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In At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances, Professor Dr. von Igelfeld gets caught up in a nasty case of academic intrigue while on sabbatical at Cambridge. When he returns to Regensburg he is confronted with the thrilling news that someone from a foreign embassy has actually checked his masterwork, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, out of the Institute’s Library. As a result, he In At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances, Professor Dr. von Igelfeld gets caught up in a nasty case of academic intrigue while on sabbatical at Cambridge. When he returns to Regensburg he is confronted with the thrilling news that someone from a foreign embassy has actually checked his masterwork, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, out of the Institute’s Library. As a result, he gets caught up in intrigue of a different sort on a visit to Bogota, Colombia.


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In At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances, Professor Dr. von Igelfeld gets caught up in a nasty case of academic intrigue while on sabbatical at Cambridge. When he returns to Regensburg he is confronted with the thrilling news that someone from a foreign embassy has actually checked his masterwork, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, out of the Institute’s Library. As a result, he In At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances, Professor Dr. von Igelfeld gets caught up in a nasty case of academic intrigue while on sabbatical at Cambridge. When he returns to Regensburg he is confronted with the thrilling news that someone from a foreign embassy has actually checked his masterwork, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, out of the Institute’s Library. As a result, he gets caught up in intrigue of a different sort on a visit to Bogota, Colombia.

30 review for At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Reduced indeed! This short series by Alexander McCall Smith following the missteps of Dr. von Igelfeld, the well-intentioned but misguided professor of romantic philology, slightly degrades from book to book. I loved Portuguese Irregular Verbs, but the following two books weren't up to scratch. They were close in quality, but lacked the witty essence of the first. Now, don't get me I still enjoyed the ass out of this book. However, the problem with At the Villa… is that it goes over the top more Reduced indeed! This short series by Alexander McCall Smith following the missteps of Dr. von Igelfeld, the well-intentioned but misguided professor of romantic philology, slightly degrades from book to book. I loved Portuguese Irregular Verbs, but the following two books weren't up to scratch. They were close in quality, but lacked the witty essence of the first. Now, don't get me I still enjoyed the ass out of this book. However, the problem with At the Villa… is that it goes over the top more than the previous two. The ridiculous situations leaned more towards Three Stooges than Oscar Wilde, more towards Benny Hill than Voltaire. I can get down on some Stooges and Hill gave me giggles a'plenty as a kid, but I expected something more high brow after the tone set by the first book. The setting ranges further afield than its predecessor as well. Von Igelfeld's short sojourn to Cambridge University was nice (it being a personal favorite stop on a UK trip I made), but then he's off to South America and things get unreal. I'm telling you though, I still really enjoyed it! It's got enough subtle and dry humor to entertain those who liked what they read in P.I.V., but generally the delicate stuff gets trampled under foot as Smith goes for the broader laugh. Rating: 3.5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    There's nothing particularly wrong with this book; it's just that there's nothing particularly right with it either. There are two completely unrelated stories about the German professor Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld. In the first, he takes a sabbatical to Cambridge University, where he is completely flummoxed by British customs. He is dragged into a totally silly plot among the other academics that turns into absolutely nothing. In the second, he is quite proud to receive an honor from a university There's nothing particularly wrong with this book; it's just that there's nothing particularly right with it either. There are two completely unrelated stories about the German professor Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld. In the first, he takes a sabbatical to Cambridge University, where he is completely flummoxed by British customs. He is dragged into a totally silly plot among the other academics that turns into absolutely nothing. In the second, he is quite proud to receive an honor from a university in Colombia and travels there only to find himself caught up in the guerilla warfare of South American countries. But really, in the end, it doesn't amount to very much either. It might be described as a cross between Mr. Bean and Woody Allen in Bananas. So clearly I'm not getting something here. I didn't like Von Igelfeld or any of the others. There didn't seem to be a single character who wasn't more of a caricature. There are moments of wry amusement but nothing that would make me want to read more about this character, at least not without alot more plot development.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kitti

    Delightful. I laughed out loud many times throughout the book. This is the continuing story of the professor; this life and times. If there ends up being another book in this series I will definitely be reading it (or listening). This is another one that I totally recommend on audiobook. The reader has just the right balance of gravitas and humor.

  4. 5 out of 5

    June Louise

    "'I cannot tell you how happy I am to be back in Germany. Cambridge is a fine place, but you know the probelem'......'Yes,' said von Igelfeld. 'Everything is so irrational in that country. And the people, quite frankly, are utterly eccentric. You have to analyse their smallest pronouncements to work out what they mean. If it is bad weather they will say things like 'Charming weather we are having!''And yet the weather isn't charming,' said Unterholzer. 'Why then do they say that it's charming?' "'I cannot tell you how happy I am to be back in Germany. Cambridge is a fine place, but you know the probelem'......'Yes,' said von Igelfeld. 'Everything is so irrational in that country. And the people, quite frankly, are utterly eccentric. You have to analyse their smallest pronouncements to work out what they mean. If it is bad weather they will say things like 'Charming weather we are having!''And yet the weather isn't charming,' said Unterholzer. 'Why then do they say that it's charming?' 'Why indeed?' agreed von Igelfeld. 'They often say the direct opposite of what they mean'". Of the trilogy of books in the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, this was the one I liked least, although I still found it entertaining reading. Von Igelfeld goes off to Cambridge for a Sabbatical, and meets some interesting characters during his time there, and learns of plots to topple a Fellow of one of the Cambridge University colleges. Then, on his return home to Germany from his Sabbatical, he is convinced his rival Unterholzer has been using his office...but how can he prove it? Finally, our hero von Igelfeld gets the recognition he so rightly deserves from a University in Colombia, where he not only picks up a Fellowship, but takes an active and heroic part in a Revolution, the consequences of which not even he could have predicted! Loved this trilogy, comic, light-hearted and fun. Well done Mr McCall Smith! "And he realised then that there were more important things to worry about, and that we must love those with whom we live and work, and love them for all their failings, manifest and manifold though they be".

  5. 4 out of 5

    Hákon Gunnarsson

    And so the heroic adventures of professor doctor Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld continues in the third book in the series, much in the same way as the previous two, but perhaps with even more wildly improbable plot, especially in the second part of the book. I never knew professors of philology led such remarkably exciting lives. I had a lot of fun reading it. Laughed a lot. And that is the main point of it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wayne

    I bought this secondhand for a quick, enjoyable and amusing read. It was short for one thing...a mere 120 pages or so. I had never heard of the title, but I had heard of Alexander McCall Smith, admired him from several interviews he had given in Australia, and very much enjoyed his No.1 Ladies Detective Agency and its TV Series. However, (Oh! fatal word!!), I had stopped reading his books after yet another one of his tales set in Edinburgh fell f..l...a..t..! ...very !!! ....for me! I felt buying th I bought this secondhand for a quick, enjoyable and amusing read. It was short for one thing...a mere 120 pages or so. I had never heard of the title, but I had heard of Alexander McCall Smith, admired him from several interviews he had given in Australia, and very much enjoyed his No.1 Ladies Detective Agency and its TV Series. However, (Oh! fatal word!!), I had stopped reading his books after yet another one of his tales set in Edinburgh fell f..l...a..t..! ...very !!! ....for me! I felt buying this book was an act of Faith in just how good a writer McCall Smith CAN be. What I had no idea of was that this volume was the Final Volume of a Trilogy. In fact, all I knew of this book was the Wonderfully Intriguing title. (I must confide that I have grown into the habit of trying to find out as little as I can about a book's contents before I read it...a few general bits that arouse interest, and then I STOP. No MORE info...I know I am hooked, so why keep pursuing what the book will tell you? Let go and enter the book, you have it...so let it unfold itself. As a result My Reading has become MUCH MORE INTERESTING !!) Later, after enjoying the Read VERY MUCH, I learned that the phrase "Portugese Irregular Verbs", which appeared a few times, was also the Title of the First book in a Trilogy...and meant to be satirical. AND that I had just enjoyed Book Three !!!! I also learned later that the characters and story were claimed to be "a delightful result" and "a creation of comic genius." This was to be found on the front flap of the book's cover as was the following..."For in the unnaturally tall form of Professor Doctor Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, we are invited to meet a memorable character whose sublime insouciance is a blend of the cultivated pomposity of Frasier Crane and of Inspecteur Clouseau's hapless gaucherie". I really enjoyed this book...it was as I had hoped a "quick, enjoyable and amusing read" BUT (here we go again !!!) it WASN'T the book referred to on the inside flap of the cover. I DID meet Professor Doctor Moritz-Maria Ogelfeld, but neither Frasier Crane nor Inspecteur Clouseau and their amusing faults had once crossed my mind. Nor had the Professor's "unnaturally TALL form" shared with "his equally TALL and equally ridiculous colleagues"...these also gleaned from the Flap !!! I have a very TALL , congenial next door neighbour and have NEVER found his TALL aspect 'funny' in the least. Nor has it EVER implied that it made him 'ridiculous' !!! An OBVIOUS difference re Crane and Clouseau is that they are VISUALLY funny and this book was ALL print !!! ...with a few illustrations that implied nothing really humorous. But I HAD REALLY ENJOYED IT !!!! which is why I had read it so quickly. For instance there are the Cultural Misunderstandings that occur when the Professor takes a Four Month Special Guest Stay at Cambridge University..."Von Igelfeld stared at the Master.Was this a serious remark to which he was expected to respond? The English were very difficut to read; half the things they said were not meant to be taken seriously, but it was impossible, if you were German, to detect which half this was." This theme of misunderstood language takes up most of the first 60 pages with other amusing titbits. I relished it. It created situations that were intriguing,understandable, posed embarassing situations, caused confusion and tension, even moral dilemmas...and Constant Humour !! And the next 60 or so pages concern "'reading' situations", expecting the unexpected, that things aren't quite what they seem to be on the first encounter. I thoroughly enjoyed it - in all innocence; and because I was NEVER distracted by any preconcieved foreknowledge, which I certainly would have had IF I had read those wretched flaps which as far as I am concerned gave a totally false and very poor review of the book . On Goodreads most reviewers seemed to be very disappointed with this Third "Entertainment" as McCall Smith names his 3 books of the Trilogy. But this was the VERY FIRST I knew about ANY trilogy. I had nothing to compare it to as I read it totally out of a sequence I didn't even know existed. It was a lot of Fun; actually TENSE...and then suddenly amusing in the Second Half. A totally different world as well. I was very pleased with Alexander McCall Smith...whereas most reviewers were disappointed. I'm looking forward to reading the first Two parts of the Trilogy because reviewers said they were even better than the last instalment ...so for me the Trilogy should only get better since I am reading it backwards!!! My Reading Investigations have proved that if you come to a book knowing a certain amount, and so having a preconcieved idea, then the likelihood is that you will actually 'read' the preconcieved idea which probably doesn't even exist, and all because you have read a review ...a poor review. Your mind will create what you have been told to expect. So you will 'SEE' what isn't there because you have been assured it IS there, just as people DON'T see what IS there because they are NOT expecting to see it !!! eg. ever NOT see the Gorilla ambling through the basketball players on court, but you DO on a second showing because you have been informed that a Gorilla IS there?? ( I sure hope it was there because I SAW it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alli

    DNF at page 57. Not my thing, bored to tears.

  8. 4 out of 5

    astaliegurec

    Alexander McCall Smith should be congratulated for getting "At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances" published. Unlike the previous two books where the "story" was fairly pointless, with this book, the "story" reads like an LSD dream. I fully expected Herr Professor Dr von Igelfeld to suddenly awaken and express his thankfulness for still being in Germany. Alas, it was not to be. The story is what the story appears to be. OK. That out the way, on to a bit more detail. Whereas the first book in the Alexander McCall Smith should be congratulated for getting "At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances" published. Unlike the previous two books where the "story" was fairly pointless, with this book, the "story" reads like an LSD dream. I fully expected Herr Professor Dr von Igelfeld to suddenly awaken and express his thankfulness for still being in Germany. Alas, it was not to be. The story is what the story appears to be. OK. That out the way, on to a bit more detail. Whereas the first book in the series contained eight mostly unrelated vignettes (i.e., "chapters"), and the second book five slightly more cohesive "chapters," this book consists of a mere two "chapters" that are entirely unrelated to each other. In the first chapter, Professor Dr von Igelfeld is at Cambridge scratching his head at the behavior and politics of English academia. This is actually the good, fairly rational chapter. In the second chapter, he's in Columbia having pipe dreams or something. It's just crazy stuff (and not in a good way). I have no idea why any publishing house would have accepted such a thing and published it. If the technical writing weren't decent, I'd have rated it at rock bottom. But, I'll be generous and give it a merely Pretty Bad 2 stars out of 5. The books in Alexander McCall Smith's "Professor Dr von Igelfeld" series are: 1. Portuguese Irregular Verbs: A Professor Dr von Igelfeld Entertainment Novel (1) 2. The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs: A Professor Dr von Igelfeld Entertainment Novel (2) 3. At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances: A Professor Dr von Igelfeld Entertainment Novel (3) 4. Unusual Uses for Olive Oil: A Professor Dr von Igelfeld Entertainment Novel (4)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    This was a silly little book, but enjoyable. It continues with the tale of the well-intentioned but slightly goofy Dr Von Ingelfeld, a philology professor and the renowned author (a legend in his own mind, more likely) of the book Portuguese Irregular Verbs. In this installment, he first travels to England on a fellowship, and then to Columbia, where he gets caught up in a mini-revolution. This isn’t Alexander McCall Smith’s best work, but it was cute.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    I really really enjoyed all these books--fun, made you laugh, and quick reads. I like Alexander McCall Smith because he has a way of writing (convincingly) from the point of view of people from either Germany, as in this book, to Botswana to Scotland. He's brilliant. Although as Taryn says, he does better when writing from a woman's point of view. I really really enjoyed all these books--fun, made you laugh, and quick reads. I like Alexander McCall Smith because he has a way of writing (convincingly) from the point of view of people from either Germany, as in this book, to Botswana to Scotland. He's brilliant. Although as Taryn says, he does better when writing from a woman's point of view.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    The audio version was delightful, like all of Alexandre McCall Smith's books. However, this was a little slow until the Professor goes to Columbia. Also, it seems like the characters are beginning to sound more like one another. I could swear I heard Mme Ramotswe and Isobel Dalhoughsie phrases in his speech. Could I be hearing things? Hmmm The audio version was delightful, like all of Alexandre McCall Smith's books. However, this was a little slow until the Professor goes to Columbia. Also, it seems like the characters are beginning to sound more like one another. I could swear I heard Mme Ramotswe and Isobel Dalhoughsie phrases in his speech. Could I be hearing things? Hmmm

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This wasn't my favorite book in the series. It was amusing to think of the ridiculous situations the main character got himself into, and nice to see the perspective it afforded him at the end. I think I had a harder time getting into it because of all the setting changes and it didn't seem very realistic. This wasn't my favorite book in the series. It was amusing to think of the ridiculous situations the main character got himself into, and nice to see the perspective it afforded him at the end. I think I had a harder time getting into it because of all the setting changes and it didn't seem very realistic.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Thomas

    Only two longer stories of Professor Dr. vol Eglefelt; not quite as humorous and a little more unbelievable.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul Calhoun

    Read by Hugh Laurie (highly recommended version). (view spoiler)[ Another brilliant installment of the hilarious PIV series. Von Igelfeld finds out he has colleagues having a good time on sabbatical and so - naturally - he has to do so as well. The Cambridge professoriat are at least as schismatic as the Eastern Orthodox priests he assisted in the previous book, and he finds himself embroiled in scholastic politics until he puts his foot down and makes them all apologize. After awhile he realizes Read by Hugh Laurie (highly recommended version). (view spoiler)[ Another brilliant installment of the hilarious PIV series. Von Igelfeld finds out he has colleagues having a good time on sabbatical and so - naturally - he has to do so as well. The Cambridge professoriat are at least as schismatic as the Eastern Orthodox priests he assisted in the previous book, and he finds himself embroiled in scholastic politics until he puts his foot down and makes them all apologize. After awhile he realizes there's nothing useful for him to do, the English have no discernible sense of humor, and nothing about the place makes any sense, so he goes back to Germany to complain. Par for course for parochial professor. Germany is, after all, the only civilized place in the world. Everybody knows that. Then he finds out that he's up for a big award in Bogota. At last! A chance to finally show up Prinzel by taking his rightful title as Herr Professor Doktor Doktor (honoris causa) Von Igelfeld, and show Unterholzer by finally getting a first class award. This, incidentally, after von Igelfeld gives them both a taste of his dominance by taking the good chair at morning coffee! It's his birthday, after all. For reasons never entirely explained (but hilariously), everyone in Columbia wants to be sponsored to be members of the academy and now that von Igelfeld is a member himself, he can sponsor them. So he ends up on a trail of sponsors which lead him to the famous center of culture, the Villa of Reduced Circumstances. A revolution, a lucky shot, and a few academic sponsorships later, and von Igelfeld is President. Wisely realizing (after some prodding) that he is a figurehead who will be first against the wall in the next revolution, he books a State visit to Germany, grants both Prinzel and Unterholzer First Class awards, and then resigns in favor of returning to the Institute of Romance Philology. The rift between him and the other two is healed by his generosity (Unterholzer no doubt expected and deserved a Third Class award), he has his titles, and everyone in Columbia is an honorary Fellow. Happy endings for all. (hide spoiler)] Except for the Sausage Dog, who isn't holy anymore. But you can't help everyone.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kibble

    The writing style is very pleasant but it didn't quite work as satire. It was either too crude or too subtle - and I think more likely the first. I found the book very easy to read - I raced along waiting for something to happen, and for most of the book nothing did happen. The satire of Cambridge didn't really hit its target, and that's hardly because the subject matter wasn't ripe for something a little more pointed. Eventually a lot of things happened very fast - but they were so surreal that The writing style is very pleasant but it didn't quite work as satire. It was either too crude or too subtle - and I think more likely the first. I found the book very easy to read - I raced along waiting for something to happen, and for most of the book nothing did happen. The satire of Cambridge didn't really hit its target, and that's hardly because the subject matter wasn't ripe for something a little more pointed. Eventually a lot of things happened very fast - but they were so surreal that they didn't really engage me. I wasn't sure if the Columbian adventure was meant to be a satire about naive, pedantic German academics or 'unstable' South American countries or both - either way I didn't think it worked - unless I didn't get the joke. The description of Columbia was particularly ridiculous. Perhaps this was meant to be a joke about the narrator's ignorance - but if so, there was no real device to show that his account was mistaken. Instead the books appears to engage in stereotypes rather than satire. I was disappointed because McCall Smith has a very natural writing style and I think that the main character had potential, if the story itself had been a bit more interesting or incisive.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carol Bakker

    Professor Dr von Igelfeld is growing on me. However, as with P.G. Wodehouse's wit, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series should probably not be ingested 1-2-3, as I did. If I had spaced it out, I'd likely give it four stars. McCall Smith pokes fun at pompous, petty, self-promoting academics. And if von Igelfeld is anything, he is awk. ward. When Von Igelfeld visits Oxford, he is aghast when the porter tells him there is no bathroom in his room.Von Igelfeld pursed his lips. The situation was clea Professor Dr von Igelfeld is growing on me. However, as with P.G. Wodehouse's wit, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series should probably not be ingested 1-2-3, as I did. If I had spaced it out, I'd likely give it four stars. McCall Smith pokes fun at pompous, petty, self-promoting academics. And if von Igelfeld is anything, he is awk. ward. When Von Igelfeld visits Oxford, he is aghast when the porter tells him there is no bathroom in his room.Von Igelfeld pursed his lips. The situation was clearly intolerable, and the only thing to do would be to arrange with this Professor Waterfield, whoever he was, that he should refrain from using the bathroom during those hours that von Igelfeld might need it.McCall Smith is a hoot with character names. A throwaway detail in one episode is about Dr. Plank (who spells his name 'Haughland'). Or Dr. C.A.D. Wood. And my favorite lengthy name from this book: Señor Gabriel Marcales de Cinco Fermentaciones!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Awwwtrouble

    I love these books. So droll and clever. This third outing isn't as highly rated as the others, and I think that although it's roughly the same length as the others, it's only two longer stories. And those stories take him outside his normal routine entirely, with a visit to Cambridge and an improbable visit to Colombia. All along I've wondered what decade these stories were set in - it was vague enough that it might have been anywhere from the 50s to now, but I thought with lack of any modern r I love these books. So droll and clever. This third outing isn't as highly rated as the others, and I think that although it's roughly the same length as the others, it's only two longer stories. And those stories take him outside his normal routine entirely, with a visit to Cambridge and an improbable visit to Colombia. All along I've wondered what decade these stories were set in - it was vague enough that it might have been anywhere from the 50s to now, but I thought with lack of any modern references it was likely set several decades ago. I was surprised to read a reference to Steven Hawking and A Brief History of Time, placing the professor, with his letters and his correspondence etc squarely in the present. The Columbia story in particular was just too outside the bounds of reality.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eric Stever

    If you like dry humor (almost parched), then this will work for you. This is the third collection of vignettes and short stories that revolve around a preposterous professor of grammar. Best of the three in the series is the first (Portuguese Irregular Verbs), but this one (Villa of Reduced Circumstances) has the best title by far, and some great stories in it as well. I found these stories to be at times too far fetched, but averaged 1.77 chuckles per page, and that's not easy to do. I always e If you like dry humor (almost parched), then this will work for you. This is the third collection of vignettes and short stories that revolve around a preposterous professor of grammar. Best of the three in the series is the first (Portuguese Irregular Verbs), but this one (Villa of Reduced Circumstances) has the best title by far, and some great stories in it as well. I found these stories to be at times too far fetched, but averaged 1.77 chuckles per page, and that's not easy to do. I always enjoy this author's work, especially in the No #1 Ladies Detective Agency (his audiobooks are wonderful). This series is much funnier (but more scattershot) than his detective novels, and great if you're looking for a shorter read. Such a wonderful author!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    Another adventure with Professor Dr. von Igelfeld and his friends at the Institute in Germany. In this story, Professor von Igelfeld travels to Cambridge as a Visiting Professor of Romance Philology where he must share a bathroom with a stranger and discovers that mathematics is not a hard and fast science. After his return to the Institute, von Igelfeld discovers that someone has checked out the copy of Portuguese Irregular Verbs from the Institute's library and he makes a trip to Bogota, Colom Another adventure with Professor Dr. von Igelfeld and his friends at the Institute in Germany. In this story, Professor von Igelfeld travels to Cambridge as a Visiting Professor of Romance Philology where he must share a bathroom with a stranger and discovers that mathematics is not a hard and fast science. After his return to the Institute, von Igelfeld discovers that someone has checked out the copy of Portuguese Irregular Verbs from the Institute's library and he makes a trip to Bogota, Colombia. While there he is unexpectedly caught up in a military takeover and then appointed President of the Republic. All in a day's work when it involves Professor Dr. von Igelfeld.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Lamont

    Oh, how I will miss Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld of the Institute of Romance Philology, particularly his use of Latin phrases (usage that requires me to keep an open google search while reading). And this, such as this! "....but he eventually decided he was a guest at this revolution and it would be rude to complain about the noise which his hosts were making. He would not have hesitated to do so in Germany, but in Colombia one had to make allowances." Worthy of 3.5 stars. Would that o Oh, how I will miss Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld of the Institute of Romance Philology, particularly his use of Latin phrases (usage that requires me to keep an open google search while reading). And this, such as this! "....but he eventually decided he was a guest at this revolution and it would be rude to complain about the noise which his hosts were making. He would not have hesitated to do so in Germany, but in Colombia one had to make allowances." Worthy of 3.5 stars. Would that our Goodreads overlords hear my prayer.....

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    So Von Igelfeld’s misadventures have come to an end. It took me some time to get into these books as I don’t usually read this kind of stuff, preferring to spend my time on epic fantasy. But once I grew accustomed to the episodic style and general lack of plot in favour of comedic happenings, I started to understand what these books were all about. And I laughed, uproariously at times :) Be warned though, these books are not to be taken seriously, they deal in caricature characters and bizarre ha So Von Igelfeld’s misadventures have come to an end. It took me some time to get into these books as I don’t usually read this kind of stuff, preferring to spend my time on epic fantasy. But once I grew accustomed to the episodic style and general lack of plot in favour of comedic happenings, I started to understand what these books were all about. And I laughed, uproariously at times :) Be warned though, these books are not to be taken seriously, they deal in caricature characters and bizarre happenings.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chet Makoski

    Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, of the University of Heidelberg, author of the famous 1,200 page work of Romance philology, “Portuguese Irregular Verbs,” finds himself invited to be a visiting professor at Cambridge University, and then, in a second story, travels with the cultural attaché,Senor Gabriel Marcales de Cinco Fermentaciones, to Bogota, Colombia to receive a Distinguished Corresponding Fellowship of the Colombian Academy of Letters, where he ends up as President of Colombia un Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, of the University of Heidelberg, author of the famous 1,200 page work of Romance philology, “Portuguese Irregular Verbs,” finds himself invited to be a visiting professor at Cambridge University, and then, in a second story, travels with the cultural attaché,Senor Gabriel Marcales de Cinco Fermentaciones, to Bogota, Colombia to receive a Distinguished Corresponding Fellowship of the Colombian Academy of Letters, where he ends up as President of Colombia under a new government he accidentally helps form.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carrie A

    Another fun read Again Alexander McCall Smith writes an intriguing and entertaining novel. It is light reading for the erudite. He has comments in 6 languages without translation, because of course you know these phrases as well the many literary allusions. Like 44 Scotland St series not all characters are likable, but Prof Dr Moritz-Marie von Egelfeld is likable, but narcissistic and bombastic. He criticizes cultural stereotypes, but then uses them in hyperbole to create entertaining characters Another fun read Again Alexander McCall Smith writes an intriguing and entertaining novel. It is light reading for the erudite. He has comments in 6 languages without translation, because of course you know these phrases as well the many literary allusions. Like 44 Scotland St series not all characters are likable, but Prof Dr Moritz-Marie von Egelfeld is likable, but narcissistic and bombastic. He criticizes cultural stereotypes, but then uses them in hyperbole to create entertaining characters (including von Egelfeld) and move the plot quickly along.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Robyn Hall

    Another Alexander McCall Smith audiobook that was loaned to me and recommended. This is the 3rd book of this series and my least favorite. The main character in this story is just plain boring, and the reading was boring. I tried and wanted to like it but thank goodness it was short and then done. I gave it a try because the other 2 had moments of true rediculous funny. But I just couldn't get into his subtle humor this time. Another Alexander McCall Smith audiobook that was loaned to me and recommended. This is the 3rd book of this series and my least favorite. The main character in this story is just plain boring, and the reading was boring. I tried and wanted to like it but thank goodness it was short and then done. I gave it a try because the other 2 had moments of true rediculous funny. But I just couldn't get into his subtle humor this time.

  25. 5 out of 5

    NM Hill

    A different sort of series that Alexander McCall Smith wrote. I enjoyed this others better. But really can't compare each against the other. Because they are so different. I do enjoy his writings and him as an author so whatever he writes will probably given them a gander. Still have a handful of his other books to read since I'm trying to get to each one he has written. If you haven't tried him as an author yet, try but I would say his African ones or Scottish one's would be my first choice. A different sort of series that Alexander McCall Smith wrote. I enjoyed this others better. But really can't compare each against the other. Because they are so different. I do enjoy his writings and him as an author so whatever he writes will probably given them a gander. Still have a handful of his other books to read since I'm trying to get to each one he has written. If you haven't tried him as an author yet, try but I would say his African ones or Scottish one's would be my first choice.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sean Harding

    Third and what I had assumed was the final book in this series (turns out AMS added another book eight years later, but being I am reading his works in order of publication this will be a while away before I get there) This one again not one of my favourite efforts from AMS and the humour is now very broad and slapstick, it almost feels foreign from book one to book three. Some funny moments but the series is pretty average over all. Book four - well one day in the future God willing!

  27. 4 out of 5

    patricia

    Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favorites authors and At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances does not disappoint. A brief history of Von Ingelfeld and his Adventures of being a professor of Cambridge in England and ending up on a visit to Bogata, Columbia to visit their university. He ends up in a coup. It is hilarious situations throughout the book. Very short read of only 117 pages but worth the time it takes. I have read many of his Detective Agency books and enjoyed them all.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mike Barker

    I heard about this somewhere and was expecting...something different than what I got. It was weird. I think it was supposed to be funny and some elements were, after the fact. Nothing was laugh out loud funny to me. I was prepared to like the main character after the first (long) chapter. But the book jumped the shark in the second part. Not sure if I will seek out another.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Not too many authors make me scurry to look up words, but Smith did it again. This time it was panglossian that did me in! This modern picaresque novella really tickled my funny bone. I will continue to read Smith whenever I need a good laugh and a lesson in the complexity of the English language!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Leona

    I didn't find this book anywhere as funny, charming or delightful as the previous two books in this series. I found the Professor overly petty while at Cambridge and the situation in South America was just plain ridiculous. But, I'm not giving up on the Professor. I'm looking forward to #4 in the series. I didn't find this book anywhere as funny, charming or delightful as the previous two books in this series. I found the Professor overly petty while at Cambridge and the situation in South America was just plain ridiculous. But, I'm not giving up on the Professor. I'm looking forward to #4 in the series.

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