I have read all the 44 Scotland Street novels, newspaper serials set in Edinburgh, and especially love some of the characters in those books, like Bertie the eternal 6 yr old, or the cameos made by Ian Rankin. But in this series, the setting is London, and that does make a difference. When I read La's Orchestra Saves the World, a stand-alone novel with another English setting, I noted the fact that England doesn't seem to be as powerful in his writings as does Scotland or Botswana. That remains the same in this serial novel, and although the setting is not as much of a character as in his other work, the foibles of the human characters are still amusing and engaging. In this series, some of the themes connected to the characters' occupations are art, wine, and dogs -- the same things that appear in the Edinburgh stories, but here they appear quite differently. It is fascinating to see how these preoccupations take on different lives in this setting. Anyhow, it was an enjoyable read, with, reliably, some ponderings about the wider meaning of life itself. Here is Alexander McCall Smith himself, talking about the citizens of the Corduroy Mansions world in a Telegraph interview. At the Telegraph you can suggest what you think should happen to the characters next, or you may even want to follow the wonderful canine Freddie de la Hay on Twitter. Yes, the dog tweets.
If you enjoy McCall Smith, or want a handy slice of daily reading that is an entertaining 'soap opera' of sorts, try picking up Corduroy Mansions, or catching up online and reading along to The Dog Who Came in from the Cold. Great fun.