Welcome to Corduroy Mansions, Alexander McCall Smith’s not-so smart London address
‘a page-turner with many happy endings. Perfect.’ – Daily Express
Corduroy Mansions is not the most prepossessing of addresses in London. There’s something a bit rumpled about corduroy – not crumpled, as in linen, but rumpled. And yet this rather shabby building conceals a rich life within, with residents whose lives contain more than enough incident to keep them – and us – going.
In the first two volumes – Corduroy Mansions and The Dog who came in from the Cold – both of which originally appeared as serial novels in daily episodes online at the website of the Daily Telegraph and are now available in hardback, paperback, audio and e-book formats – we got to know all the principal residents apart, perhaps, from the slightly mysterious and intriguing Basil Wickramsinghe, but including the egregiously charming Pimlico Terrier, Freddie de la Hay. We saw Caroline and James struggle to find out whether they were destined for one another (probably not); we saw Marcia’s frustration at the romantic gulf still existing between her and William French, and we were introduced to the dreadful Oedipus Snark, the only truly nasty Lib Dem MP on record.
As the author, I enjoyed all these encounters with the characters, but I took particular pleasure in the activities of the somewhat insipid visionary, Terence Moongrove.
Terence lives dangerously: in volume one he has a near death experience when he charges a battery directly from the mains, and in volume two he is still driving the Porsche he bought from Monty Bismarck. In this new volume, we have further mechanical adventures with Terence, when Monty invites him to join him in a syndicate to purchase a vintage racing car. Danger lies ahead.
Other strands developed in this volume include Barbara Ragg’s romance with her wonderful fiancé, Hugh. And her relationship with Rupert Porter, her business partner in the Ragg-Porter Literary Agency. Readers will recall that the Ragg-Porter Agency was representing Errol Greatorex, the author who was transcribing the biography of the Yeti (last seen in Hatchard’s Bookshop in Piccadilly).
We see more of William’s son, Eddie, who is now very much involved in the business ventures of his partner, Merle. Do not expect Nemesis to catch up with him: Eddie is slippery and does rather well throughout the volume. But Justice catches up with people eventually …
(This introduction first appeared on telegraph.co.uk)