Corduroy Mansions: Book summary and reviews of Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith

Corduroy Mansions

A Novel

By Alexander McCall Smith

Corduroy Mansions
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2010,
    368 pages.

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Book Summary

Corduroy Mansions is the affectionate nickname given to a genteel, crumbling mansion block in London’s vibrant Pimlico neighborhood, and the home turf of a new cast of captivating, quirky, and altogether McCall-Smithian characters. There’s the middle-aged wine merchant William, who’s trying to convince his reluctant twenty-four-year-old son, Eddie, to leave the nest; and Marcia, the restaurant propriatrix who has her sights set on William. There's also the (justifiably) much-loathed member of Parliament, Oedipus Snark; his mother, Berthea, who’s writing his biography and loathing every minute of him; and his long-suffering girlfriend, Barbara, a literary agent who would like to be his wife (but, then, she'd like to be almost anyone’s wife). There’s the vitamin evangelist, the psychoanalyst, the art student with a puzzling boyfriend, and the Pimlico terrier, Freddie de la Haye, who can fasten his own seat belt and is almost certainly the only avowed vegetarian canine in London.
 
The comings and goings, the face-to-face and behind-the-back meetings and misses, the in and outs of neighborliness in all its unexpected variations—here is a new world for us to enter, filled with all the life, laughter, and humanity that we have come to expect from Alexander McCall Smith.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Smith paints with broader strokes than ... in the Ladies' Detective Agency series, and no one character is especially memorable, but the wry humor he elicits ... will bring smiles to the faces of many readers." - Publishers Weekly

"Wry, witty and wise, it's sure to become another best-selling series in McCall Smith's impressive dossier." - Booklist

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Cloggie Downunder
simply delightful
Corduroy Mansions is the first of the Corduroy Mansions series by Alexander McCall Smith. This novel is along the same style as the 44 Scotland Street series: it was originally published on the Telegraph.co.uk website in daily chapters. The setting here is a run-down block of flats in Pimlico. The residents are William, a wine merchant and his lazy son Eddie; the girls in the first floor flat, Caroline, Jenny, Dee and Jo; and Basil Wickramsinghe. Associated characters are William’s friend, caterer Marcia; Caroline’s friends, fellow student James and photographer Tim Something; Jenny’s boss, MP Oedipus Snark; Oedipus’ girlfriend, publisher Barbara Ragg; Oedipus’ mother, psychologist Berthea and her brother Terence, an enthusiast of Sacred Dance; Barbara Ragg’s partner, Rupert Porter; and, last, but certainly not least, Freddie de la Hay, a Pimlico terrier, retrenched airport sniffer dog and eventual companion to William.
I have read criticism of this book that it is the same as 44 Scotland Street. I don’t agree and unless it was word for word and character for character the same, anything written by Alexander McCall Smith is worth reading. His books are about his characters, their foibles and virtues, and their interactions with each other and the world at large. Their comments about people and situations are what makes McCall Smith’s books such a joy to read. His sharp powers of observation of the human race translate to characters and dialogue that we can all identify with, having had those thoughts ourselves or heard those comments from others. I spend the whole of these novels chuckling or laughing out loud. Can’t wait for the second installment, The Dog Who Came In From The Cold.

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Author Information

Alexander McCall Smith Author Biography

Alexander McCall Smith began the now highly successful 'No 1 Ladies Detective Agency' series in 1996, after being inspired by the sight of a 'traditionally built' Botswanan lady chasing down a chicken for a meal. The first book in the series - 'The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency' was published in the UK in 1998 but didn't arrive in the USA until 2001.

Series Order
1. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
2. Tears of The Giraffe
3. Morality For Beautiful Girls
4. The Kalahari Typing School For Men
5. The Full Cupboard of Life
6. In The Company of Cheerful Ladies
7. Blue Shoes and Happiness
8. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
9. The Miracle at Speedy Motors
10. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
11. The Double Comfort Safari Club
12. The Saturday...

... Full Biography
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