Alexander McCall Smith’s The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency was first published by Polygon, in Edinburgh, in 1998. Since then, a further 14 titles have appeared in hardback, paperback, eBook and audio editions, with total sales of the printed editions now topping 20 million copies in English and translations complete or underway in 46 languages.
This series is now published by Little, Brown in London but the author is still loyal to Polygon, who publish the 44 Scotland Street and Corduroy Mansions books along with stand alone novels such as: The Forever Girl and the very popular short novel, Trains and Lovers, the screamingly funny Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party, and a short story collection Chance Developments.
As you can see, Alexander McCall Smith is prolific! As well as writing new titles in his five hugely popular series, and stand-alone novels, he is involved in screen-writing, radio drama and opera libretto, and travels the world promoting his work. He is also deeply involved in what has become Scotland’s biggest community arts project – The Great Tapestry of Scotland. Alexander came up with the idea for the Great Tapestry in 2011 and worked with artist Andrew Crummy and historian Alistair Moffat to bring the tapestry into being. Dorie Wilkie took the base artwork and adapted it for stitch and volunteer stitchers right across Scotland stitched 165 panels (with a total length of 143 metres), each designed by Andrew Crummy and each telling one aspect of Scottish history from the ice-age to the present day.