Start reading Unusual Uses For Olive Oil: A Von Igelfeld Novel on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Unusual Uses For Olive Oil: A Von Igelfeld Novel (von Igelfeld Entertainments Book 4) [Kindle Edition]

Alexander Mccall Smith
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
Kindle Price: £3.95 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £4.04 (51%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £3.95  
Hardcover --  
Paperback £7.99  
Audio Download, Unabridged £14.85 or Free with 30-day free trial
Audio, CD --  
Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: Up to 70% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.

Book Description

Life is so unfair, and it sends many things to try Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, author of Portuguese Irregular Verbs and pillar of the Institute of Romance Philology in the proud Bavarian city of Regensburg.

There is the undeserved rise of his rival (and owner of a one-legged dachshund), Detlev Amadeus Unterholzer; the interminable ramblings of the librarian, Herr Huber; and the condescension of his colleagues with regard to his unmarried state. But when his friend Ophelia Prinzel takes it upon herself to match-make, and duly produces a cheerful heiress with her own Schloss, it appears that the professor's true worth is about to be recognised.

Maddening, idiotic and hugely entertaining, von Igelfeld is an inspired comic creation.

Product Description


For The 2 Pillars of Wisdom: ** 'The eccentric and egotistical Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld is a hilarious creation ...packed full of wit' DAILY EXPRESS ** 'Portuguese Irregular Verbs, where the author searches for Irish curse words, is reminiscent of Flann O'Brien's "truly Gaelic Gaelic" researcher and is all the better for it' THE HERALD ** 'Witty trilogy of novels ...very amusing' --Mail on Sunday

Book Description

* The hilarious new Von Igelfeld novel - the follow-up to THE 2½ PILLARS OF WISDOM

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 442 KB
  • Print Length: 209 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0349120102
  • Publisher: Abacus (6 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005I4WB5U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #67,695 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Author

Alexander McCall Smith is one of the world's most prolific and most popular authors. His career has been a varied one: for many years he was a professor of Medical Law and worked in universities in the United Kingdom and abroad. Then, after the publication of his highly successful 'No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series, which has sold over twenty million copies, he devoted his time to the writing of fiction and has seen his various series of books translated into over forty-six languages and become bestsellers through the world. These include the Scotland Street novels, first published as a serial novel in The Scotsman, the Isabel Dalhousie novels, the Von Igelfeld series, and the Corduroy Mansions series, novels which started life as a delightful (but challenging to write) cross-media serial, written on the website of the Telegraph Media Group. This series won two major cross-media awards - Association of Online Publishers Digital Publishing Award 2009 for a Cross Media Project and the New Media Age award.

In addition to these series, Alexander writes stand-alone books. 2014 sees publication of three new novels which fall into this area: 'The Forever Girl'; 'Fatty O'Leary's Dinner Party'; and 'Emma' - a reworking of the classic Jane Austen novel. This year there will also be a stunning book on Edinburgh, 'A Work of Beauty: Alexander McCall Smith's Edinburgh'. Earlier stand alone novels include 'La's Orchestra Saves the World' and 'Trains and Lovers: A Hearts Journey'.

Alexander is also the author of collections of short stories, academic works, and over thirty books for children. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the British Book Awards Author of the Year Award in 2004 and a CBE for service to literature in 2007. He holds honorary doctorates from nine universities in Europe and North America. In March of 2011 he received an award from the President of Botswana for his services through literature to that country.
Alexander McCall Smith lives in Edinburgh. He is married to a doctor and has two daughters.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great piece of satirical entertainment 7 Oct. 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
After 'The 21/2 Pillars of Wisdom' I eagerly awaited the next installment in the adventures for Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, which have seemed a long time in coming. In four short adventures the hapless Professor von Igelfeld displays all his characteristic comic pomposity, social ineptitude and lack of self-awareness that enable him to sail blithely through the most cringeworthy situations, in the company of his fellow linguistic academics Professors Unterholzer and Prinzel, and the Institute librarian Herr Huber.

This time he manages to tackle a situation in which he is sure his definitive treatise on Portugese Irregular Verbs has been confused with the lesser work of Unterholzer (the half pillar of wisdom) in the nomination for an academic prize, tries to court the widow Benz, falls down a mountain to great acclaim, delivers another well received after-dinner speech, and has another accident involving Unterholzer's dachshund.

AMS writes with his characteristic mix of subtlety and venom to satirise the self-importance of the arcane academic and the German obsession with titles and formality. Herr Prof. Dr. Dr. von Igelfeld is a truly terrific creation of humourous writing. The only complaint is that at about 200 pages of reasonable large font size printing the reader is left wanting more.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Olive Oil? 3 Jan. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have to agree totally with the excellent detailed reviews already written. Professor Dr. Dr. von Igelfeld is one of McCall Smith's greatest creations, and it has been far too long since his first appearance many years ago. The hapless Professor undergoes yet more hilarious misunderstandings; every encounter with his academic colleagues in Regensburg seems to be burdened with slights, intended or otherwise, and the introduction of Herr Huber, the librarian rather too engrossed with his aunt in her nursing home, made me burst out laughing at times, as did the detailed description of Igelfeld's fall from the very top of the Devil's Needles to surely certain death.

You have to wait until the very end to find out the unusual use for olive oil, but it is worth the wait.

Speaking of which, please AMS, don't leave it so long for this marvellous character to appear in print once more.

Highly recommended for everyone looking for gentle humour of high quality.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Hurrah for the return of Professor Doctor Doctor Von Igelfeld! At the very beginning of his writing career, Alexander McCall Smith published three short books on the wonderful Von Igelfeld, a German philology professor from Regensburg, author of the much acclaimed (in very small circles) "Portuguese Irregular Verbs", and his small group of fellow professors. Despite my loving most of McCall Smith's output ever since I have a particularly soft spot for this series (the first three books were later combined in one volume as "The 2 1/2 Pillars of Wisdom"). Von Igelfeld, a single man in his late 40's, lives in a world entirely within the confines of acadaemia. His views on everything are coloured by this and it is wonderful watching him struggling on his forays out into the real world. Just as funny are his battles for recognition and supremacy with fellow professors (Prinzel and Unterholzer) and the splendid jealousies that exist beteeen them. Von Igelfeld has no sense of humour, which makes him highly amusing, believes he is superior to nearly everyone, is tremendously naive, deeply sensitive, highly sincere, and cannot understand why his book does not sell more than two or three copies every six months. Despite his haughtiness it is difficult not to warm to such a unique character and I would urge the author not to leave it another ten years before bringing out the next in the series.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a delightful read 10 Feb. 2013
By Cloggie Downunder TOP 500 REVIEWER
Unusual Uses for Olive Oil is the fourth novel in the 2½ Pillars of Wisdom series by Alexander McCall Smith. Once again we enter the rarefied atmosphere of the Institute of Romance Philology to see what the author of Portuguese Irregular Verbs, the always pedantic and often socially inept Professor Dr Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld is getting up to. Although he is not dissatisfied with his life, his crosses to bear are many: Herr Huber, the boring but loquacious Institute librarian; the condescension of his colleagues regards his unmarried state; the undeserved rise of his rival, Unterholzer; rowdy audiences; loud phone conversations on trains. The Professor finds himself dealing with a possible case of nepotism, anticipating marriage, climbing a mountain, engaged as a motivational speaker and repairing a prosthetic wheel. McCall Smith employs the Professor to muse on many subjects: accepting responsibility for one's actions; keeping confidences; gossip columnists; casual dress; birds used in heraldry; defenestration; the appellation of the wives of academics and writing in code. McCall Smith gives us an entertaining tongue-in-cheek look at the world and demonstrates that wearing moth-eaten clothing can have surprising results. Moritz-Maria's faux pas and naiveté make for many laugh-out-loud moments. A delightful read.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars Plant Portuguese tongue in Germanic cheek - 3+ 16 Nov. 2012
By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWER TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This could also be entitled "The Book of Hours of Professor Dr. von Igelfield" for its quirky presentation--by episode--of the clueless but pleasant progress of the protagonist professor. While this series is distinctly flavored by the classic ultra-academic environment of a German university, its inmates and their interactions, it has the familiar cadence, preoccupations and observations of Precious Ramotswe and her Botswanan gang that are the focus of the marvelous "First Lady Detective..." stories. That is no criticism even though there are moments in "Unusual Uses for Olive Oil" that you have to remind yourself what continent the action is taking place in.

"Unusual Uses..." presents five gently witty episodes in the life and adventures of the aforesaid von Igelfield (of hedgehog field). The protagonist is an agreeable enough guy with limited social acumen and polish who misreads most of the exchanges he has with colleagues and others. He contrives to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, but still manages to come out relatively unscathed by virtue of his basic good intentions. A notable exception in this book is his romantic adventure that starts with promise but goes south permanently when he fails to understand what a promising female prospect's last name actually means.

These are amusing small entertainments, with mostly chuckles provided, and maybe one or two guffaws.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Bought as a present
Published 3 months ago by Odin
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very good many thanks
Published 5 months ago by VC
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing and erudite little work.
The one star reviews of this book are churlish at best. Readers of the silly Ladies Detective Agency might not like Unusual Uses for Olive Oil because it is of different style and... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Justice Peace
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I like these stories, he's a dry old stick but some of us are too.
Published 6 months ago by Roger Watson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 7 months ago by oapdollybird
5.0 out of 5 stars Heroic Hedgehog rides again
Only the Prof can provide such delicious embarrassment. Perhaps not quite as side-splitting as his visit to the US and the sausage dog conference but pretty close.
Published 7 months ago by PG
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good
Published 7 months ago by g.balfour
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious book!
Hilarious. Alexander McCall Smith gets academia, linguists, professors and German culture spot-on. I laughed out loud several times.
Published 7 months ago by Lucy L. Blaney
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Arrived in good order - what more could I want?
Published 8 months ago by Mr. L. Osbourne
5.0 out of 5 stars A return to form
I've been waiting for another von Igelfeld Entertainment for ages, and I wasn't disappointed. The blundering, awkward scholar of Romance philology is back in a new series of... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Kristin
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category