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 . . .


If you'd like to share or bookmark this article, here are a few shortcuts:

Join or Start the Conversation:

66 comments on this article to-date:

  1. Pamela says:

    If you look on the USA Amazon site you will see the latest book with what appears to be a Hannah Firmin cover. Clearly publishers need to consult their readers before making these changes.

  2. kathleen Stansfield says:

    Just finished the Limpopo Academy and it is a treat. Better than ever. A useful guide on how to live a decent and honest life.

  3. Gilli says:

    I agree with Pamela…We have all the books up to the latest and the new cover will not match the others on the bookshelf. It also makes it look like a child’s book!
    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!!!!!

  4. Catherine says:

    So, so disappointed with the cover for ‘The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party’. It’s insipid and ugly. I love the stories but also always look forward to the latest Firnim cover. I agree with Gilli above; if it’s not broken don’t fix it. I hope I can get hold of the USA version if it has a Firmin cover. I hope someone involved with publishing the book takes into account readers’ disapproval.

  5. Hanne Seppänen says:

    Oh, pleeease bring back the Hannah Firmin covers! I’m a die-hard fan of the series and have all the beautiful paper backs in my bookshelf and I cannot bear the thought of buying this new design, it would break the harmony. I’ve been waiting for the cover to be released and I was so sad to find out that it might never come out. I don’t know what to do now. Please say you’ll change it?

  6. Christina says:

    Isn’t it possible to issue both versions and allow people to complete their collections. I love the older covers and have borrowed the latest book from the library. I have no intention of adding the newer version to my gorgeous old set.

  7. darlene says:

    The contents of a book is the most important thing. Having said that, however, I am really struggling because I prefer the cover designs by Hannah Firmin and have resisted buying the newer ones. Also, I am a little confused as to how many cover designs exist for The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party? I have seen at least 3 while browsing the internet. I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with the covers, that has never happened to me.

  8. sandy says:

    I always liked the way the covers looked like African art – geometrical designs calling to mind fabrics used for traditional African cloth. The new covers look more like children’s books. But I still love reading them.

  9. I so agree with ALL of the above statements of the series book covers! The original designs give a look into what is to come, draws you into the story, and are visual treats. With all of the work to detail that has been put into these covers, and of course the storylines, I am suprised that Mr. McCall Smith is in agreement to these changes. Sometimes staying with what you know is a good thing, and this is so true about your covers. Don’t make them look like bargain books. Please keep their continuity. Thank you for listening to your buyers. Peggy H.

  10. Tony Barbour says:

    Well it’s finally come to this: I’ve had to buy the French version of the Saturday Big Tent etc because although it’s a cheaper type of paperback it does have a Hannah Firmin cover (so they do exist!!!) May I please reiterate that the covers contribute greatly to my enjoyment of the series and I can’t see any good reason why the two versions cannot coexist (if you insist on proceeding with the newer designs). Meanwhile I’m forced to read the latest story in the wrong language! I am also seriously considering buying some of the prints based on earlier covers, available on Hannah Firmin’s website.

  11. anita stockley says:

    I have just read the paperback version of the Saturday big tent wedding party. As always the book was brilliant- a gentle study of what are now probable bygone manners and a way of life. However the book cover is disappointing, whilst you cannot judge a book by it’s cover, Hannah’s designs are far more attractive and appealing.

  12. Why oh why did you change the cover designs? The original ‘African’ ones were so much more appropriate and had a subtle sense of mystery about them. I am an avid fan of Alexanders books but the new cover does not add any value for me. Please revert!

  13. Philippa Rose says:

    As a big fan from Australia, I too, am very disappointed in the change of covers and lack of continuity this represents for collectors of the series.
    So I can only agree with all the complaints above expressed above, and add my voice to those requesting that if you must introduce the new ones, then please also continue publishing “limited editions” of the Hannah Firmin designs.

  14. Zandra O'Donnell says:

    When will the next no.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novel be published? There is usually one each March, so I had hoped to get the latest for my birthday, as usual, but there is no new one out at present, only the paperback version of the one I had last year.

  15. admin says:

    Hi Zandra,

    The next No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency hardback novel will be out in October. We’ll post more information on this site as soon as we’re able!

  16. Elizabeth Eldin says:

    I have collected all the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books to date and am looking forward to the next one, which I do hope will be inside a ‘traditional’ cover.

Join or Start the Conversation:

Complete the form to add a comment to this article:

Please Note: All comments will be moderated by a member of Mr McCall Smith's Webteam, which may result in a short delay in your comment appearing on the site.

Mr McCall Smith's Webteam and/or representatives of his publisher, the Little Brown Book Group, also reserve the right to block, remove or delete any comment that, in their opinion:

  • Constitutes hate speech against an identifiable group
  • Directly and deliberately insults other posters
  • Is promotional or commercial in nature (these comments will also be reported as spam)
  • Does not make a relevant and / or interesting contribution to the discussion

Alexander on Twitter

Alexander on Twitter
Latest tweets from @mccallsmith:
  • Sorry! Bit of a problem with the feed from Twitter at the moment. Please try again later...
Follow Alexander on Twitter for regular updates and insights:

Forthcoming Events

Join the Newsletter