One note—or idea—that comes to mind when thinking of "No Place to Park" is metafiction. Metafiction is a complicated term. Generally, it refers to writing about writing. It’s when an author uses fiction to make the reader aware that they themselves are reading fiction.
Of course, Alexander McCall Smith’s story centers on a writer of crime fiction. As it so happens, Smith has published a prolific amount of crime fiction. You might be familiar with his No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books (there are at least twenty of them). You could contend that the story is a way for Smith to address some of the issues and concerns of crime-fiction writers and crime-fiction readers.
The story also allows Smith to discuss the ways in which crime stories might be fostered. Remember, George Harris, the main character, gets the idea for a murder mystery about surfing because someone he slightly knew died while surfing a few months ago.
That brings me to another note on Smith’s short story: reality....
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