Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith Books

The Strand, is the source for books by bestselling novelist Alexander McCall Smith’s books and novels. known to millions of fans for creating unique, spellbinding books that have been translated in dozens of languages Alexander McCall Smith has established himself as one of the leading mystery authors of the past 15 years. The Strand Magazine not only has books by Alexander McCall Smith’s, but we’re proud to offer them at a discount of up to 40% off and we’ll even throw in a free bookmark with our top 10 mysteries of all time.

AFG: I just finished reading The Careful Use of Compliments, and I really enjoyed it.

AMS: Well, Andrew, thank you so much for that. I feel that I’m really getting settled into the series and into the characters more, and I’m enjoying it very much indeed.

Alexander McCall Smith Books

Sandy McCall Smith, author of ‘No 1 Ladies Detective Agency’ and the following books in the series. In Botswana returning to some of the people and areas that are the base to his ‘Bestselling’ Books.
Sandy McCall Smith at the President Hotel in Gaborone, Botswana.
Pictures by Chris Watt

AFG: Considering the cynical world we live in and the idealism of your books, were you surprised by their success?

AMS: Yes. I suppose I was resigned to what I thought would, in perpetuity, be a small readership, and when I discovered that people seemed to respond to them, I was very surprised—and obviously very pleased. I think that maybe people just found it an alternative to the rather grim tone of a lot of contemporary fiction. Not that one mustn’t have books which deal with the tragic face of the age or the violent face of the age.

AFG: And what are you working on now?

AMS: Well I’m about to start Volume 9 of the Mma Ramotswe books—the Botswana books. I’m just about to go to Botswana next week, in fact. They’re starting to film the series.

AFG: Anthony Minghella is directing it?

AMS: Anthony Minghella, yes. He’s a wonderful director, one of the most marvelous film directors there is. I thought The Talented Mr. Ripley was terrific. I’m a great Patricia Highsmith fan. I thought she was a superb writer with a marvelous understanding of the sociopathic mind, and Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley was just so good. It had such a wonderful period feel of Italy at that time; the textures, the colours, the whole ambience. So he’s directing the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. The Weinsten Company, which used to be Miramax, has been very supportive. They’ve got everybody in Botswana now, and I think filming’s going to start on Monday.

AFG: Well, that’s exciting. When’s the release date?

AMS: I don’t know, because if you speak to film-makers about when their films are going to be released, they say just towards the end of the year. And you know they always say that! [laughs] They’re making a ninety-minute television film to launch the series, then they want to do six films thereafter, which will be terrific. I’ve been told that with television, you reach many more people

AFG: Definitely. But will you retain control over what they put in, or will it be out of your hands?

AMS: No, it’s out of my hands, but the nice thing about dealing with Minghella and the people involved—Richard Curtis, who has directed Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral, and Sydney Pollack—is that they are a pretty good team. So I’m less worried than if the film were being made by people I didn’t know.

AFG: I know that in the past you served on several bio-ethics panels and that you were also a university professor. Have you given all that up?

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