The Arts Desk
10 Questions for Alexander McCall Smith
Low on dead bodies and high on softly pedalled humour and lightly sprinkled moralising, the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agengy series of novels starring his “traditionally built” (fat) Botswanan private detective Mma Precious Ramotswe profitably roll of printing presses every year. Born in 1948, McCall Smith spent the first 17 years of his life in Bulawayo, where his father was a public prosecutor. He went to Edinburgh to study law, and apart from going back to southern Africa for two years in his early 30s (which yielded The Criminal Law of Botswana), he has lived there ever since. For many years he was a distinguished professor of medical law, in which capacity he wrote The Forensic Aspects of Sleep and Errors, Medicine and the Law, and sat on UNESCO’s bio-ethics commission, and on the human genetics commission which advises government. At the other end of the spectrum of achievements, he remains founder member of the Really Terrible Orchestra (he plays bassoon).