and the first two books in his new series are no exception. I'm talking about Alexander McCall Smith, author of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series, among others. Like Maeve Binchy, he takes a diverse, seemingly unrelated group of characters and weaves their lives together in the most charming way. Several years ago, he apparently wrote a serialized novel in an Edinburgh newspaper about the tenants of an apartment building at 44 Scotland Street. I haven't read those books yet, but Corduroy Mansions follows a similar plot with a group of Londoners living in a neighborhood called Pimlico. The main character, a wine merchant named William French adopts a vegetarian dog with the unlikely name of Freddie de la Hay - it's fun to say, isn't it? Freddie is a retired airport sniffer who is, accordingly to his previous owner, a Pimlico terrier. The story follows both William's fellow tenants at Corduroy Mansions as well as a literary agent, Barbara Ragg, who is considering publishing the autobiography of a yeti; an obnoxious member of Parliament named Oedipus Snark who is heartily detested by his own psychoanalyst mum, Berthea; Berthea's brother Terence Moongrove, a single man given to pondering matters of the metaphysical who nearly electrocutes himself when he tries to charge the battery in his Morris by plugging it directly into the wall; and Marcia the caterer who fancies William and believes that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. In The Dog Who Came in from the Cold, William lends Freddie to MI6 for an important mission and Berthea rescues Terence from those nefarious individuals who would steal his house and his fortune. These books are fun, fast-paced weekend reading - and I can't wait for the next installment.
Now don't you just want this cute man in his kilt to tell you a story?