Saturday, January 15, 2011

Corduroy Mansions

Corduroy Mansions by Alexander McCall Smith

It's no surprise that I enjoyed Corduroy Mansions, the first book in McCall Smith's newest serial novel series, since I so enjoyed 44 Scotland Street (see post) and its sequels.

Corduroy Mansions is quite similar to 44 Scotland Street. It's been touted McCall Smith's "first internet novel" as it's published on The Telegraph's website, but in practice I expect the writing and publication work the same way as 44 Scotland Street did with The Scotsman.

Corduroy Mansions follows the lives of the residents of mansion-turned-apartment building located in the Pimlico area of London as well as some of their associates and associates' associates. One of the book's most memorable characters is Freddie de la Hay, a Pimlico terrier (see Tea Time for AMS for a discussion of the breed). He comes to live with wine merchant William French who owns the top flat of Corduroy Mansions and hopes that Freddie's appearance will encourage his 24-year-old, dog-hating son to finally move out.

My favorite character, though, is Terence Moongrove. His connection to Corduroy Mansions is a bit tenuous: he's the uncle of the vile Oedipus Snark, MP, whose personal assistant, Jenny, shares the middle flat. He's a complete crackpot (following a Bulgarian mystic, he practicing sacred dance as a way to connect with "beings of light" he also drives an ancient Morris Traveller that he's often to absentminded to remember to gas) and his presence adds so much to the novel.

Part of the reason that I like Corduroy Mansions and 44 Scotland Street so much is that McCall Smith's sense of humor really shines in the series (or maybe the humor in these two is just much more in line with my own). I'm not saying that there are not funny moments in his other books, but these series seem to yield many more laugh-out-loud-moments for me.

1 comment:

  1. i agree with you about the laugh-out moments in this book. i was reading it on te bus the other day and had the hardest time trying to stop laughing (i think i was at the part where William is contemplating wearing tags that say" No Longer Infectious" on coat lapels to parties)
    this was a delightful read, i cannot wait to read the rest!