“The Dog Who Came In From The Cold” by Alexander McCall Smith

The follow up to Corduroy Mansions, this book continues the stories of these Pimlico residents, including an thrilling escapade for Freddie de la Hay.

I love the 44 Scotland Street series, and was excited when I found out Alexander McCall Smith was starting another serialised novel, this time set in London, but using the same framework of the everyday lives of the inhabitants of a house divided into flats. I read the first book, Corduroy Mansions last year, and thought it was good, but didn’t have quite the same spark as the Edinburgh equivalent, but decided I would definitely carry on with the series to see how it progressed. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by this installment. I don’t find the companionship with the characters in this story that I do in the others, and I just don’t seem to connect with any other them.

The serialised format gives short 4-5 page chapters, easily read in a few minutes. This worked well in the previous books, as it kept the interest going for each characters story, as you would have a few chapters on one plot, then switch to another and so on. I always felt myself looking forward to the next bit about each of the people, but in this book, I just didn’t care about any of them to bother about who was coming next.

I sometimes wonder whether some authors write too much, and Alexander McCall Smith is one of those authors. With the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, the Sunday Philosophy Club, the 44 Scotland Street and the Corduroy Mansions books all now long running series, and with at least one book out per series each year, I’m beginning to find too much the same in each book. I gave up on the No.1 Ladies after the first five books, and am giving up on Corduroy Mansions after two, but will continue for the moment with the other series, as I still enjoy them, but I hope these don’t start to disappoint too.

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