Alexander McCall Smith is a storyteller par excellence and the master of the serial novel form. Not content with the runaway success of the 44 Scotland Street novels, he has established a second series, Corduroy Mansions, of which The Dog Who Came in from the Cold is the second volume.
McCall Smith treats his characters as old friends, dropping in for a chat with them and to see what they're up to. On this visit, the residents of Corduroy Mansions, the charmingly crumbly mansion block in London's Pimlico, are as full of stories and news as ever. Barbara Ragg, fearless literary agent, succumbs to romance and the charms of the Scottish Highlands whilst her colleague and rival, Rupert Porter, tracks a mysterious author through the halls of Fortnum and Mason. Dee, vitamin evangelist and retailer, hits upon a miracle cure with her Sudoku remedy, while the loveable Terence Moongrove, exponent of sacred dance, is saved from financial ruin through timely intervention by The Green Man. And Freddie de la Hay, that most urbane and long-suffering Pimlico terrier, is enlisted as a secret agent by MI6 to spy upon suspect Russian businessmen.
McCall Smith creates a vivid and fast-moving world in which minor miracles occur when city-dwellers break the habit of a lifetime and talk to their neighbours. And their dogs.
©2010 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2010 Hachette Digital
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