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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great piece of satirical entertainment
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...
Published on 7 Oct 2011 by John M

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good relaxing read
I have always found Alexander McCall Smith an easy but intelligent author to read and I loved the "Two and a half pillars of wisdom". This was a sequel and again easy to read, but I felt it ended rather abruptly (expect a further sequel) and perhaps didn't have the zip of the earlier book. Still a good read.
Published 11 months ago by Peter Mercer


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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great piece of satirical entertainment, 7 Oct 2011
By 
John M "John M" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Unusual Uses For Olive Oil (von Igelfeld Entertainments) (Hardcover)
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Olive Oil?, 3 Jan 2012
By 
Steve (Leeds) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Unusual Uses For Olive Oil (von Igelfeld Entertainments) (Hardcover)
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.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The welcome return of Professor Doctor Doctor Von Igelfeld!, 6 Nov 2011
This review is from: Unusual Uses For Olive Oil (von Igelfeld Entertainments) (Hardcover)
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Von Igelfeld story, 8 April 2013
By 
D. Swift "Diz" (Suffolk, UK) - See all my reviews
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I had been looking forward to hearing more about Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld. The first three books were so funny! I had hoped that I could buy the audiobook read by Hugh Laurie because his rendering of the accents of the various characters is just perfect. That was not to be so I bought the Kindle version and imagined the sounds in my head.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a delightful read, 10 Feb 2013
By 
Cloggie Downunder (Australia) - See all my reviews
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Unusual Uses for Olive Oil is the fourth novel in the 2 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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars another delight from AMS, 28 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Unusual Uses For Olive Oil (von Igelfeld Entertainments) (Hardcover)
This is a welcome sequel to the earlier von Igelfeld series; a long time coming but worth the wait. The characters are pompous but endearing making the novel a quick,pleasant read. You can't really go wrong with AMC.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous book a joy to read, 17 Jan 2012
This review is from: Unusual Uses For Olive Oil (von Igelfeld Entertainments) (Hardcover)
Alexander McCall Smith never disappoints and this latest novel follows the exploits of Von Igelfeld as he seeks to expand his fame as the author of Portugese Irregular Verbs. What a joyful read - I had to ration myself to one chapter a night to make the book last longer. Sheer bliss!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A return to form, 24 Mar 2014
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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 misadventures. Alexander McCall Smith is wonderfully dry as he affectionately subjects his hero to one faux pas after another.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, 28 Jan 2014
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Again I find Alexander McCall Smith has produced a witty and wonderfully observed book. One can easily substitute people we know for his characters and this makes the book so readable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great read, 12 Jan 2014
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classic Alexander McCall Smith. have passed it round my academic friends and they all appreciated the humour. what a great read
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Unusual Uses For Olive Oil (von Igelfeld Entertainments)
Unusual Uses For Olive Oil (von Igelfeld Entertainments) by Alexander McCall Smith (Hardcover - 6 Oct 2011)
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