These two Alexander McCall Smith novels were originally written as a serialized newspaper column, just like Robert Louis Stephenson used to do. I’ve really enjoyed his light touch and wonderful character development – he floats effortlessly between dozens of characters, with lots of interesting perspectives on life.
In one of Alexander McCall Smith’s short stories, I remember him talking about a poet who wrote under different pseudonyms, each with a different personality. The protagonist stated that in our day, the poet would have been psychoanalyzed as a schizophrenic and his poetry would have been sterilized into diagnostic fodder. Luckily, Smith can get away with displaying multiple personalities in such a masterful way that we can all just indulge.