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The Dog Who Came in from the Cold: A Corduroy Mansions Novel (2) Kindle Edition

95 customer reviews

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Length: 322 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


“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

From the Hardcover edition.


“You cannot beat McCall Smith for subtle musings shot through with insight and wit. His deft characterisation enlivens the inner workings of everyday characters. His work offers a heartening view of a world that often appears heartless.”
—The Telegraph
“A page-turner with many happy endings. Perfect.”
—Daily Express
“A twisting plot line, told in McCall Smith’s usual entertaining style, makes this a great read.”
—Waterstones Book Quarterly
“A great place to visit if you need cheering up.”
—The Scotsman

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 4612 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (June 21, 2011)
  • Publication Date: June 21, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4WN3K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,294 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith was born in what is now Zimbabwe and taught law at the University of Botswana. He is now Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh. He has written more than fifty books, including a number of specialist titles, but is best known for The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which has achieved bestseller status on four continents. In 2004 he was awarded British Book Awards Author of the Year and Booksellers Association Author of the Year. He lives in Scotland, where in his spare time he is a bassoonist in the RTO (Really Terrible Orchestra).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Snowgoose on June 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Alexander McCall Smith is one of those men with whom I'd love to sit down to dinner. Clearly he's an articulate (at least in prose) raconteur; a cultured, well-educated man with a keen eye for the vagaries and foibles of human nature.

I am a rabid fan of his "44 Scotland Street" series with its quirky characters and intensely humorous plot twists but, sadly, I cannot say the same for his new endeavor, the "Corduroy Mansions" series of which "The Dog Who Came In From The Cold" is the second volume. Something of his old stylistic sparkle is missing, and I actually found myself skimming through both books because the plot was dragging and I was not as invested in this cast of characters as I am with the eccentrics of "44."

True, the author has reprised the apartment house setting of "44", but this time he's set his stories in London. Since he himself is a Scot from Edinburgh, the "44" books -- set as they are in his own back yard -- seem the livelier for it. The Londoners are quite unremarkable by comparison.

If you have not read the "44" series, I urge you to do so. It's money better spent than on the "Corduroy Mansions" books, although it grieves me to say it. I, for one, fervently hope Mr. McCall Smith will resurrect the "44" characters, among whom is Bruce the Narcissist. Angus Laurie also has much potential for quirky mis-adventures, along with his ankle-biting dog who far outshines Freddy de la Hay, the title subject of this "Dog Who..." book.

I'd also like to know the reason for the lag in release of Mr. McCall Smith's books in America. We are always a year, at least, behind Britain's releases and we are not allowed to order them through If I'm willing to pay the price and the shipping, I should be able to get the book from Britain. There's some faulty logic at play in this situation.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on June 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By hmf22 on June 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Dog Who Came In from the Cold continues the tale Alexander McCall Smith began in Corduroy Mansions, examining the intertwined lives of several residents of a Pimlico apartment block. William is still looking for love, Caroline is still looking for love (and not quite finding it with James), Dee is looking to make money, Rupert and Gloria are looking to appropriate Barbara's flat, and the yeti has arrived in London, hoping to publish his life's story while avoiding being cornered in Fortnum and Mason's. The most surprising twist is Freddie de la Hay's recruitment by MI6, for the purpose of eavesdropping on a Russian spy ring. The stories are gentle and sweet but profoundly moving in their very ordinariness--when Martin stakes his tiny life savings on a speculative business venture, when Caroline learns something unexpected about her mother, when Freddie is at last reunited with William. A theme of resilience, of the importance of rising to unexpected circumstances, runs through the work. McCall Smith hints, in the final chapters, that there is more to come.
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