Tiny Tales: Stories of Romance, Ambition, Kindness, and Happiness

Tiny Tales: Stories of Romance, Ambition, Kindness, and Happiness

Tiny Tales: Stories of Romance, Ambition, Kindness, and Happiness

Tiny Tales: Stories of Romance, Ambition, Kindness, and Happiness


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It is often said that the best things in life come in small packages; anyone in search of proof need look no further than the stories in this collection from the acclaimed author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series: brief, utterly engaging tales that offer lasting surprise and delight, accompanied by charming illustrations by Iain McIntosh.

In Tiny Tales, Alexander McCall Smith explores romance, ambition, kindness, and happiness in thirty short stories accompanied by thirty witty cartoons designed by Iain McIntosh, McCall Smith’s longtime creative collaborator. Here we meet the first Australian pope, who hopes to finally find some peace and quiet back home in Perth; a psychotherapist turned motorcycle racetrack manager; and an aspiring opera singer who gets her unlikely break onstage. And, of course, we spend time in McCall Smith’s beloved Scotland, where we are introduced to progressive Vikings, a group of housemates with complex romantic entanglements, and a couple of globe-trotting dentists. These tales and illustrations depict the full scope of human experience and reveal the rich tapestry of life—painted in miniature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780593312971
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/01/2022
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 410,322
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

ALEXANDER McCALL SMITH is the author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels and a number of other series and stand-alone books. His works have been translated into more than forty languages and have been best sellers throughout the world. He lives in Scotland.


Edinburgh, Scotland

Date of Birth:

August 24, 1948

Place of Birth:


Read an Excerpt

Molly wanted to do a parachute jump.
“I wouldn’t if I were you,” said her friend. “What’s the point?”
That was a difficult question to answer. What was the point of jumping out of an aeroplane and tumbling down through the air? The deliberate courting of risk? Proving something about yourself—namely that you can jump out of an aero­plane? It was not a simple question to answer, and so Molly simply said, “I could meet somebody. You never know.”
“On a parachute jump?” her friend mocked. “Meet some­body? Are you serious?”
But when she went to the parachute club, Molly met an exceedingly handsome instructor. He was known as Drop-Dead Gorgeous. This was not a good nickname for a para­chutist to have, but Molly did not know about it at the time.
“All right, Molly,” said Drop-Dead Gorgeous. “I’m going to strap you to me. Then we’re going to jump out of the air­craft strapped together. Any questions?”
Molly tried to think of a question, but could only think of asking, How long will it last? She was not thinking so much of the jump, but of how long she would be strapped to the instructor.
They went up in the plane. Molly looked down at the ground below. The countryside was parcelled out in small, neat fields. Rivers were tiny veins of silver. The cars on the roads were minute beetles. The earth was so dear . . . “Com­fortable?” asked Drop-Dead Gorgeous.
“Very,” said Molly.
The descent took very little time. The ground seemed to come up rather fast, but the instructor landed on his feet, cushioning Molly’s landing. She looked into his eyes. “That was lovely,” she said.
He smiled at her. “Let’s not unstrap just yet,” he said. “We could go for coffee together.”
He did the walking. Strapped to him in her harness, her feet did not touch the ground, but she was happy to be carried—more than happy, perhaps.
After coffee, he suggested they go for a walk. “No need to get unstrapped just yet,” he said.
They spent the day together, in close proximity. At the end, he said, “You know something? I feel very close to you.”
“So do I,” said Molly. She was convinced that she had found the man she was looking for, and he felt the same thing, muta­tis mutandis, of course.
“I’m going to give up jumping,” he promised.
She was relieved. He thought that her relief was connected with her concerns about the danger involved in parachuting, but that was not the real reason. She did not want him to be strapped to anybody else, which was quite reasonable, in her view. At the same time, she fully understood that a key ele­ment in any successful relationship was not to be too clingy.

Table of Contents

This book contains tales of:
Descent 3
Sister Angelica 6
By post 12
Takahashi Ichiro, passenger-pusher 16
Amuse-bouche: Romance & relationships 23
The first adventure of Pope Ron 31
The Pope goes swimming 35
You the Pope? 37
The Pope in the country 43
Pope Ron & the book club 47
Pope Ron’s friend 51
Amuse-bouche: Larry Porker & his friends 63
Jitan 71
Edith van Twist, failed soprano 76
Magnus Bjornbirgir, progressive Viking 81
The handbag 87
Amuse-bouche: Children & their parents 93
Housemates 101
What happened three years later 105
The mathematician 112
Amuse-bouche: Life & its pitfalls 117
Mr. Nariman Sodawaterwalla meets Leila Commissariat on the eighth floor of the Cricket Hotel, Mumbai 125
What happened to Phil Butters in the lift 132
Amuse-bouche: Geoff’s cat, Stanley 137
On the way down 145
Clarence Macphail 148
Amuse-bouche: Life & its further pitfalls 153
In the swimming pool 161
Boarding-school story 169
The cure 174
Amuse-bouche: Caesar & the world of Rome 181
Four dentists go on holiday 189
Harry Brick 194
Amuse-bouche: More cats 199
At the arachnophobia workshop 207
Enlistment 212
Lord Lucan, fugitive 216
Little Piggish 222
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