Alexander McCall Smith, creator of The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, is one of the world’s most prolific and best loved authors. His books feature on best-seller lists across the world as fans delight in his tales from Scotland & beyond.

Books By Series

Find out more about the characters who inhabit the worlds of Precious Ramotswe; 44 Scotland Street; Corduroy Mansions and the new School Ship Tobermory.

Stand Alone Titles

From the lonely hearts of Trains & Lovers to poor old Fatty O'Leary, discover more about Alexander's fiction and non-fiction titles.


Welcome to my page. Here you will find information about my latest books published by Polygon and BC Books in Edinburgh and discover what is planned for the future. You will also find out about my events and be first to find out when I’m visiting your home town. Do delve further into the pages on this site. I hope you will find much to enjoy. Visit us often to get the latest updates or sign up here now to receive a regular newsletter about all of the Polygon and Birlinn publications.

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‘To say McCall Smith is a literary phenomenon doesn’t quite describe what has happened. He has become more of a movement, a worldwide club for the dissemination of gentle wisdom and good cheer.’

Elizabeth Grice, Telegraph

'The writing has the elegiac simplicity of the very best short stories, the ones that swoop right into the heart of someone else’s life, and then swoop right out again.'

Frank Coughlan

Great Tapestry of Scotland

The Great Tapestry
of Scotland

Alexander McCall Smith - inspired by Scotland's history!

As well as writing new titles in his five hugely popular series, Alexander writes stand-alone novels, is involved in screen-writing, radio drama and opera libretto, and travels the world promoting his work. In 2011, Alexander decided to explore a new form for storytelling and came up with the idea for The Great Tapestry of Scotland.

Completed in 2013, the Tapestry has been exhibited in various locations across Scotland (plus a visit to Cheltenham Literary Festival) and to date has been seen by more than quarter of a million people. For the remainder of 2015 and in early 2016 it will continue to tour Scotland before moving to exhibitions in England and overseas. In 2017, it will move to a permanent base in the Scottish Borders. Discover more

Great Tapestry of Scotland

The Really Terrible

65 strong, started in 1995

'There are 65 of us now, but we started in 1995 with just 10 players and on wet November evenings we could be down to 5 or 6. It began with our envying the pleasure our children gained from music. And as nobody else would have us, we formed our own orchestra. Alexander (“Sandy”) McCall Smith, our Founder, said “ It won’t be a good orchestra, in fact it will be a really terrible one” and that is how the name came to be.'

The Really Terrible Orchestra perform every year during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In recent years they have also performed to sell out crowds in London, New York and the Scottish Borders. Discover more

Latest news

Short story published in Good Housekeeping magazine

A new short story by Alexander McCall Smith is published in this month’s Good Housekeeping magazine (August 2015 issue), on sale now. Don’t miss it. Take the chance to read his tale of a trip to Italy and how car hire can have some unexpected twists.

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