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Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith is best known for his internationally acclaimed and bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which currently has fourteen volumes. The series has been translated into forty-five languages and has sold over twenty million copies worldwide. The first episode of a film adaptation, directed by Anthony Minghella and produced by the Weinstein Company, premiered on HBO in March 2009. Another series, beginning with The Sunday Philosophy Club, about an intriguing woman named Isabel Dalhousie, appeared in 2004 and immediately leapt onto bestseller lists, as did its sequels. McCall Smith’s serial novel, 44 Scotland Street, was published in book form to great acclaim in 2005 and has been followed by many sequels. Corduroy Mansions, a series depicting the lives of the inhabitants of a large Pimlico house, was published and podcasted by the UK’s Daily Telegraph, and is now published in three volumes.

In addition, McCall Smith’s German professor series, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs, and At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances were published in the US in January 2005. He is also the author of several children’s books, including The Great Cake Mystery (about Precious Ramotswe as a young girl), the Akimbo series, about a boy in Africa, and the Harriet Bean series. He recently published a book about W. H. Auden titled, What W. H. Auden Can Do for You.

McCall Smith was born in what is now Zimbabwe and was educated there and in Scotland. He became a law professor in Scotland, and it was in this role that he first returned to Africa to work in Botswana, where he helped to set up a new law school at the University of Botswana. For many years he was Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh, where he is now a Professor Emeritus. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife Elizabeth (an Edinburgh doctor). His hobbies include playing wind instruments, and he is the co-founder of an amateur orchestra called “The Really Terrible Orchestra” in which he plays the bassoon and his wife plays the horn.

Online Resources


Selected Bibliography

—No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series:
The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection (2013)
The Kalahari Typing School for Men (2002)
The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (1998)

—Sunday Philosophy Club / Isabel Dalhousie Series:
The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds (2012)
The Careful Use of Compliments (2007)
The Sunday Philosophy Club (2004)

—44 Scotland Street Series:
Sunshine on Scotland Street (2012)
The Unbearable Lightness of Scones (2008)