Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith also known as Sandy was born in 24th August in 1948. He was born in Africa, Bulawayo Rhodesia present day Zimbabwe. He holds a United Kingdom citizenship and is a British National. Alexander McCall Smith is an academic who writes Fiction books specifically crime fiction. He also writes children’s books and academic non-fiction books.

Alexander McCall Smith’s Life

The author was born in Bulawayo, which was a British colony at the time. The country was known as Southern Rhodesia. Alexander McCall Smith’s father worked as a public prosecutor in British colony of Southern Rhodesia.

He was raised in a Christian family and grew up a God loving son. Most of his books have an African depiction in them with the covers showing his African heritage. All these were influenced by his early life in Africa and his interaction with the natives. The author lives in Scotland.

Alexander McCall Smith lives in Edinburgh Scotland with his wife Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a physician. They have two daughters Lucy and Emily. He is currently an Emeritus professor at the University of Edinburgh University School of law.

The academic is known to be an amateur bassoonist and a founding member of the really terrible Orchestra. He has played a significant role in developing the future of Botswana both as a lawyer and through his social skills.

Alexander McCall Smith’s career and education

The author is a Rhodesian born British writer who lived in Zimbabwe before moving to the United Kingdom. He spent most of his lifetime in Africa. He is currently an emeritus profession of medical law. He is a professor at the University of Edinburgh where he still dispenses academic service.

In United Kingdom Alexander McCall Smith is a respected medical law and bioethics professional. He has served in various capacities in his profession including being in the British and International committees that tackle issues relating to medical law and bioethics. In addition to being a professor in these two fields, he is a fiction writer.

Alexander McCall Smith education journey started in Zimbabwe where he studies at the Christian Brothers College. He then moved to Scotland where like his father, He studied law at the University of Edinburgh. He earned his PhD in law from the university and started his teaching career.

Alexander McCall Smith taught at law Queen’s University Belfast. While a teacher at the university, he participated in a literary competition. He entered two books, which were a children’s book and a novel for adults. He won the children’s category in the competition. After winning, Alexander McCall Smith went ahead and published around thirty books between the 1980s and the 1990s.

In 1981, Alexander McCall Smith returned to Southern Africa where he taught law at the University of Botswana which he co-founded. In Botswana, Alexander McCall Smith is credited for co-authoring the only academic book in Botswana’s legal system. The book is called The criminal law of Botswana. The book was published in 1992. After a remarkable life in Botswana, the author retuned to Scotland in 1984 where he lives today.

Alexander McCall Smith was the former chairperson of the British Medical Journal ethics committee until 2002. He is the former vice chairperson of the Human Genetics Commission in UK. He is also a former member of UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee. Currently, the author has relieved himself of these responsibilities and is focusing on his career as a writer.

Alexander McCall Smith’s writing career

As earlier indicated, Alexander McCall Smith has around thirty books to his name. Once he became an avid writer he focused on writing and published many books during that period. His first popular book was the White Hippo. The White Hippo is a children’s novel that was published in 1980. A stream of Children’s book followed as the author relieved himself from academic scripts that he use to write.

Alexander McCall Smith has also done a number of series such as 1. Ladies Detective Agency series that has fourteen books, 44 Scotland street series that has nine books, and the Sunday Philosophy Club series. He also has a number of novels and short stories to his name.

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

The book is based on the life of the people of Botswana. It is about a Precious Ramotswe. Precious Ramotswe is a thrity five year old lady who is intelligent and observant. It is the first book in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. The book takes you through a journey of life in Africa. It is more of a contest between contemporary medicine and the witchdoctors who still offer medical solutions to people in Africa particularly Botswana.

Mma Ramotswe’s father dies. She inherits the cattle that he owned. Amazingly, she sells the cattle to open a detective agency. It is an agency that is run by a woman. His business is tracking missing husbands, daughters, sons, and witch doctors. The book also depicts the conflict in religion between Christianity and Africa traditional sects.

The main protagonists in the book Precious Ramotswe, is a detective. She solves crimes that have been committed in the Southern African country through her intellect and detailed analysis of events. She is a genius who cannot let any crime evade her intellect.

The Kalahari Typing School for Men

The book The Kalahari Typing School for Men is the fourth book in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. The story is still about Precious Ramotswe. Precious Ramotswe has been the leading and the only female detective around. However, in this book, she faces competition. Her position as a leading detective is challenged as another detective agency is opened.

This time, a man leads it. Not just any other man, but a man that has international experience. She has to do something about it otherwise her legacy fades. In the book, the author brings an intimate part of Precious Ramotswe.

The book ends well. In the book, McCall Smith brings out the characters in his typical simple fashion. Nevertheless, the books nourish the soul as you get to know the characters intimately. He portrays Africa as a beautiful place with descriptive words that take you there.

Books published in order by series:

No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Books

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency(1999) 
Tears of the Giraffe(2000) 
Morality for Beautiful Girls(2001) 
The Kalahari Typing School for Men(2002) 
The Full Cupboard of Life(2003) 
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies(2004) 
Blue Shoes and Happiness(2006) 
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive(2007) 
The Miracle at Speedy Motors(2008) 
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built(2009) 
The Double Comfort Safari Club(2010) 
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party(2011) 
The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection(2012) 
The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon(2013) 
Handsome Man’s Deluxe Cafe(2014) 
The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine(2015) 
Precious and Grace(2016) 
The House of Unexpected Sisters(2017) 
The Colors of All The Cattle(2018) 
To the Land of Long Lost Friends(2019) 
How to Raise an Elephant(2020) 

No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Collections

The Cleverness of Ladies(2012)

Professor Dr. Von Igelfeld Entertainment Books

Portuguese Irregular Verbs(2003) 
The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs(2003) 
At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances(2003) 
Unusual Uses for Olive Oil(2011) 

Isabel Dalhousie Books

The Sunday Philosophy Club(2004) 
Friends, Lovers, Chocolate(2005) 
The Right Attitude to Rain(2006) 
The Careful Use of Compliments(2007) 
The Comfort of Saturdays(2008) 
The Lost Art of Gratitude(2009) 
The Charming Quirks of Others(2010) 
The Forgotten Affairs of Youth(2011) 
The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds(2012) 
The Novel Habits of Happiness(2015) 
A Distant View of Everything(2017) 
The Quiet Side of Passion(2018) 
The Geometry of Holding Hands(2020) 

Isabel Dalhousie Short Stories

The Perils of Morning Coffee(2011) 
At the Reunion Buffet(2015) 
Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine(2016) 

44 Scotland Street Books

44 Scotland Street(2005) 
Espresso Tales(2005) 
Love Over Scotland(2006) 
The World According to Bertie(2007) 
The Unbearable Lightness of Scones(2008) 
The Importance of Being Seven(2010) 
Bertie Plays the Blues(2011) 
Sunshine on Scotland Street(2012) 
Bertie’s Guide to Life and Mothers(2012) 
The Revolving Door of Life(2015) 
The Bertie Project(2016) 
A Time of Love and Tartan(2017) 
The Peppermint Tea Chronicles(2019) 

Myths Books

Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams(2006) 

Corduroy Mansions Books

Cordurory Mansions(2009) 
The Dog Who Came in From the Cold(2009) 
A Conspiracy of Friends(2011) 

School Ship Tobermory Books

School Ship Tobermory(2015) 
The Sands of Shark Island(2016) 
The Race to Kangaroo Cliff(2019) 

Paul Stuart Books

My Italian Bulldozer(2016) 
The Second Worst Restaurant in France(2019) 

Detective Varg Books

The Department of Sensitive Crimes(2019) 
The Talented Mr. Varg(2020) 

Detective Varg Short Stories/Novellas

The Strange Case of the Moderate Extremists(2019)

Standalone Novels

La’s Orchestra Saves the World(2008) 
No Rest for the Dead(2011) 
The Forever Girl(2014) 
Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party(2014) 
Hari and His Electric Feet(2017) 
The Good Pilot, Peter Woodhouse(2017) 
Max Champion and the Great Race Car Robbery(2018) 

Akimbo Children’s Books

Akimbo and the Lions(1992) 
Akimbo and the Crocodile Man(1993) 
Akimbo and the Elephants(2005) 
Akimbo and the Snakes(2006) 
Akimbo and the Baboons(2008) 

Harriet Bean Children’s Books

The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean(1990) 
Harriet Bean and the League of Cheats(1991) 
The Cowgirl Aunt of Harriet Bean(2006) 

Max & Maddy Children’s Books

Bursting Balloons Mystery(1997) 
Chocolate Money Mystery(1999) 

Precious Ramotswe Children’s Books

Precious and the Monkeys(2010) 
Precious and the Mystery of Meerkat Hill(2012) 
The Great Cake Mystery(2012) 
Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion(2013) 
Precious and the Zebra Necklace(2015) 

Standalone Children’s Books

The White Hippo(1980) 
The Perfect Hamburger(1984) 
Alix and the Tigers(1988) 
The Tin Dog(1990) 
Calculator Annie(1991) 
The Popcorn Pirates(1991) 
The Doughnut Ring(1992) 
Paddy and the Ratcatcher(1994) 
The Muscle Machine(1995) 
The Bubblegum Tree(1996) 
Teacher Trouble(2000) 

Short Story Collections

Heavenly Date and Other Flirtations(1995) 
Trouble at the North Pole and Other Stories(1996) 
Marvellous Mix-ups(2001) 
The Girl Who Married a Lion and Other Tales from Africa(2004) 
One City(2006) 
Ox-Tales: Air(2009) 
The Book That Changed My Life(2010) 
What You Wish For: A Book for Darfur(2011) 
Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People(2011) 
Trains and Lovers(2012) 
Chance Developments(2016) 
Pianos and Flowers(2019) 


Children of Wax: African Folk Tales(1989) 

Non-Fiction Books

Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales From Great Fiction Writers(2012) 
What W.H. Auden Can Do For You(2013) 
Who Built Scotland(2017) 
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