The Dog Who Came in from the Cold: A Corduroy Mansions Novel - Alexander McCall Smith
The Dog Who Came in From the Cold is not so much a novel than a collection of intersecting stories, each involving the inhabitants of Corduroy Mansions, a London apartment house. The titular dog is Freddie de La Hay, a Pimlico terrier both in breed and residency. After a visit to his master from an old acquaintance, Freddie finds himself reluctantly “spying” for MI6 by way of a bugged dog collar.

Other residents include Caroline, who is contemplating her relationship with quiet, sensitive James. Caroline finds herself consulting psychiatrist Berthea Snark, who is trying to protect her naive brother Terrence from some unscrupulous “friends.” Meanwhile, literary agent Rupert Porter (who should be residing in the Notting Hill flat of his partner, Barbara Ragg, rather than Corduroy Mansions), is dealing with an eccentric client who claims to have interviewed a yeti.

The writing is very stream of consciousness in a good way, with characters musing humorously on topics ranging from Latin conjugations to homeopathic remedies. The overall novel can feel a bit disjointed, as the author often jumps from plot to plot very abruptly, although the unique characters and plotlines make the stories easy to pick up again.

While there may not be a traditional plot, The Dog Who Came in From the Cold makes for an enjoyable light read, full of quirky characters and humorous reflections on life and relationships.

A finished copy was provided through the First Reads program.