Smith's diverting second Corduroy Mansions novel (after Corduroy Mansions) focuses mainly on the misadventures of London wine merchant William French. When Angelica Brockelbank, an attractive acquaintance of William's he hasn't seen in years, unexpectedly shows up at his door in Pimlico, he's surprised to learn that, instead of running a bookshop, Angelica now works for Britain's MI6. He's further dumbfounded when an intelligence colleague of Angelica's asks him to eavesdrop on some Russian spies with his Pimlico terrier, Freddie de la Hay. The complications will elicit no more than smiles, though a passage toward the end about a notorious Margaret Thatcher quotation will raise a genuine laugh. Somewhat anemic characters, a silly subplot involving the autobiography of a yeti, and a lack of trenchant observations about human nature may disappoint those expecting the high quality of Smith's No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/09/2011 Release date: 06/01/2011 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.