Alexander McCall Smith is one of our most versatile men of letters. He simultaneously maintains five series of novels for adults and five for children, plus many one-off titles and a roster of academic books relating to his role as Emeritus Professor of Medical Law at Edinburgh University. But first among equals are The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency stories (18 books and counting), featuring Precious Ramotswe in a bucolic Botswana. The latest Precious book is The House of Unexpected Sisters. Away from his desk, he plays bassoon in The Really Terrible Orchestra and has bought the Cairns of Coll islets to be preserved unspoilt for posterity.
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