Corduroy Mansions is the affectionate nickname given to a genteelly crumbling mansion block in London's vibrant Pimlico. This is the home patch of - among others - a lovelorn literary agent, possibly the first ever nasty Liberal Democrat MP and Freddie de la Hay, an urbane terrier trained to be vegetarian and respectful of feline rights.
Loafers, wine merchants, vitamin evangelists, and the occasional psychoanalyst pass each other on the stairs of this delightful metropolitan des res. With his trademark wit, charm and lightness of touch, Alexander McCall Smith introduces a colourful cast of characters, full of the life, laughter and humanity so beloved in his writing.
©2008 Alexander McCall Smith; (P)2009 Hachette Digital
"Like chocolate for the ears."
Aaaaah. Just relax and enjoy this novel. If you have read any of the 44 Scotland Street novels, you will know what to expect plot-wise - an array of characters all with (fairly minor and often amusing) problems. But the best bit for me was Andrew Sachs' narration. Remember the ad for a famous food store that featured a chocolate pudding with melted chocolate oozing out ('This is not just a chocolate pudding...')? Remember how it made you feel (apart from hungry!)? Well, that's the effect Andrew Sachs' voice has. Your muscles relax, the stresses of the day float away. if you want a relaxing, undemanding, amusing listen; download this one.
This is a charming, witty and gentle story and Andrew Sachs reads it superbly.
I have only gone as far as 4 stars because I felt there were some loose ends not quite tied up - I think I know why but it was a just a bit dissatisfying. However, it is only very minor and I would heartily recommend the book and especially this reading.
This is an entertaining and gentle comedy. It bumbles along and is a relaxing listen. It's a bit like watching 'The Waltons' on TV, you can relax as you know everything will be turn out well in the end. It's what I would expect of an Alexander McCall Smith book and is beautifully narrated by Andrew Sachs.
"Scotland Street Re-Located"
I found Corduroy Mansions very enjoyable and funny, as I have read the whole of the Edinburgh set "44 Scotland Street" and the subsequent books. Well drawn characters, including (as in Scotland Street) a very intelligent dog. A mixture of the well established and confident types, mixed with the "threshhold of life" student, will they-won't they affairs and a wonderfully drawn total innocent who drives into a field and thinks the track he made is a crop circle! I hope this will become a series, as you actually begin to care about the characters!
I'd never really been interested in listening to Alexander McCall Smith's Ladies' Detective Agency novels, but had heard his Portuguese Irregular Verbs, which I had enjoyed. I then came across Corduroy Mansions, and found the whole thing immensely comfortable, witty, erudite and thoroughly British in its sense of whimsy. Superbly drawn characters equally superbly brought to life by Andrew Sachs, who is the perfect reader for this warm and charming book, somehow as familiar as a well worn pair of carpet slippers.
"A Lovely Listen"
What a lovely listen - gentle, entertaining but insightful. And another wonderful dog with his patient, trusting, long-suffering human relationships.
"Edinburgh is better"
I love the Scotland Street series, so I was looking forward to something else in the same genre. But somehow I didn't warm to the characters of Corduroy Mansions as much as their Scottish counterparts. It may be that I don't like London life as much as life in a provincial city. Nothing wrong with the style and format, and well read by Andrew Sachs, but not just quite so good for me.
Yes I have read many of his books. I sometimes find the philosophising irritating, especially in the Isolbe Dalhousie novels.
The dreamy Morris Minor driving brother.
It made me smile at times.
People who enjoy the cut and thrust of daily life, the minor niggles that make life irritating.
Love over Scotland. 44 Scotland Street Book 3
Consummate Skill as an actor.
I didn't finish listening to the book because it was just making me cross. Embroiling me in the daily irritations of other people's lives. I particularly found the near dog fight scene and the son's reaction to it extremely distasteful (true to life, I know, but I can read newspapers if I want that sort of experience). I stopped listening at that point.
....I just can not give this any more than two stars. This is just personal preference and I would ask that anyone who is a fan of A.M. Smith consider other 'like minded' reviews. For me it was a dull observational interlaced with poor comedic moments and characters that I would not cross the road to kick. I completely understand the setting, the trials of the middle class and thought the story considered - but my god its dull. Smith is a good writer but I think he needs someone to help him deliver irony and parody as he just isn't up to it. This needed someone with a rapier wit to help the jokes and the dialogue cut and ultimately deliver what could have been a hilarious observation.
I found this a little dull. I kept waiting for something big to happen but eventually realised that it wasn't going to. Maybe that just makes me shallow?
It's well written with some very good descriptive passages and some perceptive observations of human nature but if you're looking for "gripping" or "enthralling" then look elsewhere.
For me, the true measure of a good Audiobook is how slowly I drive to work and back home. This one did nothing for my contribution towards road safety.
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