Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Conspiracy of Friends

I just read and loved the third installment in Alexander McCall Smith's Corduroy Mansions series, A Conspiracy of Friends.

Ellen reviewed the first novel in the series when it appeared in 2008 as an online serial in the Telegraph , in audiobook and  text form. The title was later published as a paperback.
Our blogger Ellen wrote:

 'If you're a fan of Alexander McCall Smith's series 44 Scotland Street, take a look at his newest serially published novel, Corduroy Mansions, which is about a group of neighbors in the Pimlico section of London. Unlike 44 Scotland Street, which is first published in the newspaper The Scotsman, Corduroy Mansions is being published a chapter a week on The Telegraph's web site. Not only can you read it online, but you can listen to it on the site as well.'

Getting back to A Conspiracy of Friends, you can read or listen to it on the Telegraph website or you can check it out of the Berkeley Heights Public Library. Whichever way you choose to read it, I hope you find it as rewarding as I did. Here is my review from Goodreads:

'Storyteller Alexander McCall Smith takes readers back for a third visit with the denizens of Corduroy Mansions, a slightly shabby, but cozy, apartment building in London. If you like the author's 'No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency' series, you will enjoy the gentle humor and ruminative narrative style of this series also. The friends and apartment mates in these tales find and lose love, advise and ignore adult children, lose and take in stray dogs, all the while thinking about these everyday occurrences in the meandering manner that fans of the author will enjoy.

When William ponders a personal problem, he thinks:

"So what he should do, he decided, was to take a deep breath and do what the British always do in the face of crisis: put the kettle on for tea. That was what they did when they heard the Spanish Armada was heading their way: they had tea. That was what they did when they realized the Luftwaffe was droning towards them; those pictures of the pilots sitting on the grass in front of their Spitfires - what were they doing? They were drinking tea." (201)

This is how the slightly addlepated characters think; they are loveable, but a bit impractical or indecisive. If decisive, they make wrong decisions. If practical, their family members are not. If clear-eyed, they are waylaid by the wanderings of friends and associates. Best of all, if the characters are mean and unethical, it will turn out all right. The episode of the nasty politician who is zapped by the large hadron collider is one of the funniest examples of a happy accident in this book or any book, really.'

 FYI: The second in the series was The Dog Who Came in from the Cold starring Freddie de la Hay who has further amazing adventures in the third book.

No comments: