In the Words of Alexander McCall Smith

A new Botswana title, and a new cover look!

Posted in: News

We’re excited to announce that the new title in the Botswana series, The Limpopo Academy for Private Detection, will mark the launch of a brand new cover style for the whole series. Published alongside the paperback edition of The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party on the 29th March, both books feature a new illustrative style, which we can reveal here:










We love them – and we’d love to know what you think too! Let us know in the comments below. We’ll have more pictures to show soon . . .


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66 comments on this article to-date:

  1. Anne-Lise (France) says:

    Dear Mr Mc Call Smith,
    I am SO happy to know that there will be soon a new botswana adventure to be read :) I am very excited. I am very fond of Mma Ramotswe, who is my best hero. Thank you so much of telling us one more of her stories. May you give her my best hugs ?

  2. Elin Mari says:

    I find it even more fun to read theese books now that I am staying in Africa, and I hope to go to Botswana in the near future! I am very happy for every new adveture of Mma Ramotswe that I get to read, and I just wonder if the new cover style will have numbers? I like to have my books in the right order in my bookshelf…

  3. Pamela says:

    I love the books and it’s good to hear of the forthcoming title. However the new book covers seem bland compared to the vibrant colours, patterns and symbols of the previous covers which are so evocative of the African landscape. These covers can only be about Africa, unlike the new ones.

  4. Louise says:

    I agree with Pamela, I actually wait a whole year to read the new releases until I can buy them in the vibrant beautiful soft covers rather than the bland hard covers. It is a very difficult thing to do so I would be very dissapointed if I have waited all year for something that is not going to eventuate.

  5. di says:

    i agree with pamels and louise, i prefer the original book covers, there are no other covers that could convay the impresion of africa—if it aint broke dont mend it!!

  6. David says:

    I agree with Pamela and Louise and believe that the new style of cover is a very poor second when compared to the previous colorful series. That said I am looking forward to a new Mma Ramotswe book. The books, like all of Mr McCall Smith’s are a delight.

  7. Ren says:

    I am just like Louise, waiting a year for the paperback to come out as I have the whole collection in the vibrant colours (I read all the other new AMS titles in the meantime!). Although I’m really looking forward to the new stories I would have preferred a continuation of the jacket style to match my collection. Any chance this might change back…?

  8. Mel says:

    Love, love, love the books but not happy with the new covers! It’s disappointing when you love and collect a series only to discover the covers are going to be changed. I, too, would wait with bated breath for the beautifully vibrant paperbacks to be released so I could add them to my collection. I’ve made a lot of reading choices based on covers I thought visually stunning and in that process have discovered some truly beautiful stories await on the inside. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is one of them. Please, please don’t change the covers!

  9. Kathy says:

    Change is good and all but I love the old style of paperback cover and I’m disappointed the latest will look different!

  10. Nicky says:

    I do love your books but I have to agree with the others, I think the colours and style of the original cover illustrations outstrip the new, which remind me of “A Short History of Tractors In the Ukraine”, all very modern and I am definitley not old fashioned. I will continue to buy them whatever they look like though.

  11. Linda D says:

    So happy to hear there will be a continuation of the lovely Mma Ramotswe books and that we will hear the new adventures of our favourite characters and the newly married Mma Radiphuti (Makutsi) but have to agree with Pamela and other readers that the old style covers with their vibrant colours and jackets were more evocative of Africa and really stood out on the bookstands in the shops. The beautiful old style covers were part of what makes the books as you looked forward to each imaginative design. The newer design looks more bland. If it ain’t broke, as they say – don’t fix it! Get the previous designers back, the bright colours and jackets represent the beauty of Botswana and the bright characters of the books.

  12. Karen says:

    Please don’t change the cover to a pale and insignificant look. I currently love the style and colourful nature of the existing series and it will be disappointing if the new one does not match on the bookshelf. They are so unique and that is what attracted them to me in the first place. Now they look so mundane. By the way when will the new book be out, I am having withdrawals.

  13. Ray Smith says:

    It’s always just great to see a new title in this series! Wonderful books – shame about the new style of covers. I have collected the first edition hardbacks of the entire series to date and the covers created by Hannah Firmin are the icing on the cake: I’d love to have some of the originals on my wall. I presume that another artist has been commissioned but I’d prefer to see a return to the old style.

  14. Sheila says:

    Never mind the cover I don’t care ,just want the new book to read NOW.I can’t wait to find out what Precious has been up to since we last heard from her.Last year I had to go into hospital for a small op I took the book with me and read it in entirety while waiting to go to theatre,it kept me sane!my only quibble is why is it not out until 29th March asI usually request a copy for Mother’s day?

  15. Michelle says:

    Born and raised in Africa, I just absolutely love The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series. Not being able to be in Africa, the books transport me back to the place I love most. I am finding it hard to understand why the book covers have been changed, and must say that I do not like them at all compared to the original, vibrant coloured, beautifully patterned covers. The original covers convey the series much better. I feel that the new covers are much better suited for the other series by Alexander McCall Smith, but definitely do not fit here. I agree with all of the above comments and I too, have waited a long time just to purchase the original paperback books. I have all of the other books in the series and feel that to buy the two latest books in a completely different style ruins the collection somewhat.

  16. Anne says:

    I am also disappointed with the cover change. I have bought every paperback in the set to date. Tonight I saw The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party in the book shop and was dismayed to find the cover design had changed! I didn’t buy it, I came home to Google it and see if the old design was available. Sadly it seems this is not the case.
    I am disappointed that the new one will not match my set :-(

    The old covers had so much more depth to them, this one seems quite flat by comparison.

    Sorry to be negative, but that’s how I feel!

  17. elisabeth says:

    the new cover was not a good choice.
    same with isabell – liked the old ones more.

  18. Maureen says:

    I, too, agree with a lot of the above. The old style covers really make you think of Africa with the bright colours. Because I loved the covers so much, I have kept every single book – they look great in the bookcase – but I’m afraid the new ones do not have so much appeal. Please revert back to the old style – why change something that was so good?

  19. Richard Phillips says:

    I agree with the dismay over the change in book cover design. I too would wait for the paperback just so that I could add to my collection of wonderful cover art. In fact as a US resident I eschewed the US edition and had a copy of the UK edition with the superior cover sent to me. Was there any valid reason for the change? If it was change for change’s sake, what a pity that the book producers seem to have been so out of touch with their loyal customers and apparently unaware of the collectible nature of a series of books.

  20. Rebecca says:

    I have been an avid collector of LTA hardcovers and SPC trade paperbacks (we don’t get a hardcover version in Aust): it may seem picky but I am one of those who will specially order a particular print-run of a series just so it will “match”. I’m very sad about the new-look releases: the new Mma Ramotswe not only does not blend BUT IT’S A DIFFERENT SIZE! Oh, most beloved author, how could you allow this?

  21. Deidre says:

    Agree with many others – really love the books and madly looking forward to the next one, but I too wait to purchase when they come out in the beautiful original cover design look, very very disappointed with the new covers. They don’t even look all that much like they are in the same series whereas the original ones are unmistakeable.

  22. Lynda Robertson says:

    I have read and loved these books since my mother-in-law introduced me to the first one, and eagerly await the new story, but I agree that the new cover style just doesn’t fit in with the colourful African atmosphere of the previous stories. Would it be possible to have both types available so I can add to my collection of lovely covers?
    Do what you like with the other series, but the Botswana ones are special…

  23. Jo Orbell says:

    I love the stories and cannot wait for the next installment. Like everyone else I am disappointed with the new cover design, which is a bit bland. The vibrant colours and designs of the old covers are beautiful and are really symbolic of Africa and the stories themselves. It will be a shame to lose them. I wish authors would canvass the views of their loyal fans before making such changes. I do not believe it will make any difference to my pure enjoyment of the adventures of the characters and stories but will cause disharmony on my bookshelf!

  24. Julia says:

    Another very disappointed reader agreeing with the comments above – I wait and wait and wait and wait (in Australia) for the publication of the matching paperback in all the series and had the horrors when the last Isobel Dalhousie books were published with different covers and size. Now the same vexatious circumstance arises with Precious – PLEASE revert to the other styles – when you’re on a good thing, stick to it!

  25. Annelieke says:

    I love all the No 1 ladies detective Agency books! I have all of them in the old style covers. It would be a dissapointment for all who have the whole serie in the old style, to buy the new book in a new style. I wish they would reconsider changing it!

  26. I am looking forward to reading your latest in the Botswana series, though very sad about the new covers. The old covers were so beautifully African, the new ones so ordinary and bland. I shall get the book from the library this time and not buy it because of the cover, very sad.

  27. Liam says:

    I have to add my voice to this. I’m disappointed to find TSBTWP is not available with the Hannah Firmin artwork – it’s a relatively small thing, but the new books won’t neatly match the old ones on my shelf!

  28. Peter Ross says:

    Can`t wait for the new book, but the new covers are very disapointing. I have all the No1.. series and previous covers have always looked great.
    Do the publishers really think that views of animals rear-quarters will sell more books?

  29. Joy Butler says:

    I love reading this series and look forward to each new release. But I too love the original book covers and do not understand why you would want to change them. As I have the whole collection to date, I would also not be pleased to have a new book that doesn’t ‘fit in’! So please reconsider this decision – from what I have read above, I am certainly not alone! ;-)

  30. iain says:

    Just to add my comment on the disappointing change to the covers, dull and not very african versus the old ones, and i wont be adding to my ‘set’. will probably borrow one rather than buy it.

  31. Carmel Barber says:

    My comment disappeared! Short one now.
    Love the new book – just finished it. They always make me smile. I feel like I’ve spent a few hours with dear friends who’ve been absent for a while. The glow lasts for days!
    Enjoy it readers – as much as I did.
    Don’t like the new covers – lack character, too generic, say little of the joy contained within.

  32. Stuart says:

    I’m very excited at the thought of another release but am not impressed with the book cover so will probably just get rid of the rest of my No1 collection once I’ve read the latest book.

    Also, I am confused as to why lots of sites are listing the release date for both paperback and hardback as 29th March 2012. The paperback would normally follow months later.

  33. Jenny Parsons says:

    I have loved the Detective Agency series from the start and await with delighted anticipation the next instalment. However I have to agree with others above.. the new cover isn’t a patch on the original style… please reconsider!
    It would be fab if you could write two each year instead of just one:)

  34. Claire Walmsley says:

    love, love, love No 1 Ladies but sooooooo cross cover has changed.Please bring old ones back as my shelf will not match!!

  35. Ardis says:

    Hi. Just wanted to let you know I love your No.1 Ladies Detective Agency books so much. I looked for them after seeing the TV series and I am anxiously awaiting your next offering. Makes me miss my time working in Botswana. By the way, I hold you responsible for wrecking my diet, as your frequent mention of tea and fruit cake gave me such a craving for fruit cake that I gave in and bought one! Thanks for bringing back fond memories and giving me some good old belly laughs.

  36. Joanne says:

    I prefer the old covers, these new ones are just big bold words, but it won’t put me off buying the books of course.

  37. EJ says:

    Brilliant writing, I love the detective agency stories and characters, they bring back memories of time in Africa in my childhood. I have been patiently waiting for the latest paperback to add to my collection but couldn’t find the old designs. Just found these comments regarding new cover designs and have realised what’s happened – i’m so upset. I love the old designs and was proud to display them. My collection won’t be the same now – please reconsider!

  38. Linda R says:

    Great Books – hideous new covers. What a shame – the old covers were very iconic.

  39. Steph says:

    I too am so disappointed at the change of cover. Having purchased all of the earlier bright covers I just can’t bring myself to buy the latest 2 books as they just don’t match. Will they ever be published with the beautiful bright covers or will my set remain incomplete? Ma Ramotswe likes things to be ‘just so’ and so do I!

  40. Janice says:

    Can’t wait to read the next two books in paperback – but really not loving the new covers as the older ones were very distinctive – you just knew it was a ‘No 1 Ladies’ book – please publish in original covers so my collection looks complete!

  41. Pamela says:

    Good (‘tho puzzling) news everyone! The ‘traditional’ cover design we love is used on the new edition published in the USA. We are clearly voting for that here too – so pls no re-prints of the elephant’s rear-end, and a return to the vibrancy of the original covers.

  42. Chris says:

    So enjoying the book, a new installment is always welcome – but so disappointed with both the cover design and the increased book size… Was there really any need to increase to this over-sized format? What a shame. Instead of being another lovely edition on the shelf, it ‘sticks out’ like a sore thumb…

  43. Sue says:

    I saw the paperback of The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party in my local Waterstones today and just had to pick it up. I love the new covers, they’re so vibrant and the material they’re made out of has such a soft and lovely feel.

    But I can’t help but think the most important thing is what’s inside the books – still the same fantastic characters and beautiful writing that we all love. It doesn’t matter what they look like. Keep the stories coming!

  44. Sarah says:

    Exquisite books. I too wait for the paperback to continue my vibrant and colourful collection. The new covers unfortunately do not accurately convey the intricate and stunning beauty of the books. Why switch horses mid race?

  45. Linda D says:

    Great news Pamela. I might order my copy from US then so I have it in the continued style. Either way I will enjoy reading the continued adventures of Mma Ramotswe and hear about all the familiar characters again like seeing old friends :D So glad the series has not finished, as I feared it might with the last book “The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party.”

  46. Sue says:

    The US edition appears to be different again! I’m with most people on this – why change the covers part way through a series when so many people, like me, have collected every one? I was so disappointed to see the covers change. I don’t mind the new ones (although I prefer the olds ones), but I would dearly like all the books to be the same.

  47. M G ACKROYD says:




  48. Tony Barbour says:

    I see I am not alone in enjoying the beautiful Hannah Firmin covers on my No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency paperbacks, so am obviously dismayed that anyone thought a change of style (and size apparently) was necessary. What has happened to Hannah? What is the hidden agenda (since I find it hard to believe the “we love them” reference to the “new illustrative style”) ? Noone owes us an explanation but I’m very curious to know. I suppose commercial considerations about cost have something to do with it. I will certainly not be rushing out to buy the new versions until I hear for certain that the old style is not available. Sandy does not strike me as the sort of person who wouldn’t care what his army of loyal fans thinks! Finally; I am well aware that the content of the book is more important than the cover so I suppose I’ll have to give in and read them at some stage, but if I could think of an appropriate sanction to express my disappointment then I would certainly try it !

  49. Tony Barbour says:

    I’ve just had a look at the covers, book by book, and am further dismayed to see the truncated, out of proportion version of the genuine cover designs gracing the audio books, but even then the latest title only has a cut off copy of the new style! You really have got the bit between your teeth! I’d better investigate the rumour that the American editions have the real covers on them, but I don’t fancy reading about “colors” and “humor” so maybe there isn’t a solution for this disgruntled grumpy old man!

  50. Richard says:

    The American version does NOT have the beloved Hannah Firmin covers. They were always different in the USA and have just continued with their old style. I live in America and always waited for the UK paperback to be printed so I could import one and luxuriate in the utterly charming and evocative UK covers.
    Its a tremendous disappointment that they have changed the UK version. The only acceptable excuse would be that they couldn’t get Hannah Firmin to work on the new volume, otherwise it is a management design decision disaster of epic proportions and those responsible should be sent into a corner and not be allowed to come out until they apologise!

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