13.10.09

The Telegraph's Online Novel: The Dog who Came in from the Cold by Alexander McCall Smith


I was asked on Friday if I would like to take part in the Telegraph's online book club for Alexander McCall Smith's latest online novel, The Dog who Came in from the Cold. McCall Smith began writing serial novels in newspapers six years ago and this new one is part of his Corduroy Mansions series which proved highly popular with Telegraph readers last year.
I am a massive fan of the author's Ladies No.1 Detective Agency series but I had not read any of Corduroy Mansions and I am very much looking forward to reading the book which is now on its way in the post. However, back to the present! I spent the weekend catching up on The Dog who Came in from the Cold which you can find here. The Telegraph are publishing a chapter a day on-line and we are already on to chapter 19. I have never read a serialisation but I have to say that I think that it is a fantastic idea. The Telegraph gives you the option to read the chapter or you can listen to an audio clip of the lovely Andrew Sachs reading it to you.
Many of you may be completely new to the story like me so I shall try and give you a brief outline. Corduroy Mansions is block of flats in Pimlico and we get to follow the varied lives of its inhabitants.
The first character I met was William French, he is a 51 year old wine merchant. William is a widower who would like nothing more than for his grown-up son Eddie to move out. His companion in life at the moment is Freddie de la Hay, his ever faithful Pimlico Terrier. Freddie is one of my favourite characters so far and even has his own Twitter page that you can follow!
Marcia Light is one of the female tenants of Corduroy Mansions. She has her own catering business and very much has her sights set on William, however he is not interested as she is too much like his mother!
The next characters I came across were Caroline Jarvis and her boyfriend James. She lives with three other women at Corduroy Mansions, including Dee who runs a vitamin health shop. Caroline is working as an assistant to the photographer Tim Something but is extremely preoccupied with her worries over James' strange behaviour. This leads her to speak to Berthea Snark, another resident who happens to be a psychoanalyst- she believes that James has OCD and that Caroline probably has it also.
Barabara Ragg of Corduroy Mansions is a 31 year old literary agent, she is the fiance of the impossibly perfect Hugh and is having problems with her business partner, Rupert, who is deeply resentful of Barbara's Pimlico flat which he believes should rightfully be his due to previously being owned by his father.
The only other character I have met so far is Basil Wickramsinghe, a 44 year old accountant. He is a strict Anglican and very much keeps himself to himself.
The Dog who Came in from the Cold follows these people's lives and I'm sure we shall meet other characters along the way. In terms of plot, there are a few significant points. William has been visited by Angelica Brocklebank who is now working for MI6 and says that the government needs William's help and he must bring Freddie de la Hay to St James' Park which is all very intriguing! Meanwhile there will surely be fireworks with Caroline as James arrived to take her for dinner to find that she had already gone out so he invites Dee out to dinner instead.
I really am enjoying this and I hope that you take a look on the Telegraph's website to see what it's all about. McCall Smith presents every day life interspersed with fantastic characters and intriguing events.

9 comments:

A Good Moroccan said...

I really enjoyed his 'Detective Agency' books set in Botswana.

Dot said...

A Good Moroccan- I really like those books too- I think it's great when you can find a series to enjoy!

savidgereads said...

Hoorah another person joining in, though really I havent been asked to do very much. I blogged about it once and am now awaiting instructions.

Dot said...

Simon- me too! I'm not really sure what to do now! I'm really enjoying it though- I love Freddie de la Hay, reminds me of my dog!

Nicole said...

From what I have read, his books always seem like they are so warm and fun, even though they are usually murder mystery novels. I have a book by him that I have to read. It might be perfect for the readathon.

Dot said...

Nicole- they really are warm and fun, I really enjoy them! If you get chance then check out the on-line serialisation, it's lovely to get a chapter a day!

Cupcakes And Peonies said...

Ooooh this sounds fabulous! The characters sound so interesting!I love Alexander McCall Smith so am intrigued to know more Dot!

Kim said...

AMcCS is great! The No 1 Ladies detective Agency was excellent and I just heard he is working on book 11! I listened to the first book in the series of Corduroy Mansions online narrated by Andrew Sachs and loved it and the first 2 books of the Scotland Street series are also adorable.....so I'll be off to catch up on Freddie's further adventures. I wish I had a dog like him.
Great review, Dot and hope you have fun with the online book club.

Dot said...

Kim- I'm really looking forward to reading the first Corduroy Mansions book when it arrives in the post! I wasn't sure if I would like being able to read only one chapter a day but I really look forward to wondering what is going to happen next!!

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