Alexander McCall Smith

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What are the two plots the writer is thinking about writing a book about in "No Place to Park" by Alexander McCall Smith, and how do these plots come together in the crime?

George Harris has two ideas for the plot of his book in "No Place to Park." The first plot is about a murder that looks like a shark attack and the second is about parking tickets. A critic convinces Harris to write about common crimes, but Harris discovers a dead body with a police officer during his research about illegal parking, proving murders are common crimes after all.

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"No Place to Park" by Alexander McCall Smith starts at a writers' panel for crime writers. A critic jokingly suggests that an author ought to write about mundane crimes, such as parking tickets.

The critic argues that murders are predominant in books but rare in real life. Why don't authors...

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"No Place to Park" by Alexander McCall Smith starts at a writers' panel for crime writers. A critic jokingly suggests that an author ought to write about mundane crimes, such as parking tickets.

The critic argues that murders are predominant in books but rare in real life. Why don't authors write about less-gruesome but more-common crimes?

Of course, for George Harris the idea sticks. He starts the process of writing this new book, but in the end witnesses a gruesome murder after all.

Harris has two very different books in mind throughout the story. His original idea is a murder made to look like a shark attack. He has the plot well thought out, including the murder weapon, but hasn't been able to make progress with the novel.

His second idea, crafted after hearing the critic's challenge at the writers' panel, is to write a book about parking tickets. The book would follow the day-to-day life of police officers and explore a secret love affair while also digging into the crimes of illegal parking.

In the end, Harris' parking ticket research leads him directly into a crime scene. He and a police officer approach an illegally parked car. The driver takes off, revealing a body under the car.

I think one of the points this story makes is that a good story can exist anywhere. Authors try to find the extraordinary in everyday life. They write fantastical books about murders and homicides because readers like to read about exciting events that are far from their normal lives.

However, Alexander McCall Smith presents the idea that maybe murder isn't so rare as we might think, and maybe even the most ordinary of situations can lead to an extraordinary event if you're paying attention and looking for the story.

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