Alexander McCall Smith - The Colours of all the Cattle - Little, Brown Book Group

The Colours of all the Cattle

By Alexander McCall Smith

  • Hardback
  • £18.99

The new Botswana book from bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith, this is Mma Ramotswe's nineteenth wonderful adventure.

The latest installment from THE NO. 1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY series

Mma Ramotswe's friend will persuade her to stand for election to the City Council. 'We need women like her in politics,' Mma Potokwani says, 'instead of having the same old men every time . . .' To be elected, Mma Ramotswe must have a platform and some policies. She will have to canvas opinion. She will have to get Mma Makutsi's views. Her slogan is 'I can't promise anything - but I shall do my best'. Her intention is to halt the construction of the Big Fun Hotel, a dubious, flashy business near a graveyard - an act that many consider to be disrespectful. Mma Ramotswe will take the campaign as far as she can, but lurking around the corner, as ever, is the inextinguishable Violet Sephotho.

Biographical Notes

Alexander McCall Smith is the author of over eighty books on a wide array of subjects, including the award-winning The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. He is also the author of the Isabel Dalhousie novels and the world's longest-running serial novel, 44 Scotland Street. His books have been translated into forty-six languages. Alexander McCall Smith is Professor Emeritus of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh and holds honorary doctorates from thirteen universities.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781408711095
  • Publication date: 06 Sep 2018
  • Page count: 240
  • Imprint: Little, Brown
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A Time of Love and Tartan

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Catch up with the delightful goings-on in the fictitious 44 Scotland Street from Alexander McCall Smith . . .'A joyous, charming portrait of city life and human foibles, which moves beyond its setting to deal with deep moral issues and love, desire and friendship' Sunday ExpressIf only Pat Macgregor had an inkling of the embarrassment romantic, professional, even aesthetic that flowed from accepting narcissistic ex-boyfriend Bruce Anderson's invitation for coffee, she would never have said yes. And if only Matthew, her boss at the art gallery, hadn't wandered into his local bookshop and picked up a particular book at a particular time, he would never have knocked over his former English teacher or attracted the attentions of the police.Whether caused by small things such as a cup of coffee and a book, or major events such as Stuart's application for promotion and his wife Irene's decision to go off and study for a PhD in Aberdeen, change is coming to serial fiction's favourite street. But for three seven-year-old boys Bertie Pollock, Ranald Braveheart Macpherson, and Big Lou's foster son Finlay - it also means a getting a glimpse of perfect happiness.Alexander McCall Smith's delightfully witty, wise and sometimes surreal comedy spirals out to include tennis-playing Rwandan Forest People, researches into levitating Celtic saints, bogus headhunters in Papua New Guinea and primary school performances of Beckett. But its heart remains where it has always been true to life, love and laughter in Edinburgh's New Town.

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The Quiet Side of Passion

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The nursery gate is a good place for parents to meet one another. As the mother of two small children, Isabel finds herself enlarging her circle of friends to include other parents. She meets Patricia, an Irishwoman, a musician and the single mother of a small boy called Basil Phelps. Isabel hears from her husband, Jamie, that this child is allegedly the unacknowledged son of a well-known Edinburgh organist, Basil Phelps. Patricia takes to Isabel, but Isabel is suspicious - there is something about Patricia that she does not quite like, but, with her usual attention to moral obligation, she does her best to be civil and supportive. That is until she sees Patricia with a mysterious, freckled man. Isabel gets it into her head that this is Patricia's lover, and that he must be the real father of young Basil. When further discoveries are made, everything is turned on its head.Despite Jamie's discouragement, Isabel decides that she is going to get to the bottom things. Yet, when the truth is finally revealed, it seems that Isabel has misjudged Patricia; in fact, she has misjudged just about everybody.

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A Distant View of Everything

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Recently distracted by the arrival of her and Jamie's second son, Magnus, Isabel Dalhousie - philanthropic editor of the Review of Applied Ethics - is anxious. The next issue of the Review is far from ready, her eldest, Charlie, is jealous, and their housekeeper, Grace, has an officious approach to childcare. With some relief, Isabel returns to helping out at her niece Cat's delicatessen, where surely the most taxing duty is the preparation of sandwiches.It's not long before Isabel's helpful, philosophical nature draws her into customers' problems, specifically that of ambitious, self-proclaimed matchmaker, Bea Shandon. Bea has staged a potentially dangerous liaison involving enigmatic plastic surgeon, Tony MacUspaig, who may not be quite who he claims to be - and Isabel's help is required in getting to the truth of the matter. Good-hearted Isabel proceeds with her usual thorough attention to task, and on Bea's advice talks to her friend Rob, a trustworthy regular on Bea's dinner party circuit, and known to have deep suspicions about MacUspaig. It becomes clear, however, that Rob has an agenda of his own and Isabel is now contending with that, along with a mysterious medical condition of Jamie's and some frustrating dead ends when it comes to Bea's predicament. When the truth finally reveals itself, Isabel must conclude that along with MacUspaig, Bea, Jamie - and even Cat - she herself is not immune to misunderstandings, or the neurotic fantasies that arise from keeping secrets . . .

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My Italian Bulldozer

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'While My Italian Bulldozer certainly advocates a kind, considerate, some might even say old-fashioned approach to resolving affairs of the heart, it also succeeds in subtly, almost imperceptibly ripping up the traditional rules of the romantic comedy and creating something refreshingly original' ScotsmanWhen writer Paul Stewart heads to the idyllic Italian town of Montalcino to finish his already late book, it seems like the perfect escape from stressful city life. Upon landing, however, things quickly take a turn for the worse when he discovers his hired car is nowhere to be found. With no record of any reservation and no other cars available it looks like Paul is stuck at the airport. That is, until an enterprising stranger offers him an unexpected alternative. While there may be no cars available there is something else on offer: a bulldozer.With little choice in the matter, Paul accepts and so begins a series of laugh out loud adventures through the Italian countryside, following in the wake of Paul and his Italian Bulldozer. A story of unexpected circumstance and lesson in making the best of what you have, My Italian Bulldozer is a warm holiday read guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

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The House of Unexpected Sisters

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Precious Ramotswe has always idolised her father, the late Obed Ramotswe. She feels that she knows all about his life - but does she? Sometimes our parents surprise us, and we discover that things were not quite what we thought them to be. And the same goes for Mma Makutsi, Mma Ramotswe's feisty assistant, who also makes certain discoveries about her own past that cause some surprise. The placid world of the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is further disturbed by the arrival in Gaborone of somebody whom Mma Ramotswe - and Mr J.L.B. Matekoni, for that matter - definitely do not want to see. Of course calm eventually prevails - as it always does in the timeless world of these remarkable ladies. Tea is served, and life continues.

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The Bertie Project

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Bertie's respite from his overbearing mother, Irene, is over. She has returned from the middle-east, only to discover that her son has been exposed to the worst evils of cartoons, movies and Irn Bru, and her wrath falls upon her unfortunate husband, Stuart. Meanwhile, Bruce has fallen in love with someone other than himself; Big Lou wants to adopt her beloved Finlay; Matthew and Elspeth host the Duke of Johannesburg for supper and Bertie decides he wants to move out of Scotland Street altogether and live with his grandmother, Nicola.Can Irene and Stuart's marriage survive? Will Bruce's newfound love last? And will Bertie really leave Scotland Street? Find out in the next instalment of this charming, beloved series.

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Precious and Grace

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The Revolving Door of Life

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For seven-year-old Bertie Pollock, life in Edinburgh's most celebrated fictional street has just got immeasurably better. The enforced absence of his endlessly pushy mother Irene - currently consciousness-raising in a Bedouin harem (don't ask) - has manifold and immediate blessings: no psychotherapy, no Italian lessons and no yoga classes. Bliss.For Scotland Street's grown-ups, life throws up some new dilemmas. Matthew makes a discovery that could make him even richer but also leaves him worried. Pat makes one that could make her poorer and her father miserable - unless that uber-narcissist, Bruce, can help her out. And the Duke of Johannesburg, we discover, isn't exactly who he says he is.From what happens behind Edinburgh Airport's luggage carousel to Machiavellian manoeuvrings at the Association of Scottish Nudists, Alexander McCall Smith guides us through the brighter, lighter and frankly unexpected side of Edinburgh life. As ever with his 44 Scotland Street series, his readers will make their own discovery: that its blend of wit and wisdom mark it out as a comedic tour de force.

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The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine

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Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine

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The Novel Habits of Happiness

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Isabel Dalhousie is one of Edinburgh's most generous (but discreet) philanthropists - but should she be more charitable? She wonders, sometimes, if she is too judgmental about her niece's amorous exploits, too sharp about her housekeeper's spiritual beliefs, too ready to bristle in battle against her enemies. As the editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, she doesn't, of course, allow herself actual enemies, but she does feel enmity - especially towards two academics who have just arrived in the city. Isabel feels they're a highly destabilizing influence; little tremors in the volcanic rock upon which an Enlightened Edinburgh perches. Equally troubling is the situation of the little boy who is convinced he had a previous life. When Isabel is called upon to help, she finds herself questioning her views on reincarnation. And the nature of grief. And - crucially - the positioning of lighthouses. The only questions Isabel doesn't have to address concern her personal life. With her young son and devoted husband her home life is blissfully content. Which is the best possible launching pad for the next issue of the Review - the Happiness issue. As Isabel is beginning to appreciate, happiness, for most people, is not quite what it seems . . .

Abacus

The Handsome Man's De Luxe Café

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Even the arrival of her baby can't hold Mma Makutsi back from success in the workplace, and so no sooner than she becomes a full partner in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - in spite of Mma Ramotswe's belated claims that she is only 'an assistant full partner' - she also launches a new enterprise of her own: the Handsome Man's De Luxe Café. Grace Makutsi is a lady with a business plan, but who could predict temperamental chefs, drunken waiters and more? Luckily, help is at hand, from the only person in Gaborone more gently determined than Mma Makutsi . . . Mma Ramotswe, of course.

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At the Reunion Buffet

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The Forever Girl

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Clover has loved James for as long as she can remember, since before she knew what what love was. But fate seems determined to keep them apart. As children, Clover and James played beside a turquoise sea under cloudless skies, their Caribbean island home a place of pleasure and privilege, of lush lawns and tennis parties. In such a paradise nothing should obstruct the kind of happiness Clover dreams of, except that, as she discovers, true love is often harder than paradise allows for. And when Clover's mother falls out of love with her husband, a web of complications is woven that may take Clover a lifetime to unravel. If she ever can . . . Tender and true, The Forever Girl traces love's unpredictable path to maturity with style, wit and feeling.

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Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers

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The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon

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As Botswana awaits the familiar blessing of the rains and the resumption of the eternal cycle, seismic upheaval is taking place at the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. Not only is Mr J. L. B. Matekoni attempting to reform himself into a modern husband, but after her marriage to Phuti Radiphuti, Mma Ramotswe's challenging but irreplaceable associate Mma Makutsi has joyful news.With the arrival of an heir to the Double Comfort furniture empire and Mma Makutsi busy with motherhood, Mma Ramotswe must tackle tea-making and detective work alone. Well-known troublemaker Violet Sephotho may or not be behind a smear campaign against the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, and a dispute over the will of a local dignitary points to a shocking family secret. But the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is resilient and adaptable, and change brings salutary lessons: that our enemies are not always obvious, that a snake under the bed may be an ally, and that a mother's love conquers all.

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The Slice of No.1 Celebration Storybook

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The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds

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As a mother, wife, employer and editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, Isabel Dalhousie is aware that to be human is to be responsible. So when a neighbour brings her a new and potentially dangerous puzzle to solve, once again Isabel feels she has no option but to shoulder the burden.A masterpiece painting has been stolen from Duncan Munrowe, old-fashioned philanthropist, father to two discontented children, and a very wealthy man. As Isabel enters into negotiations with the shadowy figures who are in search of a ransom, a case where heroes and villains should be clearly defined turns murky: the list of those who desire the painting - or the money - lengthens, and hasty judgement must be avoided at all cost. Morals, it turns out, are like Scottish clouds: complex, changeable and tricky to get a firm grip on; they require a sharp observational eye, a philosophical mindset, and the habit of kindness. Fortunately for those around her, Isabel Dalhousie is in possession of all three.

Abacus

Sunshine on Scotland Street

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Scotland Street witnesses the wedding of the century of Angus Lordie to Domenica Macdonald, but as the newlyweds depart on honeymoon Edinburgh is in disarray. Recovering from the trauma of being best man, Matthew is taken up by a Dane called Bo, while Cyril eludes his dog-sitter and embarks on an odyssey involving fox-holes and the official residence of a cardinal. Narcissist Bruce meets his match in the form of a sinister doppelganger; Bertie, set up by his mother for fresh embarrassment at school, yearns for freedom; and Big Lou goes viral. But the residents of Scotland Street rally, and order - and Cyril - is restored by the combined effects of understanding, kindness, and, most of all, friendship.