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Publisher's Summary

Professor 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 toward 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.

©2011 Alexander McCall Smith (P)2012 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 01-09-13

The Professor!

This is the first time I have read this series about Professor Dr. Monitz-Maria Von Igelfeld and his dachshund. The title got my attention and of course it is written by Alexander McCall Smith, but I think I prefer the other two series I routinely listen to by Smith.
In this story Professor Van Igelfeld discovers Detlev-Amadeus Untenholzer is on a short list to win an award. Of course Igelfeld think the committee mistook Untenholzer for himself and sets off to see if he can get that corrected. He lives in a Bavarian city of Regensburg and some of the story talks place at a resort in the Alps on a student retreat with lectures by Igelfeld. I will not give away what applies to the olive oil as it is unexpected. The story has some humor and per usual for a Smith book an ethical question or delemma. It is short and worth the read for a break from the usual stories. Paul Hecht did a good job narrating the story.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • carmen
  • OFallon, MO, United States
  • 02-25-13

Oh von iglefeld you've done it again

What did you like about this audiobook?

wel I am sure the print version was very nice, and it is a book about a very important author so you must go to the library and check out the hard copy. I am positive though that my review would be much better if read by paul hecht.

How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

Of course the sausage dog played a key roll. But poor Von Iglefeld he still does not know what he did to offend Frau Benz

Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

Well von iglefeld has a distinct personality and of course we like him better than Underholtzen and who wouldn't. However I could hang with the librarians Aunt who sounds like a hoot.

What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

the narrator brings these characters to life in a very funny way. These are really very ordinary people who act extraordinary. doctoral candidates are like high school without the angst.

Do you have any additional comments?

I left the review and came back and different questions were there so my answers may seem odd but if you were an expert in romance philology you would understand.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Conchita
  • Urbana, OH, United States
  • 02-10-13

Must read!!

Would you consider the audio edition of Unusual Uses for Olive Oil to be better than the print version?

Don't know, only listened to it.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Professor Von Igelfeld. He is so complex to everyone else but paradoxically so because he is so simplistic in his personal view of things. By simplistic I mean that he follows certain rules for everything in his life which then cause difficulties in his relationships with others. Even though his actions make your jaw drop sometimes in disbelief, you can't help but connect with and feel for Von Igelfeld.

What does Paul Hecht bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The perfect tone of the Professor's view of things. The way he reads makes it even funnier.

Any additional comments?

This series is one of my absolute favorites. I have listened to the series twice and will definitely listen to it again. There is far too much time between each book. Alexander McCall Smith is a superb writer. I would highly recommend this series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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My favorite McCAll Smith character

The hilarious and idiotic professor of philology, Professor Dr. Mortiz-Maria von Igelfeld, is McCall Smith's best character and the least known. I find much of Smith's writing very dull. But this series about his ridiculously pompous and clueless professor is laugh-out-loud fun! I highly recommend the first couple books in the series. Portuguese Irregular Verbs, The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs, and The Villa of Reduced Circumstances. Sausage Dogs is one of the funniest things I have EVER read. Sadly, this book does not live up to the others and I waited sooooo long for it! Perfectly narrated by Paul Hecht but the story just wasn't as good as in the other books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful little read ...

I really enjoy Alex. McCall, particularly for the sophisticated quality of his writing and his apparent notion that we should make an effort in life to make it better for others, and to not grasp too hard at the apparent unkindnesses we are dealt in life.

The writing quality is very high in that Alex. tells a wonderful story with little understandings between the characters that I really adore.

Paul Hecht the Narrator really is wonderfully able to communicate these underlying meanings to the listener: What the characters say in their words and what they Really mean. I would love a talent for doing that in my own life!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Not McCall Smith's Best

Would you try another book from Alexander McCall Smith and/or Paul Hecht?

Yes!

Would you be willing to try another book from Alexander McCall Smith? Why or why not?

Yes...I'm a big fan, this was just not his most engaging book. There was not a lot of plot.

What does Paul Hecht bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Paul Hecht does a great job with the German accents. I had listened to his previous audiobook recordings in this series, and they are all well done.

Was Unusual Uses for Olive Oil worth the listening time?

Yes, it just wasn't as good as the earlier books in this series or in McCall Smith's other series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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As always, I love it.

The narrator of this series is so wonderful, I just sink in and am whisked away into the ever busy world of the blustery teacher and author Dr.Dr.

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disappointed

was expecting more from this author. was never engaged and situations weren't that entertaining. it felt very repetitive with no direction to the story. definitely not my favorite