What's New in Books?

Alexander writes four or five new books every year. This page gives you an 'at-a-glance' view of the newest releases.

Titles in this series

The Strange Case of the Moderate Extremists (eBook Original)

ISBN: 9781984898524
Publisher: Vintage Books (Penguin Random House)
Publication Date: 26 February 2019

The Department of Sensitive Crimes

ISBN: 9781524748210
Publisher: Pantheon (Penguin Random House)
Publication Date: 16 April 2019


The Department of Sensitive Crimes is a Sandinavian Blanc novel. Scandinavian Blanc is different from Scandinavian Noir: there is nothing noir about the world of Ulf Varg, a detective in the Sensitive Crimes Department in the Swedish city of Malmo. Ulf is concerned with very odd, but not too threatening crimes – injuries to the back of the knee caused by an unknown hand, young women who allow their desperation for a boyfriend to get the better of them, and peculiar goings-on in a spa on Sweden’s south coast.
Of course, Ulf is a Swedish detective, and Swedish detectives, by convention, lead lives beset with problems of one sort or another. For a start, there is his name: Ulf derives from the Old Norse word for wolf and Varg means wolf in modern Swedish. But his character is far from vulpine: Ulf is a sympathetic, well-educated, and likeable man, with a knowledge of and interest in Nordic art. He has a dog called Marten, the only dog in Sweden who is capable of lip-reading (but only in Swedish). Marten becomes depressed and needs treatment. Dogs in Sweden are, apparently, particularly prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder. But this is summer – and there must be something else going on.
Ulf has a number of colleagues into whose lives we gain an insight. There is Anna, married to an anaesthetist, but very fond of Ulf; there is Erik, whose sole interest is fishing; Carl, whose father has written a book on the Danish philosopher, Kierkegaard; and there is poor Blomquist, from the uniformed branch, who goes on and on about health issues but who seems to have extraordinary luck in investigations. There is also Ulf’s psychotherapist, Dr Svensson, whose observations on Ulf’s life – and many other topics – enlightens – or possibly confuses.


‘As usual, the interpersonal relationships Smith so sensitively portrays and the ethical issues he raises matter far more than the sleuthing. Fans of gentle mysteries will look forward to the sequel.’
Publishers' Weekly
‘The chronicler of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and 44 Scotland Street takes on Nordic noir. Guess who comes out on top.’
Kirkus Reviews

The Quiet Side of Passion

ISBN: 9780307908964
Publisher: Pantheon
Publication Date: 31 July 2018


Isabel Dalhousie’s charm is undeniable
Sunday Times
Sunday Telegraph
McCall Smith’s greatest gift as a writer – and God knows this is just one of many – is that he can write likeable characters.
New Statesman

The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse

ISBN: 9781524747534
Publisher: Anchor Books (Penguin Random House)
Publication Date: Paperback published Feb 2019. First published 10 April 2018 by Pantheon (Penguin Random House)
The Good Pilot is a stand alone novel, a heartwarming tale of hope and friendship set amid the turmoil of World War II.

Val Eliot, a young woman working on an English farm during the war, meets Mike, a U.S. Air Force pilot stationed nearby. When Val rescues a Border Collie named Peter Woodhouse, who is being mistreated by his owner, she realizes the dog would actually be safer with Mike. And so Peter Woodhouse finds a new home on the air force base, and Val finds herself falling in love. Peter Woodhouse becomes Dog First Class (the Good Pilot in the title), a canine mascot on the base who boldly accompanies the officers on their missions, and Val becomes Mike’s fiancée. But then a disaster jeopardizes the future of them all, and Peter Woodhouse brings Ubi, a German corporal, into their orbit, sparking a friendship that comes with great risk but carries with it the richest of rewards.

Infused with Alexander McCall Smith’s renowned charm and warmth, The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse is an uplifting story of love and the power of friendship to bring sworn enemies together.


“Though he does not shy away from sadness, AMS always manages to emphasise the joy, and the love, and the small happinesses that make up all of our lives. I am once more back to waiting for the next book (thank goodness he writes so many!), because I devoured this far too quickly!”
“Period pet lit from a pro”
The Mail on Sunday: Books of the Year
“I think it was Ian Rankin who claimed that as global politics becomes more turbulent, the world will increasingly find itself in need of Alexander McCall Smith’s heart-warming novels, and he is right. The latest McCall Smith opus, The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse, is a gentle romp through the world of land girls, war-time romance and an exceptional pet—the amusingly-named sheepdog that gives the book its title… Of course, the story is not all happiness for Peter and his friends—there are trials and tragedies along the way. But fans of McCall Smith’s other work will not be disappointed”
The Scotsman

A Time of Love and Tartan

ISBN: 9780525436553
Publisher: Anchor Books (Penguin Random House)
Publication Date: 6 February 2018