Pantheon Books, Hardcover, 9780307379085, 353pp.
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
CORDUROY MANSIONS - Book 1
In the Corduroy Mansions series of novels, set in London's hip Pimlico neighborhood, we meet a cast of charming eccentrics, including perhaps the world's most clever terrier, who make their home in a handsome, though slightly dilapidated, apartment block.
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 captivating collection of 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 boutique caterer 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 hating every minute of it; 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 Freddie de la Hay, the Pimlico terrier who insists on wearing a seat belt and is almost certainly the only avowed vegetarian canine in London.
Filled with the ins and outs of neighborliness in all its unexpected variations, "Corduroy Mansions" showcases the life, laughter and humanity that have become the hallmarks of Alexander McCall Smith's work.
"[McCall Smith] returns with a new cast of characters to love . . . fans will be grateful that the series has just begun. A-"
"Filled with charming eccentrics . . . McCall Smith, a master of weaving the many strands of his complex stories together, does so here with supreme virtuosity."
—The Washington Post
The indefatigable Scotsman's latest exercise in grace and good manners . . . McCall Smith is the P.G. Wodehouse of our time, and we should be grateful for his prolificacy."
"As ever, McCall Smith is droll, philosophical, full of original insights, and above all, entertaining."
Praise from the United Kingdom
“Quirky and original . . . Told with warmth, wit and intelligence, and McCall Smith’s cast of characters are beautifully observed. It’s a page-turner with many happy endings. Perfect.”
“The author’s gentle humor and playful teasing-out of moral dilemmas great and small are there in abundance.”
“[Full] of warmth and wisdom and easy, accomplished writing that begs for a comfy chair.”
—The Times (London)
“The seriousness is always sugar-dusted in McCall Smith’s delight in the ridiculous and his perfectly paced humour.”
—The Daily Telegraph