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

Corduroy Mansions

A Novel

by Alexander McCall Smith

Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Jul 2010
    368 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

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.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

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

The information about Corduroy Mansions shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

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.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

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.

Known to his friends as Sandy, McCall Smith describes the Botswanans as 'genuinely courteous people' He knows Botswana well as he grew up there and also spent several years on the law faculty of the University of Botswana; his volume on the legal system of Botswana (The Criminal Law of Botswana) remains the definitive and in fact, only book on the subject.

In 2004 he published the first ...

... Full Biography
Author Interview
Link to Alexander McCall Smith's Website

Other books by Alexander McCall Smith at BookBrowse

35 more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more novels...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Amber Shadows
    The Amber Shadows
    by Lucy Ribchester
    The Amber Shadows sweeps readers into the realm of World War II-era Britain where Honor "Honey" ...
  • Book Jacket: Midwinter Break
    Midwinter Break
    by Bernard MacLaverty
    Northern Ireland's Bernard MacLaverty is the author of five novels and multiple short story ...
  • Book Jacket: The Ninth Hour
    The Ninth Hour
    by Alice McDermott
    In a pivotal scene in The Ninth Hour, young Sally encounters an increasingly loathsome series of ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

An eye-opening and riveting look at how how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Twelve-Mile Straight
    by Eleanor Henderson

    An audacious epic set in rural Georgia during the years of the Depression and Prohibition.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Love and Other Consolation Prizes
    by Jamie Ford

    Inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If the Creek Don't Rise

If the Creek Don't Rise

A debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y Can't M A S P O O A S E

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.