comprehensive bibliography of this prolific author, listing UK and USA publication dates, we recommend fantasticfiction.co.uk

Alexander McCall Smith's website

This bio was last updated on 04/01/2019. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

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Interview

Alexander McCall Smith talks about Mma Ramotswe, a lady detective of 'traditional build', and the lead character of his delightful mystery series set in Botswana (The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series); how he juggles his writing (of more than 50 books), with his job as a law professor, and still has time to play music with the 'The Really Terrible Orchestra'.

You have written more than fifty books (from specialist titles such as Forensic Aspects of Sleep to children's books, including The Perfect Hamburger). Was The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency your first attempt at writing a mystery?
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is my first foray into this territory, although I do not think of it as a mystery. I like to think of it as a novel about a woman who happens to be a private detective. Mind you, I suppose that makes it a mystery ... of a sort.

Your detective, Precious Ramotswe, is a wonderfully unique character—a Batswana woman of traditional build who decides to become a professional private detective. Is Precious based on someone that you knew when you lived in Botswana or is she a creation of your imagination?
There is no particular person upon whom Precious Ramotswe is based, but there is an incident. Years ago I was in Botswana, staying with friends in a small town called Mochudi. A woman in the town wished to give my friends a chicken to celebrate Botswana National Day. I watched as this woman—traditionally built, like Mma Ramotswe—chased the chicken round the yard and eventually caught it. She made a clucking noise as she ran. The chicken ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Alexander McCall Smith at BookBrowse
The Department of Sensitive Crimes jacket The Colors of All the Cattle jacket My Italian Bulldozer jacket The Novel Habits of Happiness jacket
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