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

Sequel to Corduroy Mansions and is basically more of the same. The title refers to the subplot in which Freddie de la Hay gets volunteered to take part in an undercover MI5 operation.

I had the audiobook because the Telegraph was podcasting it daily, and I waited until I'd accumulated the whole lot (and read the first book) before listening to this one.

Again, slips by quite nicely although it does feel a bit like he's on auto-pilot - the quality of prose is good but there wasn't really much in the way of story, and I wasn't struck by psychological insights in the same way as I had been with the first 44 Scotland Street book.

There was one little thing I noticed which took away from the realism of the book. There's a used car dealer (the one that provided the Porsche, which is (usually) pronounced correctly in this reading) who, towards the end of the book, has false teeth which click when he talks. This clicking (which we're told is quite noticeable) turns out to be a useful plot device. But this is the first time you know about the clicking, despite the car dealer being a fairly well established character in the story.

I suppose you would excuse that by saying that the book is being written a chapter at a time and so he can't go back and edit previous sections to make references to the clicking (but the car dealer was in the first book too), but it breaks the illusion of this being a "real" world, if people can suddenly develop characteristics out of nowhere to serve the demands of the plot: I think if David Nobbs had done this, you'd have found that any personal trait which was useful to advance the plot was one you'd already have been familiar with.

Completed : 24-Feb-2010 (audiobook)

[nickoh] [2010 books] [books homepage]