- Publisher: Abacus
- Format: Paperback | 304 pages
- Dimensions: 126mm x 196mm x 22mm | 200g
- Publication date: 4 December 2012
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0349123853
- ISBN 13: 9780349123851
- Sales rank: 2,161
Corduroy Mansions, Pimlico is an oasis of old-fashioned civilisation, its inhabitants considerate and peace-loving. But beneath the polite exterior seismic change is stirring. Barbara Ragg makes an eye-popping discovery about her stolid Scottish suitor's past, while Oedipus Snark - newly appointed and tirelessly self-interested Government Minister - has a close encounter in Switzerland that leaves him a new man all together. Then plucky canine Freddie de la Hay goes missing, and his owner, widower William French, is so shaken by an unexpected declaration of love that he seriously considers making a disappearance himself. Goodhearted, well-intentioned but often to be found barking up the wrong tree, the residents of Corduroy Mansions remain a thoroughly entertaining example to us all.
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Following a distinguished career as a Professor of Medical Law, Alexander McCall Smith has turned to writing full-time. He is the author of over sixty books on a wide array of subjects, and his books have been translated into forty-five languages. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife.
By Marianne Vincent 25 Sep 2012
A Conspiracy of Friends is the third novel in the Corduroy Mansions series by Alexander McCall Smith. In this instalment: psychotherapist Berthea Snark considers the possibility that she is not really the mother of the least-liked Lib Dem MP, Oedipus Snark; wine merchant William French ponders the purpose of his life; William's unqualified and unemployed son, Eddie, engages a designer to turn his fiancée, Merle's house on St Lucia into a hotel; literary agent, Barbara Ragg retracts a promise to her business partner, Rupert Porter, to sell him her flat, and takes a step to expose the corrupt behaviour of her ex-lover, Oedipus; fine arts graduate Caroline Jarvis meets a childhood acquaintance, is caught in a lie, loses a friend and lands in hospital; Berthea's brother, Terence Moongrove becomes a racing-car driver; Barbara's fiancé Hugh makes a confession about his past; Rupert Porter plays dirty; Oedipus's visit to the Big Hadron Collider has unexpected consequences; Maggie, the wife of William's oldest friend, makes an unexpected declaration that leaves him feeling most uncomfortable; ex-customs sniffer dog Freddie de la Hay becomes a photographic model and disappears during a weekend visit to the country; someone does something shocking with a magnet; accountant Basil Wickramsinghe plays detective; and Marcia Light helps William out of a sticky situation. McCall-Smith dispenses gentle philosophy through ordinary people in their everyday lives, commenting on such things as: the possibility of friendship between men and women; what sort of promises are not expected to be kept; unexpected declarations of love; taking the advice of others; unfinished business; willed amnesia; human rights and belief in justice; plastic surgery; and the calming qualities of drinking tea. Terence Moongrove's follies are an ongoing source of humour. My favourite quotes are: "A moral dilemma is equally absorbing whether the stakes are the destiny of nations or the happiness of one or two people..." and "...sharks and other agents of Nemesis pay no attention to the claims of moral desert. A selfless campaigner for social justice tastes much the same to a shark as a ruthless exploiter of others..." I am never disappointed by Alexander McCall Smith's writing and would have read this book if for no other reason than to find out in what context William considers Hello! magazine a work of theology. Delightful, as always.