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*****= An all-time favorite
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***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations


***The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs

A Professor Dr von Igelfeld Entertainment

by Alexander McCall Smith

Reviewed February 5, 2005.
Polygon, Edinburgh, 2003.  128 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (MCN F MCC).

My husband bought this book for me about a year ago when he was in Great Britain.  I’m posting the review now that the books are out in America.  Although this is the second book written about Professor Dr von Igelfeld, it’s the first one my husband found for me, and for some reason it’s the only one we’ve been able to get for the library so far.  I enjoyed reading it, and felt I understood all I needed to without having read the first book.

The subtitle:  A Professor Dr von Igelfeld Entertainment expresses well what this book is.  Think of it as an entertainment:  light-hearted, nothing deep, but very amusing.

“Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfed, author of that great triumph of Germanic scholarship, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, had never set foot on American shores.”  He decides to go on the lecture circuit to get to visit America.  Unfortunately, when he arrives in Arkansas, he discovers that he was mistaken for a Professor Martin Igelfold, a Professor of Veterinary Medicine and the world’s foremost authority on the sausage dog.  Professor von Igelfeld’s attempt to fake his way through the lecture provides the entertainment in the first chapter, giving a taste of the silliness to come in the rest of the book.

My favorite chapter is where Professor von Igelfeld gives a terribly boring lecture series about Portuguese Irregular Verbs on a cruise ship and soon finds that all the women on the ship are coming to his lectures—because he’s unmarried and exactly the right age for them.  He must take drastic measures to escape.

You can get a taste of Alexander McCall Smith’s wonderful sense of humor in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books.  This book takes things a step further.  If you’re in the mood for some silliness and some laughs, The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs is a good choice.

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Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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