This series comprises three books: Corduroy Mansions (2009), The Dog Who Came in from the Cold (2010) and A Conspiracy of Friends (2011). As the three books are all connected, I decided to talk about the three of them together instead of separately.
The series concerns a number of people, all of whom live at Corduroy Mansions, a four-storey building in Pimlico, London. There is also a dog, Freddie de la Hay. Freddie is a pimlico terrier, which is suitable given the location of Corduroy Mansions.
The characters – William and his grown-up son, Eddie, in the top flat; Dee, Jo and Jenny on the first floor, and Mr Wickramsinghe, the unobtrusive accountant, on the ground floor – are all connected, to some degree, with each other but also with other people outside Corduroy Manisons. As the series evolves, all these other people become drawn together through a number of different situations, many of them overlapping.
As with all of Alexander McCall Smith's novels, there is a delightful sense of humour at play here, which makes the books a delight to read. Members of Parliament, MI5 (or is it 6?), new-age followers, fraudsters, eccentric Porsche drivers, people who want to be in love and those who want to be out of love… a delightful mixture of, at times unbelievable, situations. Extremely well-written, the three books do not necessarily expound on life's deeper philosophical intricacies (beyond the boundaries of humour) and are ideal as light reading.
Books like Corduroy Mansions are occasionally important, if only to put life and all its problems into another, lighter, perspective.
I definitely recommend all three books; you will not be disappointed.
Photo of Alexander McCall-Smith from www.telegraph.co.uk