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Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the author Alexander McCall Smith. Alexander McCall Smith was an established professor of law, an expert on ethics and a part time musician when, at the age of 50, he wrote the book that turned his life on its head. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency became a word of mouth best-seller. He has now written a series of books featuring Mma Precious Ramotswe, a 'traditionally built' Botswanan woman who spends as much time dealing with the trials of everyday life as solving crime. Her cases have included absent husbands, imposter fathers and missing children - all resolved using common sense and underpinned with a strong sense of the importance of traditional African social values.

Alexander McCall Smith's fascination with, and devotion to, Africa is not surprising - he was born and brought up in Zimbabwe - then Southern Rhodesia - only moving to Britain when he began his legal studies. He visits Botswana every year. Even as a child he was a keen writer, a

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