Story Calendar

A Story for February: ‘Zeugma’ from Pianos and Flowers

She is smiling, the young woman perched on the cross-bar; she is smiling broadly as they follow the tram lines. Behind them, the morning mist is lifting slowly, although the figures within it are ghost-like and the trees still harbour lingering pockets of darkness. She did not know what possessed her to accept a ride […]

A Story for January: ‘Monty, Tiger, Rose, etc’ from The Exquisite Art of Getting Even

Rose first saw Colin at the thirtieth birthday party of her vivacious, redhead friend, Vicky. It was a large party, held in Edinburgh, at Vicky’s father’s golf club. “Vicky has countless friends,” somebody once said to Rose. “It’s something to do with being a redhead. You speak to virtually anybody – anybody – and they’ll […]

A Story for December: The Enigma of Garlic

Domenica Macdonald, anthropologist, resident of Edinburgh, observer of humanity and believer in the old-fashioned and increasingly rare virtue of tolerance, looked out of her window onto the cobbled street below and wondered what to cook for dinner. It was not a question on which she would spend much time – nor was it one with […]

A Story for October: ‘By Post’ from Tiny Tales

An extract from Tiny Tales, an illustrated short story collection by Alexander McCall Smith, illustrated by Iain McIntosh.

A Story for September: A Song of Comfortable Chairs

An extract from the latest novel in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.

A Story for August: Larry Fox of Fox and Co.

This is an excerpt from a new children’s book that Alexander is currently writing.

A Story for July: Elvis at Prestwick Airport

Something slightly different this month, a performance of a song written by Alexander to celebrate the Great Tapestry of Scotland.

A Poem for June: In a Garden

Alexander McCall Smith joined the Cyrenians charity last week, along with patients and volunteers, at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital for a book reading, where he presented a new poem written for the occasion and gifted books to hospital patients and staff. Here is that poem.   In a Garden   The Community Gardens   The human soul […]

A Story for May: The Man with the Silver Saab

The Man with the Silver Saab is the third book in the Detective Varg series, it will be published in paperback in June. Below is an extract from the first chapter. Chapter One: An Attack with Impunity It happened very quickly. One moment, Ulf Varg’s hearing impaired dog, Martin, was enjoying his outing to the […]

A Story for April: Balerno

A family of three lived in a large house in Balerno, just outside Edinburgh. The family consisted of a man, a  woman, and a daughter of nineteen. The man had a goods-in, goods-out business just outside Livingston. He bought goods, moved them in, and then moved them out, with a larger price attached. “I’m a […]

A Story for March: From the South

There was an Italian town, possibly Verona, in which the people discouraged incomers and made it difficult for them to be accepted. In particular, they objected to the influx of southerners – people with names like Valentino, Salvatore, or Pasquale. These were typical Neapolitan or Sicilian  names, and these arrogant northerners regarded them with disdain. […]

A Story for February: Free Return

She was lonely. Exactly six years earlier, her husband, the director of a firm that planted trees across Scottish hillsides, informed her that he had been conducting an affair with his secretary, a woman named Bernie. Bernie was twenty eight and was keen to meet a man of substance so that she would no longer […]