A Conspiracy of Friends: A Corduroy Mansions Novel (The Corduroy Mansions Series)

A Conspiracy of Friends: A Corduroy Mansions Novel (The Corduroy Mansions Series)

Alexander McCall Smith

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 0307361861

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

It seems the universe is conspiring against the residents of Corduroy Mansions, as everyone finds themselves struggling with their nearest and dearest. Oedipus Snark is a Member of Parliament so loathsome even his mother can't abide him. As a matter of fact, Berthea Snark is still working on her scathing biography of her son--already 210 pages long, and that just covers his lamentable childhood. Meanwhile, the business rivalry is heating up between literary agents Rupert Porter and Barbara Ragg, still hoping to get the manuscript for Autobiography of a Yeti; fine arts graduate Caroline Jarvis is blurring the fine line between friendship and romance; Eddie French has found a new, wealthy girlfriend and his father, aspiring wine merchant William French, fears that he'll never get his Master of Wine certificate. Most importantly, William's faithful terrier, Freddie de la Hay--perhaps the only dog clever enough to have been recruited by MI6--disappears while on a mystery tour around the Suffolk countryside. Will Freddie find his way back to Pimlico? Is this the end of Corduroy Mansions? Readers will be captivated once again as McCall Smith's genius for storytelling and eye for the quirky details of modern life conspire to produce page after page of witty and entertaining episodes and beautifully observed characters.

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This guy is something special. You don’t get into mags like that without being something special.” They both went to the appointment, which took place in Cosmo Bartonette’s studio off Old Church Street. The designer was in his late thirties, dressed relatively casually but with a studied elegance that seemed entirely right for his profession: neatly pressed chinos, a woven leather belt, a pink check shirt, small gold-rimmed glasses. “Welcome to my studio,” he said as he led them into a sitting

conversation—was the raising of rare-breed pigs. This venture, like many ventures run by passionate enthusiasts, proved highly successful, and also gave great pleasure to Maggie, who approved of British Saddleback pigs and enjoyed smoking hams in the old barn behind their house. “No more change for us,” said Geoffrey. “It’s pigs and more pigs from now on.” The farmhouse was of uncertain age, the safest conclusion, in Geoffrey’s view at least, being that it had “been there for ever.” And, unlike

impulses would fade and he could give more freely. The responsibility, though, wore heavily on her. Bankers and chancellors of the Exchequer were by nature retentive; if she encouraged this man to be something different, then would he be an effective chancellor? What if he became liberal—profligate, even—with the nation’s financial resources? It was intriguing but nowhere near as interesting as the sessions she later had with one of the ministers in the Foreign Office. This man, although not yet

Freddie de la Hay tried to move backwards. This proved every bit as impossible as turning. He paused, and the realisation dawned on him that something was seriously wrong. He closed his eyes and then reopened them, in the hope that he might simply find himself elsewhere. Such rapid and inexplicable transitions could occur; he had once been in a train and had closed his eyes, gone to sleep, and then when he awoke discovered himself in an entirely different place. If such a thing could happen once,

the cutting edge. Most of these works are not ones that anybody would wish to have on a wall in circumstances other than at night or in a darkened room, and the ministers in question are obliged to spend an uncomfortable time averting their eyes from the visual disasters they have favoured. Eventually those paintings are returned to the collection and something more pleasing—even if unfashionable—is put on the wall; or they are inadvertently mistaken for rubbish by the cleaners and sent off to

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