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Book Name: The Dog Who Came in from the Cold: A Corduroy Mansions Novel

Author: Alexander McCall Smith

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Overall Rating: (4.25/5) View all reviews (total 20 reviews)

Praise for CORDUROY MANSIONS “A new cast of characters to love . . . McCall Smith is a writer of such fond, heartfelt geniality that at the end of this cozy read, fans will be grateful that the series has just begun.”—Entertainment Weekly, “A–” “McCall Smith cooks up a delicious story that seems part Restoration comedy and part Victorian novel, tossed with a dash of mystery and a dollop of satire. Corduroy Mansions is like the cloth of its title—comfortable, easy, homey.”—The Washington Post “[Here is a] wonderful world of realistic characters getting up to real mischief in McCall Smith’s velvety prose and vivid imagination.”—USA Today “Whimsical . . . McCall Smith specializes in subplots that punctuate the book like polka dots, relying on his considerable literary skills to link them into a merry pattern of human events.”—The Washington Times


The Second Entertaining Entry in Corduroy Mansions Series

by Antoinette Klein

The story first begun in CORDUROY MANSIONS continues with all the light-hearted humor and introspective analyzing of the human condition that has made Alexander McCall Smith a much-beloved writer.The author returns us to the now familiar building of London flats and follows its fictional residents as they each search for "home"---that sometimes elusive euphemism for the place and people one feels they truly belong with. The most endearing character of all is Freddie de la Hay, the former bomb-sniffing dog from Heathrow now residing with wine merchant William. More than others, Freddie realizes the importance of home and being where you are happy and with the person who makes you happiest. Unfortunately, Freddie is conscripted into service for the Crown and must shed his blood for England as he takes up with a band of Russian spies. Will Freddie ever know the comfort of Corduroy Mansions again? Will Berthea Snark's comic plot to save the home of her life-challenged brother Terence be successful? Will Rupert's eternal quest for the home he feels he rightfully deserves be realized? Will Caroline convince James to be her lover and not her friend? Will Barbara find happiness with Hugh if it means leaving England? These and many other questions will be answered as the residents of Corduroy Mansions search for love and happiness.There are the inevitable loose ends that readers have come to expect in a series. Will we find out what happened to Hugh in South America? Will Dee's great scheme be revealed as marketing fraud? The story is set to continue and I eagerly anticipate the next installment. My only suggestion to the author would be more Freddie de la Hay and less of Dee and her passionate pronouncements on colonic irrigation.

A Fun Read

by Avid Mystery Reader

I enjoyed the first book in this series, but have to say that this one was better. The things that were brought up and told were simply farcical. I think I must be dense but it took me a while to make the connection about the title of the book and the story. I had forgotten about that old movie, "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold." When I was reading about how crazy MI6 functioned, the tongue-in-cheek nonsense, I laughed and laughed and then it all just came into focus for me.All the lovable characters from the first book are here and their stories just keep evolving. Even if you did not read the first book, Smith does a good job of "filling you in on the most important parts" so you still enjoy the story in this second book in the series. However, I think reading the first one helped me to enjoy this second one better. I really cannot wait for the next installment. I know that Smith became popular with his series about the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency; however, of all of his series I think I am enjoying this one the best. If you want something that will take you away from the seriousness of your everyday world, this book will do it!

A Funny and Fun Read

by Bettie Banks

This is a funny and "laugh out loud" series in the same vein as 44 Scotland Street. It is full of quirky but believable characters and ridiculous situations. Some of the philosophy gets a bit tiresome, but that's OK. I enjoyed the series and recommend it to anyone who wants to laugh and not take things too seriously.Bettie Banks

Cordoroy Mansions series

by Beverly J. Magel "bj"

Along with Isabel Dalhousie & Scotland Street novels by Alexander McCall Smith I enjoy this series with a terrific cast of characters who live in an apt bldg in London (Cordoroy Mansion). They are a quick read with characters who are like neighbors we might have known in our lifetime. When you need a book to curl up and read in front of the fire instead of watching TV McCall-Smith is the author to check out at the library or book store.

The lowest rating I've ever given one of McCall Smith's books

by Bibliophilic "R. Klempner"

This book--the second in a series--is just not fun or funny. The dog Freddie de la Hay, so charming in book 1, is not developed the same way here. The new spy bit is not convincing or thrilling. The James/Caroline story line is completely mishandled. I couldn't finish. So sad.

Smith Administers his Special Brand of Gentle Humor

by Bookreporter

Breaking news, Alexander McCall Smith fans: The master of the novella has broken his own mold --- he's written a spy novel!We were first introduced to our four-legged hero, Freddie de la Hay, in last year's CORDUROY MANSIONS. Adventure seems to go looking for Freddie, a former drug-sniffing Pimlico terrier for the Crown, who has found peaceful retirement with William French, a modestly successful wine merchant in London. William is a widower lamenting his current bachelorhood and contemplating a future that is, at the moment, devoid of female companionship. The few women who have ventured into his life have found him somewhat stuffy or too fussy and have drifted away.When an attractive and vaguely familiar middle-aged woman rings his doorbell, he is delighted and invites her in for tea. She once owned a bookstore near his wine shop when he was still married, and as they renew their acquaintance, she lets it drop that she is now single, out of the book business and working for the government. As the conversation progresses, she lets it slip that she works for MI6, the British equivalent of the CIA; before long, the real reason for her visit comes to light. She tells William, much to his consternation, that he has been under surveillance by MI6 for some time, and it has been decided that he, or rather his dog, Freddie de la Hay, whose reputation for dependability precedes him, would be of valuable service to the Crown. Intrigued, William agrees to meet with her superiors and further discuss this stunning turn of affairs. Freddie, after being inducted into MI6, is fitted with a transmitting radio collar to eavesdrop on some dangerous foreign criminals and finds his life in jeopardy.As in all of Smith's books, there dwells a running cast of characters whose lives intersect in fascinating ways. His encounters with his co-tenants of the condominium complex, their friends and families are informal, but frequently lead to amusing and significant consequences.For instance, Barbara Ragg, a partner in an established London publishing house, was formerly engaged to a now disgraced Member of Parliament whose mother, Berthea Snark, is a friend of William's. Barbara's romance was dashed on the rocks, partly due to Berthea's timely meddling in CORDUROY MANSIONS. Barbara's publishing career now takes an unlikely turn as she pursues a writer who claims to be communicating with a genuine Abominable Snowman he met in the Himalyas.Another member of the ensemble, the common-sense challenged Terence Moongrove, Berthea Snark's brother, is being swindled out of his Queen Ann home by a pair of New Age con artists. Berthea applies her special kind of logic to the situation to once again rescue her brother from disaster. A psychotherapist with a wicked sense of humor, she says that "laughter, so rarely prescribed by any clinician, was surely the most therapeutic thing in the world. And now, she had read, there were studies to prove it --- something the drug companies would not be happy about, since laughter was free, could be administered by anybody, and had no negative side effects."Alexander McCall Smith administers his special brand of gentle humor freely throughout his books in his droll and wise commentaries on the foibles, culture gaps and societal ills of today.--- Reviewed by Roz Shea

Great sequel to a great series

by Brad Teare

The latest book in the Corduroy Mansions series is a delight. We are treated to more antics by Freddie de la Hay in a canine comedy version of James bond told with McCall Smith's usual charming, understated, and humorous style. In addition to the really fun Freddie story line the other characters make a reappearance as well and one of the best was the mother of Oedipus Snark and her gullible brother. All the interweaving stories conclude satisfactorily but leave you wanting to know more about these delightful characters. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.

Alexander McCall Smith Novels

by CGR

This is just as delightful as the rest of the AMS novels. Plus I like it that I have to look up a word on almost every page (even though I'm an English major). I appreciate reading about the characters and personality quirks and relationship-building of a variety of people (I'm also a counseling major). Breath of fresh air after reading (and aborting reading ) so many books (same with films) full of blood and gore and pure evil, prevalent these days.

Fun series

by Cheryl A. Dillard

Likeable interesting characters, easy to read, good series, variations of story interactions, surprise endings. William could be less wishy washy.

Subtle Charm Combined with Two Silly Plots

by Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!"

"Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?" -- Luke 14:34 (NKJV)I was disappointed in this book. Although it contains almost all the same characters as Corduroy Mansions, the brilliance of that book is mostly missing in this gentle series of stories about finding love and overcoming ill-founded feelings. Two of the plot lines sound funny on the surface: the Pimlico terrier Freddie de la Hay being recruited by MI6 and Rupert Porter trying to expose the yeti as a fraud. But there's much less humor than the premises suggest.What the book offers plenty of are conversations and reflections on finding and developing love. If this were the first book in a series, that would be fine. But it's not what those who loved Corduroy Mansions are probably expecting. That was certainly true for me. A little Oedipus Snark would have helped.

lighthearted satirical romp

by Harriet Klausner

In Pimlico, London wine merchant William French is shocked when an old acquaintance Angelica Brockelbank, whom he has not seen in years, arrives at his home Corduroy Mansions. She shocks him further when she explains she no longer manages a bookstore, but instead works for MI6. Her colleague needs a recruit to spy on the Russian spy ring. However, they just want French to escort his terrier, Freddie de la Hay to and from the job.Other residents of Corduroy Mansions are dealing with issues too. New Age gurus believe that the estate of Terence Moongrove is the cosmological center. Literary agent Barbara Ragg is pushing publication of her book Autobiography of a Yeti that she insists was told to her by the title character.The latest Corduroy Mansions satire is a lighthearted romp that lampoons the memoir/biography book publishing, skewers the homeland security espionage agents, and mocks the New Age crowd who has been around long enough to become the Old New Age crowd. While doing this through the foibles of the Corduroy Mansions' residents, Alexander McCall Smith turns Freddie into the hero as he lampoons the personification of animals without using an anthropomorphist trait. Although not as profound as The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, 44 Scotland Street or the Isabel Dalhousie series, nonetheless Mr. Smith provides an engaging slice of life in London.Harriet Klausner

Return to Corduroy Mansions

by Jeanne Tassotto

This is the second in the CORDUROY MANSIONS series of novels featuring the lives and loves of the residents of a slightly shabby Arts & Crafts building in London's Pimlico (not the posh part) and some of those who touch their lives. One of the most prominent of this set of adventures centers on Freddie de la Hay, the Pimlico terrier who shares the top flat in the Mansion with his current human, William French, the wine merchant who had acquired Freddie as a means to remove William's son Eddie from the flat (see CORDUROY MANSIONS). William quickly discovered that Freddie was a much more agreeable companion than Eddie, or even than William's lady friend, Marcia, so it was with great reluctance that William agreed to loan his companion to MI6. Freddie's time as a spy was not without danger, even to the point of requiring a daring rescue mission to save him. And speaking of rescue missions, Berthea Snark has found herself once again needing to come to the aid of her baby brother, Terrence Moongrove, who has managed to get himself in yet another pickle - even though he is blissfully unaware of it. And of course these are not the only adventures that the delightful characters we met in CORDUROY MANSIONS are having.This series of charming vignettes in the lives of the residents of the mansion and their friends is slightly more far fetched than the debut novel, the humor and situations a bit more farcical than poignant, but still a lovely, sweet read that will keep the reader turning pages to find out what happens next. Those new to the series will need to begin at the beginning, and those who already fans will be delighted to see that some loose ends are tied up in this volume. Happily for everyone there is a third volume, A CONSPIRACY OF FRIENDS, that is ready to pick up the tales.


by Katie Prestwich

I really like the characters and situations in this book. Like the other Alexander Mccall Smith series that I have read, (except Isabel Dalhousie, who I do not like at all) these characters continue to grow on me as the series progresses. I can't wait to read the next one.

Light but lively - discombobulated spies

by LAMott

Enjoyed this wacky book. I always share them with my mom and she liked the dog - he makes it all worthwhile.

love it

by Mindy O "glitter and pets"

I really enjoy the characters and the story as I do with many of this author's work. The only problem is not with this book, but with the newest addition to this series because it has gotten so expensive that I have to wait till the price drops. It seems to me that kindle books have gotten more expensive since I got my kindle a couple years back (except for the bargain books).

The Dog who came in from the Cold

by Nancy S.

I read three books in this series. I liked them very much. Light reading, with a different kind of humor. English humor is a little drierthan U.S. humor, but I liked the characters and loved the dog.

Corduroy Mansions Series wonderful

by Patricia

I love Alexander McCall Smith, so I am always ready for any of his series. This one is one of my favorites. His characters are not perfect, but they will do (what I mean is that his characters are flawed on purpose) but the little dog is not. So there we go. buy it and love it. In fact, make sure you get the series up to date.

More gentle fun with Freddie de la Hay and company

by Paul Carrier

Freddie de la Hay, the terrier who frolicked through the first novel in Alexander McCall Smith's Corduroy Mansions series, is recruited by the British government to spy on Russians who are stealing trade secrets in "The Dog Who Came in from the Cold."While Freddie's status as a secret agent is a central story line in this second installment, the rest of the cast from "Corduroy Mansions," the first book in the series, is back in this good-natured look at the foibles of several London-based characters (human and canine) whose generally gentle adventures make for a lighthearted read.Caroline, who lives in the same building (the eponymous Corduroy Mansions) as Freddie's owner, the "quinquagenarian" William, is still trying to decipher her relationship with the neurotic, seemingly asexual, James.Dee, the vitamin and supplement peddlar who shares an apartment with Caroline, has a thing for James but later meets a venture capitalist named Richard. Basil, "accountant and High Anglican," is oblivious to the romantic designs of his friend, Gilliam.Berthea, a psychiatrist working on an unauthorized biography of her despised son, is determined to protect her daffy brother from a couple of charlatans. And the two partners in the Ragg Porter Literary Agency remain at odds, partly because Rupert cannot believe that Barbara was foolish enough to land a book contract for an American who claims to be writing the biography of an abominable snowman.If this sounds a bit like a soap opera put to paper, I suppose it is, but without the violence, venom and earnestness of that genre. McCall Smith pulls off his cozy tale with such charm and good humor that "The Dog Who Came in from the Cold" offers a quick and pleasant peek into the lives of characters who seem like old friends.One of the most interesting of these, of course, is the "obliging and urbane" Freddie, who views the goings-on around him from an engagingly canine perspective. Freddie is not one of those cynical, wisecracking dogs that are popular in comic fiction these days. He's a dog's dog, who thinks and acts accordingly. Equipped with a heavy collar containing a transmitter, for example, Freddie "felt a bit strange," but he recognized that the selection of such things as collars and leashes "was the domain of the humans in whose shadow he led his life."Readers "do find refuge in the works," McCall Smith told The Telegraph, a British newspaper, in 2010. "We get a very large and very moving postbag every day: people say that these characters in the books are helping them through life. That's not the reason why I write, but it's in my mind as I write."As with the original novel in this series, McCall Smith first serialized "The Dog Who Came in from the Cold" in The Telegraph. Both books betray, or maybe advertise, their origins, with short, episodic chapters that generally bounce around from one set of characters to another.In a 2009 story on McCall Smith, The Telegraph explained that "Corduroy Mansions" was shaped in part by "its many thousands of readers, who were invited to send their thoughts, suggestions and queries" to the author as the story progressed. "They responded as if to a slice of real life." McCall Smith continues to write the novels "as you read," The Telegraph told its readers in 2010, and the books "occasionally take your online suggestions into account." The third novel in the series, "A Conspiracy of Friends," ran in The Telegraph last year.The whimsical Corduroy Mansions novels are only the latest entries in McCall Smith's long list of literary projects, which include the far better known Botswana novels in his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. He also is the author of the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series and the 44 Scotland Street series.The latter was first serialized in The Scotsman newspaper, where it unfolded every weekday for six months of the year, over the course of five years.

Good Service

by S. Mehl "WindWalker"

Good job with order, this group always provides very good sservice and A M Smith doesn't let you down! I loved it!


by Stephen T. Hopkins

One reason that I enjoy reading books by Alexander McCall Smith is that I know that when I finish, I will have both a smile and a warm feeling. In The Dog Who Came In From the Cold, Smith brings readers back to Corduroy Mansions and to a familiar dog, Freddie de la Hay. Freddie has caught the attention of MI6, who want to use him to spy on a Russian. The many characters in this novel keep a reader engaged as the simple plot proceeds and resolution takes place. Readers who like tender and warm stories are those most likely to enjoy this and other Smith novels.Rating: Three-star (Recommended)

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