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A Conspiracy of Friends: A Corduroy Mansions Novel
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A Conspiracy of Friends: A Corduroy Mansions Novel (Corduroy Mansions #3)

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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  1,671 ratings  ·  275 reviews
Alexander McCall Smith returns to Corduroy Mansions, the slightly dilapidated but beloved mansion block in London's hip Pimlico neighbourhood, for this 3rd instalment in his popular series.

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 Parli
...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 12th 2012 by Knopf Canada (first published January 1st 2010)
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Brittany
We read books for so many reasons. We read to educate ourselves. We read to challenge ourselves. We read to explore new ideas and feelings. We read to think thoughts we've never thought before. We read to visit places, people, and times we'd otherwise never be able to. We read to escape the present. We read to bask in the beauty of the written word. And sometimes we just want a good story, the sort you tell over dinner with friends or the sort that makes a comforting bedtime story, no matter wha ...more
Linda
Everytime I read a book by Alexander McCall Smith I wish that I could live among his characters and in his locations! This third installment in the Corduroy Mansions series is no exception. The life events of the characters - while (in most cases) not earth-shattering and described so thoroughly and thoughtfully it is like we are experiencing them ourselves, or at least sitting on the sofa and hearing about them from a friend. Freddy de la Hay has an adventure (again) and both William and his so ...more
Mary
Actually, I did really enjoy this book. It's reliably sharp and funny and human. But I like the Mma Ramotswe mysteries arebetter than the Corduroy Mansions series; they seem deeper and more coherent. In this episode of "Corduroy Mansions", I was interested in all the characters and quite engaged - but I got frustrated in the end, because we didn't see a confrontation I expected to see. I also think the attempt of the literary agency to book the Yeti who's written an autobiography was - well, per ...more
Jon
I hate to admit it, but this serialized string of intertwined plot lines, gently and kindly narrated, is starting to appeal to me. Generally I think McCall Smith writes too much for his own good. I only patiently tolerated the first ones in this series, but I've been listening to the recorded versions and have now begun to feel comfortable with some of the characters. The plots are not as predictable as I had expected, and some of them actually do come to an end. This third volume included the ( ...more
Lucy
Nov 09, 2012 Lucy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
This novel is the latest and third book in the Corduroy series by Alexander McCall Smith and it is outstanding. This whole series is my very favorite of what I've read of his books, which is all but two of the Isabel Dalhousie series and about 1/3 of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series...those series are very wonderful and remarkable in their own rights. Yet, there's just something so incredibly charming about this set, though...maybe because one of the main characters is a quintessentiall ...more
Anna Grace
This book is the third in the series of corduroy mansions, although sometimes spookily similar to other Alexander McCall Smith books. It does address moral issues and causes us to think about the relationships we have in our life. He confirms to some social stereotypes which I found a little disappointing and he also in most/all of his books (even in different series) he has a unfaithful or simply fickle girl although he does sometimes do that with males also I find it sad that he has this view ...more
Babs
Really ended up enjoying this series. I remember finding the first book a bit sad but I enjoyed the second and the last one in this series. I love hot the author seems to realistically see the world through a dogs eyes and mind. The dog is not a big part of the book at all. In fact, he is hardly in this book at all, but when he is, I'm fascinated by his portrayal by the author. Who know what a dog really thinks and feels; but to me, the author's view seems pretty realistic and how I image a dog ...more
Nat
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lori
Freddie de la Hay and his cast of characters, never fail to bring the quirks of mankind to a humorous read. Alexander McCall Smith is amazing in his observations of people. His stories with the story are light hearted while driving home a load of philosophy. I have had the opportunity to hear Mr. McCall Smith read and speak and he is just as wonderful as his characters. Totally fun reading.
Ladiibbug
#3 Corduroy Mansions series

The amusing and entertaining chronicles of the daily lives of the people and dog who live in this apartment building in London continue.

Literary agency co-partners Barbara and Rupert continue their maneuvering over who will gain access to the Yeti's autobiography. Hugh makes a startling confession to his beloved Barbara. Caroline's "maybe/maybe not" romance with James sees a surprising development. Shockingly, Freddie de la Hay (the dog) goes missing, and he cannot be
...more
Ben Chenoweth
An online novel, with installments released every weekday, that just finished on Friday. It was actually sort of fun to be unable to skip ahead - you had to wait and see what would happen. There were some interesting twists in this one, and some memorable scenes (like the one involving a magnet!) A gentle, enjoyable read!
Mary
I love how McCall Smith gently causes you to think about philosophical, moral, and ethical questions in the context of the everyday lives or ordinary characters. Don't like the Corduroy Mansions series as much as the Scotland Street series, but I'll never turn down one of his stories set in GB.
Sharla
I really like Alexander McCall Smith's books and this series is one of my favorites. That said, I thought this book was a bit repetitive in many ways. Still, I enjoyed the usual gentle wit and subtle humor. Would like to see more of Freddie and wish William would learn to hang onto him!
Rrshively
I enjoy the usually low-key writings of McCall Smith. This book, however, does get a little more tense as a character is forced into being a gigolo. It is always amusing to read the thoughts of the dog, Freddy de la Hay, as written by the author, especially since Freddie gets lost. Then there are the philosophical discussion and thoughts of the characters! This book, however, leaves some of the residents of Corduroy Mansions and some of their friends and neighbors without some of their issues r ...more
Jessie
As always with Corduroy Mansions & 44 Scotland Street, a total delight and a balm to the soul.
Diane Mooney
3rd novel in the Corduroy Mansions series and as much as I polished it off quite quickly there was a lot of it which frustrated me. I appreciate it's hard to satisfy what every reader wants, but there was certain parts of the story when I felt I could jump forward several pages doing nothing more than giving the words the slightest of scans and not missing out on much. Why write such elaborate descriptions of thought and setting when it's the engaging nature of humour character than keeps us tur ...more
Elizabeth
It seems the universe itself is conspiring against the residents of Corduroy Mansions, as they all find themselves struggling with their nearest and dearest. Oedipus Snark’s mother, Berthea, is still at work on her scathing biography of her son—the only loathsome Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament; literary agents Rupert Porter and Barbara Ragg are still battling each other for first crack at the manuscript of Autobiography of a Yeti; fine arts graduate Caroline Jarvis is busy exploring the b ...more
wanderaven
The synopsis for A Conspiracy of Friends explains that the character Barbara is shocked by the revelations of her boyfriend and this confession causes her to question her involvement with him. This is one of the first times in a McCall Smith book that I've actually been offended by a character's thoughts or actions. Wait, that's not true at all. There have been plenty of times I've been properly offended by the actions of a clearly bad guy - as most of McCall Smith's bad guys clearly are from th ...more
Lucy
Nov 09, 2012 Lucy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This novel is the latest and third book in the Corduroy Mansions series by Alexander McCall Smith and it is outstanding. This whole series is my very favorite of what I've read of his books, which is all but two of the Isabel Dalhousie series and 1/3 of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series...those sets are very wonderful and remarkable in their own rights. There's just something so incredibly charming about this set, though...Maybe because one of the main characters is a quintessentially do ...more
Judy
Another charmer from Alexander McCall Smith. In the third of his Corduroy Mansions series, Smith revisits the residents of a small apartment building located in the Pimlico neighborhood of London. This time, each member of the ensemble cast is in the midst of a conflict. For example, Berthea Snarke still dislikes her son, Oedipus, a Liberal Democrat MP and she continues to work on her "hostile biography" of him. Barbara Ragg is still at odds with her obnoxious business partner. Friendships are d ...more
Graeme Roberts
I admit that I am addicted to Alexander McCall Smith, a sucker for his gentle universe, a place where really bad things happen in the most human ways (view spoiler), but kindness and wisdom prevails. And in the ultimate test of all fiction, I find meaning and learn to live better.

I do have to admit, however, that he seems to be in production mode, throwing the cast of Corduroy cha
...more
Trish Elizabeth
Thought I would buy this as a quick light read which it was. Alexander McCall Smith's style remains true to himself, covering the lives of the occupants of Corduray Mansions including the dog Freddie de la Hay. In fact the dog for me was the most amusing and appealing of them all, having a dog ourselves I could just envision the thoughts in his head conjured up by the mere expression on his doggie face.

He flits between characters and places keeping you on your toes, or is it because that's the
...more
Joyce
A Conspiracy of Friends by Alexander McCall Smith is the 2nd book in his Corduroy Mansions. I was fortunate to have just read the preceding book in the series and having that background greatly added to my enjoyment of this book. Smith makes frequent use of understated dry humor in his writing, and I love the way he gently pokes fun at people through that dry humor. There were many times while reading the book that I found myself chuckling over his descriptions of people's quirks and foibles. On ...more
Anne
Aug 01, 2012 Anne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: humor
Storyteller Alexander McCall Smith takes readers back for a third visit with the denizens of Corduroy Mansions, a slightly shabby, but cozy, apartment building in London. If you like the author's 'No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency' series, you will enjoy the gentle humor and ruminative narrative style of this series also. The friends and apartment mates in these tales find and lose love, advise and ignore adult children, lose and take in stray dogs, all the while thinking about these everyday occurr ...more
Paul
This is the first book that I encountered in the Corduroy Mansions series, and didn't feel like I'd missed out on too much (even though I'll go back now), even when I finished the listening. Oedipus Snark is the most amusing character because he is so disliked (even by his mother) and has such an unexpected and hilarious end-of-the-story transformation; terrier Freddie de la Hay is a very attentive and skillful dog and one of the more normal characters in the book. A Conspiracy of Friends does n ...more
Pantheon Books
ABOUT THE BOOK: It’s back to Corduroy Mansions—the slightly dilapidated but well-lived-in mansion block in London’s hip Pimlico neighborhood—for the third installment in Alexander McCall Smith’s latest beloved series.

It seems the universe itself is conspiring against the residents of Corduroy Mansions, as they all find themselves struggling with their nearest and dearest. Oedipus Snark’s mother, Berthea, is still at work on her scathing biography of her son—the only loathsome Liberal Democrat Me
...more
Marianne
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 ...more
Trudy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike
After reading McCall-Smith's most recent Isabel Dolhousie story my impression was that he had run out of ideas in that genre - the ethics of everyday living in modern Edinburgh. Well he's found a way out of the Dalhousie dead end. In Conspiracy of Friends he has shifted to London, and introduced about a dozen characters (including a dog) each with a plot line, some intersecting. So he's back in pursuit of the core moral question of "what is the right thing to do". This book is written in the whi ...more
Paula Dembeck
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what ...more
More about Alexander McCall Smith...
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency  (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #1) Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, #2) Morality for Beautiful Girls (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #3) The Kalahari Typing School for Men (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #4) The Full Cupboard of Life (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #5)

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“William’s weekend with his friends, Geoffrey and Maggie, was turning out to be neither restful nor enjoyable. Things could have been worse, of course: there must be weekends during which the hosts’ house burns to the ground, one of the guests murders another, the hostess is arrested in extradition proceedings or the guests are all poisoned by the inclusion of death’s cap mushrooms in the stew. Such weekends must be very difficult indeed, not least because of the wording of the thank-you letters that one would have to write. The disaster, whatever it was, could hardly be ignored, but must be referred to tactfully in the letter, and always set in proper perspective. Thus, in the case of the mushroom poisoning, one would comment on how the other courses of the meal were delicious; in the case of the hostess’s arrest, one would say something comforting about the ability of defence lawyers in the jurisdiction to which she was being extradited—and so on, mutatis mutandis, trying at all times to be as positive as possible.” 1 likes
“How many of us dig our own graves, thought William. We dig them with vigour and determination, unaware of the implications, but with all the conviction of those who do not really know what they are doing, who are impervious to the dangers that others can see so clearly.” 1 likes
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