The 73rd book I read was the second of the Corduroy Mansions novels, The Dog Who Came in from the Cold, by Alexander McCall Smith. In this book, we again find William French, who has extricated himself from Marcia, although they remain good friends, and his dog Freddie de la Hay. William is still lonely. In the park, he meets an MI6 agent who happens to be looking for a Pimlico terrier for loan in an espionage assignment. William, clearly not thinking through the dangers to Freddie, agrees to loan Freddie to MI6 for their assignment. Freddie is totally confused, of course, as he is passed off to a new mistress and fitted with a radio transmitter collar and then left with a Russian to be watched while the mistress/MI6 agent “visits a sick relative.” Of course, Freddie is found out and taken to another location and must be rescued. Even Eddie, William’s ne’er do well son, is appalled by William’s putting Freddie in danger and shames William into getting Freddie back.
In news of other Corduroy Mansion residents and friends, Caroline and James have broken up when James confesses that he just wants to be friends, “nothing physical.” Caroline and her flatmate Jo have a weekend to sort things out at Caroline’s parents’ home in Cheltenham and Caroline meets a nice young man that she is attracted to.
Barbara Ragg and her fiancé Hugh go off for a 10 day holiday in Scotland to meet Hugh’s parents. Barbara realizes how much Hugh loves Scotland and they decide to spend three weeks of the month in Scotland and then Barbara will spend a week with a friend in London. She will sell her flat in London to Rupert, which will make him very happy since he feels it should belong to him anyway. He is trying to prove that one of Barbara’s author’s is a fraud and we find him chasing about London in search of a yeti.
Meanwhile, Berthea Snark has her own problem with her brother Terance. It seems Terance has met two new-age charlatans who are trying to get him to sign over the house in Cheltenham to them for a spiritual center. Berthea has to go to extraordinary lengths to prevent Terance from being conned by these people.
This Corduroy Mansions volume is a jolly good romp. Seventy-three down, 27 to go.