Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Corduroy Mansions | Alexander McCall Smith

I really enjoy reading McCall Smiths books. He's quite prolific and this one is a stand-alone book, not part of any of his ongoing series. This novel is typical of his style and is a gentle read with very amusing and engaging characters. Not a lot happens but it does so beautifully! 
Corduroy Mansions is a building in Plimlico, London where the occupants of four flats interact over a short period of time. I try and figure out why his books are so good and I think it's because of McCall Smith's ability to get people so right. In their manner and dress and in what they think. It's very funny and the people quirky. 
A father is trying to put pressure on his adult son to move out so begins a dog-sharing arrangement with another London couple. His son is terrified of dogs. Will he move out? The flat downstairs has four young women all absorbed in their different lives and jobs as a colonic irrigationist, an MP's PA, an art student...They get to know the dog and his owner. 
The man in the first floor flat seems to be carrying on some sort of quiet revolution with his Sri Lankan friend. He meets the girls and the dog...It's hard to out line the plot but these interactions all lead the story along and give you good laughs along the way.
Alexander McCall Smith also wrote the "Number one Ladies Detective Agency of Botswana" series which are brilliant. And two other series set in Scotland, where he's from . He was brought up in Botswana and has captured it beautifully. He has also written many great children's books. 

Corduroy Mansions
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