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Alexander McCall Smith

About The Author

Since the publicationAlexander McCall Smith of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency in 1998, Alexander McCall Smith - Sandy to his friends and fans - has become one of best-loved of contemporary authors. His magical series set in Gaborone and starring Mma Precious Ramotswe has sold over 20m copies worldwide, and have also been adapted for radio and television, the latter directed by Anthony Minghella .

Sandy has also created four other hugely popular series, 44 Scotland Street, The Sunday Philosophy Club (also known as The Isabel Dalhousie Mysteries), Corduroy Mansions and The 2½ Pillars of Wisdom (also called The Von Igelfeld novels), as well as a number of standalone books and many books for children. In 2006 he was awarded a CBE for services to literature.

Born in Rhodesia, he has a great fondness for Africa: he co-wrote what remains the only guide to the legal system of Botswana and founded the country's first centre for opera training. He has also been involved in numerous other charitable projects in Botswana and throughout the African continent. As a highly respected professor of medical law, he has served in a number of high-profile committees on medical ethics both in the UK and for UNESCO.

He is also famously a founder member of the Really Terrible Orchestra of Great Britain, created to give those without notable musical talent the opportunity to perform in public. They now perform adequately to packed houses.

His latest novel, featuring Isabel Dalhousie, is A Distant View of Everything.

As a man of diverse and prodigous talents and interests, we thought that a glimpse at his bookshelves would prove rather fascinating, so we asked Sandy to pick out some of his very favourite books and tell us why they mean so much to him. The list features classic, fiction, poetry, psychology, music and much more.

 

 

 

 

Author Picks

R.K. Narayan Omnibus: Mr Sampath - ...
(Hardback)
R. K. Narayan
 
Narayan was one of the very first Indian novelists writing in English to gain a substantial western following. His Malgudi novels provide a marvellous picture of the life of an Indian town and are full of humour and human yearning.
Delivery:
 
£10.99
 
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£10.99
 
Excellent Women
(Paperback)
Barbara Pym; Alexander McCall Smith
Barbara Pym has been described as the Jane Austen of our times, and I would concur with this view. She created a whole world of people living rather mousy lives, illuminated with poignant detail. She is extremely funny in an understated way.
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£8.99
 
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£8.99
 
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
(Paperback)
Brian Moore
Brian Moore is a novelist who deserves a much larger public. This novel, his first, creates a vivid picture of the life of a timid Belfast spinster. It is very poignant.
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£8.99
 
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Stores - out of stock

The Towers of Trebizond
(Paperback)
Rose Macaulay
This is a humorous classic that is largely ignored today but which is still as amusing as it was when it was first published. It has a classic first line, never since equalled.
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£10.99
 
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£10.99
 
Mapp and Lucia
(Paperback)
E. F. Benson
Benson wrote a number of novels about two warring women. They are, I believe, among the funniest books written in English in the last century. Lucia is a queen among snobs. Her piano-playing friend, Georgie, is utterly memorable.
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£7.99
 
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£7.99
 
The Conservationist
(Paperback)
Nadine Gordimer
This is a gravely beautiful novel with an extraordinarily strong sense of place and time.
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£8.99
 
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£8.99
 
A Hundred Doors
(Paperback)
Michael Longley
Michael Longley is a Northern Irish poet of immense distinction. His work is subtle and beautiful. Many of his lines are simply haunting.
Delivery:
 
£12.00
 

Currently out of stock

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Collected Short Stories: Volume 1
(Paperback)
W. Somerset Maugham
Maugham is currently not as widely read as he deserves to be. He was a master of the short story, and even if the world he describes has largely passed away, his insights into human nature remain as striking as ever.
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£10.99
 
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The Making of Music: A Journey with...
(Paperback)
James Naughtie
James Naughtie, familiar to many through the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 is not only one of our finest broadcasters but also a considerable musicologist. This is a wonderful survey of musical history.
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£12.99
 
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The Poems of Norman MacCaig
(Paperback)
Norman MacCaig; Ewen McCaig
One of our greatest and most influential Scottish poets now has this collected edition of his works which will give readers years of pleasure.
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£20.00
 
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£20.00
 
A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings,...
(Hardback)
Christopher Alexander; etc.
Christopher Alexander is an architectural guru whose work is greatly appreciated by a growing band of followers. This book is astounding. I dip into it at odd moments, savouring the insights of this prophet of humane architecture and design. He changed the way I feel about buildings; after you read it, prepare to look at the world around you with very different eyes.
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£41.99
 
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Beauty: A Very Short Introduction
(Paperback)
Roger Scruton
Roger Scruton is a philosopher who writes on a wide range of subjects within aesthetics. His observations on art and music are profound and stated with great clarity.
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£7.99
 
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£7.99
 
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
(Paperback)
Muriel Spark; Candia McWilliam
Muriel Spark’s character, Jean Brodie, is a teacher in nineteen-thirties Edinburgh. She is one of the great characters of Scottish literature.
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£7.99
 
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Tuscany: A History
(Paperback)
Alistair Moffat
Alistair Moffat writes beautifully on history and topography. Here he leads us through that moist entrancing of Italian regions, Tuscany.
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£9.99
 

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The Complete Psychological Works of...
(Paperback)
Sigmund Freud
Freud can be read as literature. The case of Little Hans is memorable and reminds us of the theatrical nature of the Freudian enterprise. Freud wrote up relatively few cases, but they provide a remarkable insight into the world of one of the towering figures of modern times.
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£14.99
 
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In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way:...
(Paperback)
Marcel Proust; Terence Kilmartin; D....
Reading Proust is a major project, but one well worth undertaking. This is the first volume of his great novel, and provides a good introduction to his astonishing prose. Reading Proust is like bathing in words – and requires a life-jacket.
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£9.99
 
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Madame Bovary
(Paperback)
Gustave Flaubert; Manolo Blahnik;...
This atmosphere of this powerful novel remains with the reader well after the last page has been turned.
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£8.99
 
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The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren
(Paperback)
Iona Opie; Peter Opie; Marina Warner
This is a classic of folklore collecting – the informants being British children. Many of us will remember the rhymes and sayings collected here.
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£13.99
 
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Deep Water: A Virago Modern Classic
(Paperback)
Patricia Highsmith
 
Patricia Highsmith is known for her extraordinary Ripley novels. This novel, her first after she wrote The Talented Mr Ripley provides us with an example of her ability to portray psychopathy as no other author has ever managed to do. She is the one author who can actually scare me.
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Available Titles By This Author

A Distant View of Everything
(Hardback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£18.99
 
Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£7.99
 
44 Scotland Street
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
Morality for Beautiful Girls
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
Tears of the Giraffe
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The Joke Machine
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£4.99
 
The Double Comfort Safari Club
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The Full Cupboard of Life
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The Kalahari Typing School for Men
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The Unbearable Lightness of Scones
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
Blue Shoes and Happiness
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
Corduroy Mansions
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£7.99
 
Espresso Tales: The Latest from 44...
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
Love Over Scotland
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The Cowgirl Aunt of Harriet Bean
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£4.99
 

Currently out of stock

The Doughnut Ring
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£4.99
 

Currently out of stock

The Girl Who Married a Lion: ...
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith; Naomi Holwill
 
 
£8.99
 

Currently out of stock

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
£8.99
 
The World According to Bertie
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The 2 1/2 Pillars of Wisdom
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The Dog Who Came in from the Cold
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
Heavenly Date and Other Flirtations
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 

Currently out of stock

The Importance of Being Seven
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
£8.99
 
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The Banana Machine
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£4.99
 
The Lost Art of Gratitude: An Isabel...
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The Muscle Machine
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£4.99
 
The Right Attitude to Rain: An Isabel...
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The Spaghetti Tangle
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£5.99
 
Akimbo and the Crocodile Man
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£3.99
 

Currently out of stock

Akimbo and the Snakes
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith; Peter Bailey
 
 
£5.99
 
The Baboons Who Went This Way and...
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith; Naomi Holwill
 
 
£6.99
 
La's Orchestra Saves the World
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The Miracle at Speedy Motors
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party
(Hardback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£16.99
 

Currently out of stock

Precious and the Puggies: Precious...
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith; James...
 
 
£6.99
 

Currently out of stock

The Charming Quirks of Others: An...
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 
The Forgotten Affairs of Youth
(Hardback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£17.99
 

Currently out of stock

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
£8.99
 
The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
£8.99
 
My Italian Bulldozer
(Hardback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£14.99
 
The Revolving Door of Life
(Paperback)
Alexander McCall Smith
 
 
£8.99
 

Past Events for this Author

Latest Blog
Tom Fort asks which Writer Best Depicted the Reality of the English Village
28/04/2017

Tom reviews some much-loved novels set in English villages and asks where we go for the most realistic depiction.

Philippa Gregory Looks Back on Thirty Years of Writing Historical Fiction
27/04/2017

Read an extract from Philippa Gregory's Foreword to the 30th anniversary edition of her first published novel, Wideacre.

Foyles' Find Your Way Through ... Depression
24/04/2017

How the tv series 13 Reasons Why and Prince Harry's revelations about his own mental health have both sparked important debates about teen wellbeing.

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