The Charm of Africa

A Scottish law professor who writes best-selling detective tales set in Botswana. What gives?

Alexander Mccall Smith is fond of a fat--make that traditionally built--woman named Precious. Their dalliance began as many a relationship has, during a holiday in France. On a trip in 1996, McCall Smith scribbled a few lines of a short story, which grew into a novel and then into a series chronicling the life of Precious Ramotswe, owner of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in Gaborone, Botswana. Five books into the series, he has no intention of breaking it off. "To say goodbye now would be like leaving in the middle of a conversation," the Zimbabwean-born Scot says. "Rather rude."...

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