Synopses & Reviews
Welcome to the insane and rarified world of Professor Dr. Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld of the Institute of Romance Philology. Von Igelfeld is engaged in a never-ending quest to win the respect he feels certain he is due — a quest which has the tendency to go hilariously astray.
In Unusual Uses for Olive Oil, von Igelfeld experiences a series of new adventures. First, he finds that his academic rival Detlev-Amadeus Unterholzer has been winning undeserved recognition, a situation that must be addressed. Then von Igelfeld stumbles toward a romance with Frau Benz, a charming widow who owns her very own Schloss and a fleet of handsome cars — that is, until a faux pas lands him on the curb. Later, while on the annual student study retreat in the Alps, von Igelfeld fearlessly plunges 3000 feet into mountaineering history, and turns his survival into the subject of inspirational lectures. Finally, at a dinner party, he is the only kind soul who can aid an unfortunate dachshund whose sticky wheels are in need of lubrication.
Alexander McCall Smith’s Professor von Igelfeld is his most wonderfully maddening, ridiculous, and utterly inspired comic creation.
"Delightfully silly....[von Igelfeld] is a literary Mr. Magoo." The Washington Post
"Filled with comic characters, all academics of a particularly stripe....McCall Smith has the same gift that John Mortimer has in making boring conversations hilarious — the atmosphere in the Institute of Romance Philology’s coffee room is very like the one-upmanship and backbiting in Horace Rumpole’s chambers. Academia can be a hoot, and this series proves it." Booklist
"Professor von Igelfeld is a comic gem....McCall Smith skewers the pomposity of academic pretension with an irresistible, deadpan insouciance." BlogCritics
Professor Dr. Dr. Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, author of the highly regarded Portuguese Irregular Verbs (200 LTD copies sold ) and a pillar of the Institute of Romance Philology in the proud Bavarian city of Regensburg, finds that life is very difficult these days. His academic rival (and owner of a one-legged dachsund) Detlev-Amadeus Unterholzer has been winning undeserved recognition. With help from the matchmaking Ophelia Prinzel, he stumbles towards a romance with Frau Benz, a charming widow who owns her very own Schloss and a fleet of handsome cars. While on the annual student study retreat in the Alps, von Igelfeld fearlessly plunges 3,000 feet into mountaineering history, only to suffer the ignominy of giving inspirational lectures about the experience. And at a dinner party, he is the only kind soul who can aid the aforementioned unfortunate dachshund, whose sticky wheels are in need of lubrication.
About the Author
Alexander McCall Smith is also the author of the No. I Ladies’ Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie series, the 44 Scotland Street series, and the Corduroy Mansions series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh and has served with many national and international organizations concerned with bioethics. He lives in Scotland.