At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances

Version: Unabridged
Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Narrator: Paul Hecht
Genres: Detective Stories
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published In: December 2004
# of Units: 4 CDs
Length: 4 hours
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The irresistible wit of New York Times best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith has won over countless fans. His subtle humor and enchanting characterizations are fully on display in At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances. Professor Dr. von Igelfeld is pleased with his role as a visiting scholar at Cambridge, even if his English colleagues are difficult to comprehend. They frequently speak in metaphors and make peculiar assumptions, saying such odd things as, "I take it your journey went well," when that is not the case at all.

Reviews (4)

Clever and humorous

Written by graftonqueen from Grafton, MA on January 2nd, 2015

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Alexander McCall Smith is simply a genius. He is clever, humorous, and possessed of many personalities. I love his character in this story, the author of "Portuguese Irregular Verbs" so much. I have listened to two of these stories and have laughed out loud during each. The characters are vivid and extremely lifelike. AMcS is never a disappointment. Never.

So sorry this series had to end

Written by Anonymous on November 15th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Love the continuing drama of Dr. von Igelfeld. This is a fitting end to the series, but I'm still very sorry to see it go. I know too many people like him and I found him so amusing.

At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances

Written by Anonymous on July 20th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Very, very funny. Deft portrayal of human nature, especially that of professors. Hilarious depiction of university politics, along with human eccentricities. Gentle satire that goes beyond the absurd, to the utterly and extremely funny absurd. Wonderful--and very well read.

Quirky and funny

Written by Anonymous on December 19th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Quirky and funny! When I first 'read' a Dr. Von Igelfeld book, I at first didn't quite get his character. And then I came to really enjoy it! It's like a long-running joke all told with a straight face. The Professor is very humorless and formulaic, but somehow copes with some pretty wild circumstances--a funny and unusual look at academia--and the world.

Author Details

Author Details

McCall Smith, Alexander

Alexander McCall Smith has written more than 60 books, including specialist academic titles, short story collections, and a number of immensely popular children's books. But he is best known for his internationally acclaimed No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which rapidly rose to the top of bestseller lists throughout the world. The fifth novel in the series, The Full Cupboard of Life, received the Saga Award for Wit in the UK. The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (April 2007) is the eighth book in the series. The series has now been translated into 39 languages and has sold over 14 million copies worldwide. Another series, beginning with The Sunday Philosophy Club, about a female sleuth named Isabel Dalhousie, appeared in 2004 and immediately leapt onto national bestseller lists, as did the second and third books, Friends, Lovers, Chocolate and The Right Attitude to Rain. The fourth Dalhousie mystery, The Careful Use of Compliments, is due August 2007. McCall Smith's serial novel, 44 Scotland Street, was published in book form to great acclaim in 2005, followed by Espresso Tales. Love Over Scotland, which continues the series, is due in November 2007.

In addition, McCall Smith's delightful German professor series, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs, and At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances were published in the US in January 2005. He is also the author of children's books, including the Akimbo series, about a boy in Africa, and the Harriet Bean books. Pantheon has published Alexander McCall Smith's collection of African folktales, The Girl Who Married a Lion. McCall Smith is also the author of Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams, a contemporary reworking of a beloved Celtic myth.

McCall Smith was born in what is now Zimbabwe and was educated there and in Scotland. He became a law professor in Scotland, and it was in this role that he first returned to Africa to work in Botswana, where he helped to set up a new law school at the University of Botswana. For many years he was Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh, and has been a visiting professor at a number of other universities elsewhere, including ones in Italy and the United States. He is now a Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh.

In addition to his university work, McCall Smith was for four years the vice-chairman of the Human Genetics Commission of the UK, the chairman of the British Medical Journal Ethics Committee, and a member of the International Bioethics Commission of UNESCO. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Crime Writers' Association Dagger in the Library Award; the United Kingdom's Author of The Year Award in 2004 and Sweden's Martin Beck award. In 2007 he was made a CBE for his services to literature in the Queen's New Year Honors List.

Alexander McCall Smith currently lives in Edinburgh with his wife Elizabeth (an Edinburgh doctor), and their two daughters Lucy and Emily. His hobbies include playing wind instruments, and he is the co-founder of an amateur orchestra called "The Really Terrible Orchestra" in which he plays the bassoon and his wife plays the horn.