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The Dog Who Came in from the Cold by Alexander McCall Smith

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Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 4 June 2010.

May 2010 Book of the Month.

More stories from the residents of the crumbling apartment block in Pimlico. The second in a great new series from the author of the No1 Ladies Detective Agency.

Corduroy Mansions Series:
1. Corduroy Mansions

2. The Dog Who Came in from the Cold

If you like Alexander McCall Smith you might also like to read books by P. G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie and H. F. R. Keating.


The Dog Who Came in from the Cold by Alexander McCall Smith

The Dog Who Came in from the Cold - utterly enjoyable

The second book in the Corduroy Mansions Series, The Dog Who Came in from the Cold is told in the same intelligent and slightly quirky voice that fans of Alexander McCall Smith have grown to love. Described as a light social commentary by the author, The Dog Who Came in from the Cold is a fun read, a page turner and definitely entertaining.

While the book is part of a series, readers of The Dog Who Came in from the Cold needn't worry if they haven't read the first book. Like the original Corduroy Mansions, The Dog Who Came in from the Cold was first published in serial format and is easily accessible to all readers, whether or not they have prior knowledge of the storylines or characters.

The characters of The Dog Who Came in from the Cold

The story of the Dog Who Came in from the Cold begins by re-introducing us to William French. Readers of the first book will remember him as a middle-aged widower living in a top floor flat of Corduroy Mansions, a somewhat run-down apartment block in the Pimlico area of London.

William is a kind and well-educated man, a wine-merchant by trade and the owner of one Freddie de la Hay, a Pimlico terrier who is described in the title as The Dog Who Came in from the Cold. Of course, as the expert storyteller that he is, Alexander McCall Smith fills the fictional world of The Dog Who Came in from the Cold with a bevy of memorable characters.

These include William's not-too-bright, 28-year-old son, Eddie, and Marcia, a romantic interest of William's in the first book, they're now simply good friends. The Dog Who Came in from the Cold also brings back the characters of Dee and Caroline, two of the lovely young women who live downstairs and the loathsome Oedipus Snark, whose name isn't the only fascinating part of his character. A Liberal Democrat MP, Snark is so despicable that his own mother, Berthea, is slinging the mud in his unauthorised biography.

The Dog Who Came in from the Cold - the plot thickens

For those who know of the 1963 cold war novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (adapted for film in 1965), it won't be a surprise that Alexander McCall Smith's book, The Dog Who Came in from the Cold, includes a bit of espionage. Of course, it's also convenient that Corduroy Mansions is so closely situated to the MI6 headquarters.

So William and Freddie - The Dog Who Came in from the Cold - are recruited to do their part to help queen and country and the rest of the story proceeds with their adventures - sometimes exciting and usually humorous.

Read The Dog Who Came in from the Cold One of the best things about an Alexander McCall Smith book is the author's inclusion of weird and wonderful snippets of trivia that he includes, and The Dog Who Came in From the Cold doesn't fail to deliver. Sometimes these are so incredible that they send readers to investigate for themselves: for instance, did you know that the hedgehog is a symbol of gluttony?

In the end, The Dog Who Came in from the Cold teaches us to enjoy the little things in life and to never underestimate the importance of love - love for a partner, love of friends, love of family and even love of one's country. Because, as the saying goes, those are the things that make life worth living.


'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

About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith was our Guest Editor in July 2011 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.

Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world’s most prolific and most popular authors. His career has been a varied one: for many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the United Kingdom and abroad. Then, after the publication of his highly successful No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, which has sold over twenty-five million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into forty-six languages and become bestsellers through the world. These include the Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in the Scotsman newspaper, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, the von Igelfeld series, and the Corduroy Mansions series, novels which started life as a delightful (but challenging to write) cross-media serial, written on the website of the Telegraph Media Group. This series won two major cross-media awards - Association of Online Publishers Digital Publishing Award 2009 for a Cross Media Project and the New Media Age award. Alexander is also the author of collections of short stories, academic works, and over thirty books for children. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the British Book Awards Author of the Year Award in 2004 and a CBE for service to literature in 2007. He holds honorary doctorates from nine universities in Europe and North America. In March 2011 he received an award from the President of Botswana for his services through literature to that country. Alexander McCall Smith lives in Edinburgh. He is married to a doctor and has two daughters.

Click here to read an exclusive interview with Alexander McCall Smith by Mary Hogarth.

A Lovereading guide to the works of Alexander McCall Smith...

The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency was first published in 1998 and then, suddenly, it took off in America to the extent that no less than11 reprints were required in 2003.

Since then, so prolific has been his output, and so has his popularity soared, that there was a time when the sheer multitude of McCall Smith's books led to confusion as to which book fitted into each of the various series under which he writes. One has hardly been able to keep up with the sheer abundance of books published - we reckon at least thirty in less than a decade.

Now, thankfully, things have settled down and the legions of McCall Smiths avid fans can compartmentalise his new books into the four main series under which they sit - The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency Series, The Isabel Dalhousie Novels, The 44 Scotland Street Series and The Corduroy Mansions Series with a few more on top!

There are constant features across the whole panoply of McCall Smith's output. Wry and witty observations about the day-to-day lives of normal people. An innocence and delight in the human condition. And, always, a twinkle on the eye shared by writer and reader. He is a happy writer and that makes for happy readers.

He is best known for the following 4 series of novels (they are shown below in the order they were published) :-

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Tears of the Giraffe, Morality for Beautiful Girls, The Kalahari Typing School for Men, The Full Cupboard of Life, In the Company of Cheerful Ladies, Blue Shoes and Happiness, The Good Husband of Zebra Drive, The Miracle at Speedy Motors, Tea Time for the Traditionally Built, The Double Comfort Safari Club, The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party, The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection, The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon, The Handsome Man's De Luxe Cafe, The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine, Precious and Grace.

Isabel Dalhousie series: The Sunday Philosophy Club,Friends, Lovers, Chocolate, The Right Attitude to Rain, The Careful Use of Compliments, The Comfort of Saturdays, The Lost Art of Gratitude, The Charming Quirks of Others, The Forgotten Affairs of Youth, The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds, The Novel Habits of Happiness.

44 Scotland Street series: 44 Scotland Street, Espresso Tales, Love Over Scotland, The World According to Bertie, The Unbearable Lightness of Scones, The Importance of Being Seven, Bertie Plays the Blues, Sunshine on Scotland Street, Bertie's Guide to Life and Mothers, The Revolving Door of Life, The Bertie Project, A Time of Love and Tartan.

Corduroy Mansions Series: Corduroy Mansions, The Dog Who Came in from the Cold, A Conspiracy of Friends.

Author Photo © Graham Clark

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Publication date

1st May 2010


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