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The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs (2003)

de Alexander McCall Smith

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Invited to lecture in America, von Igelfeld envisions a visit to California or New York. Instead, he finds himself at the University of Arkansas. Still, in von Igelfeld's view, one American state is very like the other. An expert philolgist, von Igelfeld prepares to deliver a talk on verbs, until he makes a grim discovery--he has been mistaken for a German master of veterinary science who has recently passed away.… (mais)
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Professor von Igelfeld and his academic friends continue to have minor adventures filled with interesting characters and their foibles.

The second installment of the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series had some highs and lows. It seems like this title leaned into the satirical element more; there were moments when I actually laughed out loud. However, some of that leaning in also made it a little bit absurd, like the fate of the poor sausage dog, which will not sit well with many readers I think. Unlike the previous title, this one seemed like more of a continuous narrative than a bunch of vignettes; neither style is bad, but just worth noting the difference. Once again, completely unnecessary and unhelpful black-and-white illustrations occasionally pepper the text.

I continue to not be overly thrilled with this series but find it a light relief from the darker media I usually consume. That, combined with the fact that there's only four titles in total, means that I will probably press forward with this series. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Aug 25, 2020 |
True to the character McCall Smith presents to readers in Portuguese Irregular Verbs, Professor Dr. von Ingelfeld continues to find himself in awkward situations of his own devising, all due to his ingrained belief in his own self-importance. The connected short stories in this book had a smoother flow to them as the stories seem to be more closely connected, more like chapters in a novel. It helped that my previous exposure to von Ingelfeld via Portuguese Irregular Verbs helped me to anticipate some of the inane behavior and decisions of our illustrious professor, but even then, McCall Smith manages a couple of “OMG” moments for me as I was reading. I still find von Ingelfeld to be a rather despicable individual but at least the author has now given von Ingelfeld the occasional bouts of conscience, tempering his self-importance arrogence, especially after the very poor way in which he treats his ‘dear’ (and possibly only) friend, Professor Dr. Unterholzer. As annoying as I continue to find von Ingelfeld, I have to admit that he is starting to grow on me. This is a character who consistently manages to dig himself a deeper hole when he attempts to get out of a situation, which lends to the comic side of things. The misadventures von Ingelfeld encounters on the Mediterranean cruise were quite funny and did give me a chuckle or two.

If, like me, you read Portuguese Irregular Verbs and consider not wasting your time with the other books in the series, I will gently nudge you towards The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs. It is a short read and may convince you, like it did me, to continue reading the further books in the series. Just be forewarned that the humour still continues to be very dry and might not appeal to all readers. ( )
  lkernagh | Feb 13, 2017 |
Hugh Laurie FTW! ( )
  iander | Sep 15, 2015 |
Once more, [Alexander McCall Smith], author of the No 1 Ladies' Detective series, tickles my funny bone in another series involving Professor Dr. Igelfeld, master philologist of mideval romance languages, noted for his seminal work, "Portuguese Irregular Verbs". In this book, [[The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs]], Dr Igelfeld is pressed into service as an emergency vetinary surgeon, a courier for Father Christmas' bones, and as an entertaining lecturer on a cruise ship. Just when you think the ridiculous meets the sublime, the sublime become ridiculous. ( )
  jjvors | Feb 5, 2013 |
Frequently laugh-out-loud funny, Professor of Philology Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld of Germany is quite the entertaining character. Iglefeld sees himself as the epitome of scholarship, and his ego gets him into some hilarious situations. His trip to Arkansas is the funniest stretch of the book, though his experiences in the Vatican library, and on a lecture cruise ship are close seconds. The humor is in the writing. Smith knows just how to word something to make it funny.

This short book isn't so much a novel, as a series of episodes. The events of each episode are largely unrelated to the events of another, so one comes away almost feeling that one has read a short story collection rather than a novel.

It is also refreshingly peaceful. Like Smith's Ladies Number 1 Detective Agency series, the book is free of evildoers, and makes for a pleasant and relaxing read. ( )
  fingerpost | Jan 11, 2013 |
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Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, author of that great triumph of Germanic scholarship, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, had never set foot on American shores.
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The 2 1/2 pillars of wisdom includes At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances, The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs and Portuguese Irregular Verbs in 2002. These titles were published separately in 2003.
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Invited to lecture in America, von Igelfeld envisions a visit to California or New York. Instead, he finds himself at the University of Arkansas. Still, in von Igelfeld's view, one American state is very like the other. An expert philolgist, von Igelfeld prepares to deliver a talk on verbs, until he makes a grim discovery--he has been mistaken for a German master of veterinary science who has recently passed away.

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