Another of the authors taking part in this year’s Bath Literature Festival was Alexander McCall Smith, author of the No 1 Ladies detective Agency and Scotland Street series. I love his books.
The first I read was a little different – in the final year of my degree course I took a course on Medicine, ethics and Law, and one of our text books was the always scintillating ‘Law & Medical Ethics’, by Mason & McCall Smith.
The second I read was the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency, and I was hooked. They are very soothing books.
The event was in the Banqueting Hall at the Guildhall - this is quite large – it holds around 350 people and was fairly full – manly, it appeared, with ladies of a certain age (and in many cases, traditional build)
Mr McCall Smith was being interviewed – as part of the introduction we were told of the various awards he has won. These apparently include the ‘Theakstons Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year’. This is a new one on me but it sounds like a perfectly splendid award to get – beer and crime writing in one compact and amusingingly named package.
There was also a discussion based around the fact that it was World Book day, and that one of the newspapers (The Guardian, I think) had been asking people which books they pretended to have read. Mr McCall Smith (I can’t bring myself to call him Alexander, it seems too familiar) said that he didn’t lie,(well, not too much) but instead would stay silent and nod… he then went on to set out his theory that downloading a book means that you’ve almost read it . . . and that you become familiar with it by some form of ‘electronic osmosis’…. I find this an appealing theory, and would have liked to ask whether it also works for traditional books. I have several classics with which I share my home, but which I haven’t got around to reading. Perhaps eventually they will be absorbed through my skin…
He then talked briefly about the new ‘Mma Ramotswe’ book, Teatime for the Traditionally Built, which came out today.
He explained that it features football, about which he claimed to know nothing, but that he had looked things up, and that readers might therefore, as he explained, “get the false impression that I know what I’m talking about”
We were read the final page of the book, which happily did not give anything away (except that Mma Ramotswe’s Tiny White Van may, tragically, have met it’s end. . .)
TO BE CONTINUED . . .