Alexander McCall Smith, best-selling author of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, has turned his hand to humour. The delightful result is a creation of comic genius. 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.
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In the sequel to Portuguese Irregular Verbs, our hero, Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, is the unlikely choice to address veterinarians in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas; is dogged by dachshunds; becomes embroiled with that notorious Coptic schismatic, the Duke of Johannesburg (and his victim the Patriarch of Alexandria); and finally ends up being mobbed as the star attraction on a Mediterranean cruise ship.
The third novel in the Portuguese Irregular Verbs trilogy sees von Igelfeld suffering the slings of academic intrigue as a visiting fellow at Cambridge, and the arrows of outrageous fortune in an eventful Columbian adventure. Between trips, von Igelfeld returns to his beloved Regensburg only that to discover while he has been away his murine colleagues have been at play.
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Life is so unfair, and it sends many things to try Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld, in the proud Bavarian city of Regensburg. There is the undeserved rise of his rival (and owner of a one-legged dachshund), Detlev Amadeus Unterholzer; the interminable ramblings of the librarian, Herr Huber; and the condescension of his colleagues with regard to his unmarried state. But when his friend Ophelia Prinzel takes it upon herself to match-make, and duly produces a cheerful heiress with her own Schloss, it appears that the professor's true worth is about to be recognised.