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At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances (Portuguese Irregular Verbs #3)

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  3,271 Ratings  ·  265 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 28th 2004 by Anchor Books (first published 2003)
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Jason Koivu
Nov 22, 2008 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
Shelves: comedy, fiction, humor
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
Dec 22, 2016 Sve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Чудесен е, особено за път. И за разлика от прехваления Бакман пише добре.
Apr 30, 2013 Chris rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Apr 30, 2009 Kitti rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 08, 2016 Wayne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who relish the humour of "the Culture Clash" !!
Recommended to Wayne by: McCall Smith's Other Successes
Shelves: humour, english-tales

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
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?' ...more
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
Nov 20, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 14, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
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.
Robyn Hall
Feb 18, 2017 Robyn Hall rated it it was ok
Recommended to Robyn by: Madeline
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.
Bruce Thomas
Nov 12, 2016 Bruce Thomas rated it it was ok
Only two longer stories of Professor Dr. vol Eglefelt; not quite as humorous and a little more unbelievable.
Paul Waibel
Feb 01, 2017 Paul Waibel rated it it was ok
Not a page turner.
Mar 09, 2017 Jerilyn rated it liked it
Light, humorous, like two episodes of a sit com. In part eins, "On Being Light Blue", Prof. Dr. von Igelfeld escapes petty faculty jealosies at the Academy, only to learn Cambridge is even more ridiculous. In part zwei (have you figured out our protagonist is German?), "At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances", the professor has an adventure in Columbia.
Jan 05, 2015 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy
I read the first book in this series, “Portuguese Irregular Verbs,” found it quite amusing and so wanted to read another in the series. My second foray was “At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances” which I listened to via a CD audio book. This book is good, but I preferred the first in the series.
“At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances” contains two stories loosely tied together by the common thread of the book’s hero, Professor Doctor Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, traveling to another country for sch
Feb 28, 2017 Judy rated it liked it
A case of academic envy, politics, and intrigue goes hysterically wrong!
Praveen Narayanan
Sep 23, 2014 Praveen Narayanan rated it really liked it
Alexander McCall Smith
I would rate all the books from the Prof. von Igelfeld 'Entertainment' series as excellent, although it is only fair that some are more excellent than others. This could be a subjective matter, a sort of multivariate problem with several things coming into the picture. Prof. Dr. McCall Smith (apologies if other titles, honorifics and so forth were omitted, which I will reason away by invoking the ignorance directive) has created a slightly more piquant piece here than usual
Jun 13, 2009 Brenna rated it liked it
Midway through the first of two short-stories in At The Villa of Reduced Circumstances, one might be led to believe that Professor Dr von Igelfeld is a wholly unpleasant man.

“On Being Light Blue” portrays a stoic German professor, taking sabbatical in England, making unspoken judgments of those surrounding him. None of them, he feels, live up to the standards set by man within der faterland. In fact, von Igelfeld comes across as a humourless boor incapable of discerning irony from statement of
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 ...more
May 16, 2011 Skyring rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed it thoroughly, listening to the sometimes incomprehensible, sometimes alarming adventures of the good Professor.

McCall Smith has a delightful way of writing. His gentle humour, his philosophical reflections, above all, his insights into the everyday minor moral dilemmas of ordinary people, are a constant joy. Shakespeare or Austen are worthy comparisons here - he sees to the heart of humanity in all his characters. Even when he does not spell out their motivations and actions, we
Aug 31, 2008 Mark rated it really liked it
Shelves: recentlyread
Gentle but intelligent satire of the academic world. Settings are first the fictional Institute of Romance Philology in Germany, then a fictional college at Cambridge (England), then the villa of the title in Colombia, where Professor Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld has been invited to become an honorary member of the banana republic's elite Academy of Letters. A. McCall Smith's understated wit and clever dialogue make almost credible the both mundane and absurd situations von Igelfeld, author of the ...more
Jun 06, 2016 Joy rated it really liked it
Shelves: around-the-world
This book was read for my 2016 Reading Challenge Around the World in 80 Books

How delightfully quirky! This quick tale of Professor Dr. von Igelfeld’s misadventures around the world is just so fun. As a celebrated professor & author of what I can only imagine is a bestseller entitled Portuguese Irregular Verbs, Professor Dr. von Igelfeld decides one day he’d love to guest lecture at Cambridge in England, having never been before. Cambridge, and England, are nothing like von Igelfeld imagine
Jan 23, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
This third book in the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series is a bit fomulaic, but like McCall Smith's other novels I've read, the formula manages to sustain the reader's interest despite the outcome of the plot being mostly predictable. I also read the three books back-to-back, which could explain why I got a little tired of the structure by the middle of book 3. They might be best read a bit further apart.

The characterization of Professor Dr. von Ingelfeld continues to be spot-on in this book. Fo
Jul 26, 2009 Andrea rated it it was ok
Another fun read - although wholly unbelievable this time around. One particular piece struck me in the book: the Master at Cambridge rises to give a toast to his fellow colleagues - who are often "at odds" - and it is quite startlingly moving.

"There are amongst us still those who would deny to others the right to hold a different understanding of the fundamental issues of our time...we see people of one culture or belief still at odds with their human neighbors who are of a different culture o
Maria Aenlle
Jan 04, 2016 Maria Aenlle rated it liked it
This was a short book divided in two parts. I skipped over most of the first part which focused on the nasty academic intrigue around Professor Dr. von Igelfeld while he is on sabbatical at Cambridge. I focused on the second part of the book which takes place at the Villa of Reduced Circumstances. Here we are confronted with kind of an insane world when Dr. Igelfeld goes to Bogota, Colombia to be honored by someone from a foreign embassy who has actually checked his masterwork, "Portuguese Irreg ...more
May 08, 2012 Donna rated it it was ok
I really enjoyed the first two Precious Ramotswe mysteries by Smith, and of course I am a huge Hugh Laurie fan, so I jumped at the chance to listen to this short series about an eccentric linguistic scholar, Dr. Moritz von Igelfeld.

This is not so much a novel as a series of short stories from the life of said scholar, and some of them were a bit funny, but most were not good enough to hold my interest. I found Igelfeld to be irritating and sanctimonious. Writing this review a year later, it is
Jul 07, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
This third book in the Professor von Igelfeld series is quirky, funny and even silly, but charming in its style and exquisite language. There are two separate short stories in this volume, one set at Cambridge in England and the other in Colombia. In both, Professor von Igelfeld finds himself in ridiculous situations, where his overblown sense of his self-importance prevails. I thought it was not as fresh as the previous two volumes, perhaps because the expansion of the character is limited. The ...more
Feb 25, 2008 Megan rated it liked it
I enjoy most of this author's books, in particular the Numer 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books as well as the Sunday Philosophy Club series. His pace is slow and makes you feel like nothing is happening, but his descriptions of the characters, male or female, are thorough.

The main character in this series is a German professor of Portuguese whose claim to fame is a book he wrote on irregular verbs. He feels this gives him cache amongst his peers and is always internally fighting for respect. This
Ron Davidson
Dec 14, 2013 Ron Davidson rated it liked it
I chose this book because I was looking for a light easy read to clear my head, and to get back to reading, which I haven't been doing much of lately. This book caught my eye on a display where I work, and I've liked all the McCall Smith books I've read before this. I enjoy his books because they offer light, amusing stories, with strange, entertaining characters. This one is the same, but I couldn't get terribly excited about it. I think the novella format failed here -- too many scene changes ...more
Dec 12, 2011 Deb rated it liked it
This is my second book of the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series. I was not disappointed. I experienced this book as an audiobook. The narrator is so fine. His accents and distinct voices add to the enjoyment. Our professor once again lands in such outlandish circumstances, through no fault of his own. How he gets through them with his unique outlook and thoughts made me laugh or smile as I drove listening to this book. McCall Smith's clever and subtle observations are always fresh and keep me li ...more
Apr 08, 2012 Ensiform rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The final Professor Dr von Igelfeld entertainment. This novella has only two chapters. In one, von Igelfeld takes a visiting fellowship at Cambridge, and nearly gets tangled up in academic rivalries and intrigues. In the second, ever more bizarre vignette, he does to get an honorary award in Bogota, gets taken prisoner by guerrillas, helps fight against the army, and is elected president of Columbia. In both, von Igelfeld, who knows and cares nothing of politics even in his own country, fumes ag ...more
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Alexander McCall Smith is the author of the international phenomenon The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the Isabel Dalhousie Series, the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series, and the 44 Scotland Street series. He is professor emeritus of medical law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and has served on many national and international bodies concerned with bioethics. He was born in what ...more
More about Alexander McCall Smith...

Other Books in the Series

Portuguese Irregular Verbs (4 books)
  • Portuguese Irregular Verbs (Portuguese Irregular Verbs, #1)
  • The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs (Portuguese Irregular Verbs, #2)
  • Unusual Uses for Olive Oil (Portuguese Irregular Verbs, #4)

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