On a recent Sunday afternoon at a public library near my home, Lynn of Matt Lynn Digital and I accompanied her mother, Eastern Mom, to see acclaimed Scottish and bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith speak. McCall Smith made the visit in support of his famous No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Series of books. The recently released book The Colors of All Cattle is the nineteenth release in the series.
(Alexander McCall Smith)
McCall Smith has written or contributed to more than 100 books during his prolific writing career. The afternoon included a two-hour session of moderated questions in the main auditorium of a public library. The Colors of All Cattle was for sale with autographs and pictures offered to an eager crowd following the discussion.
(McCall Smith‘s new book The Colors of All Cattle).
During the conversation, the author read the closing paragraph of the book The Colors of All Cattle. The larger point of reading from this paragraph was to offer insight into his female protagonist from the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Series, Mma Precious Ramotswe of Gaborone, Botswana. The larger point shared through Precious Ramotswe was to anchor yourself with pride to home. Have pride like Mma Ramotswe in your home, its traditions and teachings. Let that pride pour out with distinction and honor as that place, along with a sense of it and the people there, form part of your unique identity.
Eastern Mom and Lynn, mother and first born daughter, have enjoyed the books from the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Series since I have known them. Eastern Mom praises the simple sense of things, sensibility, and contentment that comes with the ladies of Botswana. Lynn relates to the strength and the fastidious correctness of both Mma Ramotswe, the No. 1 lady of the detective agency, as well as her friend and assistant Mma Grace Makutsi.
(Books from the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Series.)
In his recent Sunday afternoon visit to the Midwestern United States, Alexander McCall Smith spoke of taking inspiration from 20th century writer R.K. Narayan. Narayan is from southern India. His English prose is said to have been in a “simple and modest writing style.” Eastern Mom referenced this in her discerned sensibility of the ladies of Botswana. McCall Smith‘s “Botswana Books,” or the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Series. The fictional south Indian town of Malgudi in the writing of Narayan is clearly seen in McCall Smith.
McCall Smith further praised the poetry of W.H. Auden, the sonnets of William Shakespeare, and the undervalued career of English writer Barbara Pym. McCall Smith offered Pym the high praise of considering her the Jane Austen of the second half of the twentieth century.
The Sunday afternoon that I shared with Lynn, Eastern Mom, and Alexander McCall Smith was a delightful gathering enjoyed, at minimum, by the ladies and me. We three are better for the experience, and we look forward to the last little nugget of possibility raised by McCall Smith when asked about the HBO series around the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Series (TV Series 2008-2009). While the series is not likely to come back, the a musical based on the book series is possible.
Matt – Saturday, November 17, 2018