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Cocktail Time (Uncle Fred #3)

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,211 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
Frederick, Earl of Ickenham, remains young at heart. So it is for him the act of a moment to lean out of the Drones Club window with a catapult and ping the silk top hat off his grumpy in-law, the distinguished barrister Sir Raymand Bastable.

Unfortunately things don’t end there.

The sprightly earl finds that his action has inspired a scandalous bestseller and a film script—
Paperback, 244 pages
Published August 7th 2008 by Arrow (first published 1958)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,949)
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Dan Schwent
Feb 08, 2011 Dan Schwent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wodehouse, favorites
It all started when Uncle Fred pegged Beefy Bastable with a Brazil nut. Beefy, a prominent barrister with political aspirations, writes a scathing novel about the youth of today after Uncle Fred tells him he can't. Once completed, Beefy realizes that a man in his position can't be responsible for such a thing and convinces his shiftless nephew, Cosmo Wisdom, to take credit for it. Enter Oily Carlisle and his wife, who convince Cosmo that blackmail is the best course of action. Cosmo writes a let ...more
Ben Babcock
Aug 03, 2014 Ben Babcock rated it really liked it
Shelves: humour, owned, 2012-read
Many people have recommended P.G. Wodehouse to me many times, and now I have finally read one of his books. I had no particular reason for choosing Cocktail Time as my first Wodehouse experience. I went to a used bookstore for the first time here in my new town, and at the back of the shop was a small bookcase full of very new-looking Wodehouse books. With no idea where to begin, I looked to the proprietor for some advice. He was the very idea of a used bookstore proprietor: older, with a somewh ...more
Dec 21, 2015 Shauna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first PG Wodehouse book! The back of the book, which calls it a "hilarious jab at the publishing industry," drew me in, and while it wasn't as publishing-centric as I'd hoped, it lived up to the hilarious part. I was charmed by the characters, the humor, and the twisting plot. This book, to quote the first page, left me feeling "as bumps-a-daisy as billy-o." I look forward to reading more Wodehouse books!
Oct 20, 2015 Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What ho, what ho! Now this is more like it. After the bloated and overly-convoluted Uncle Dynamite (to my taste, anyway), this is a return to form for Wodehouse: Just the right level of everything, and not too much of anything. A comedy masterpiece. Read it.

Collected in the Utterly Uncle Fred omnibus.
Nov 04, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love laughing out loud when I read, and I certainly did in this book. I give five stars to any book that can do that!

“Except that her ears did not stick up and that she went about on two legs instead of four, Phoebe Wisdom was extraordinarily like a white rabbit, a resemblance which was heightened at the moment by the white dressing jacket she was wearing and the fact that much weeping had made her nose and eyes pink...”

“It was at this moment that the door opened again and Mrs. Phoebe Wisdom
Jeff Crompton
Another reviewer here said that he should have known better than to read a Wodehouse book written after World War II. That's a little extreme, in my opinion, but it true that later Wodehouse seldom reaches the heights of Plum's best work from the 1920s through the 1940s.

The first few chapters here, which set up the premise, are vintage Wodehouse. Fun-loving Lord Ickenham (Uncle Fred) is visiting his nephew at the Drones Club. While there, he amuses the members by wielding a slingshot and a Brazi
Feb 02, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cocktail Time is a late (1958) entry to the Uncle Fred canon, and it’s incredible to think that Wodehouse wrote it at the age of 77. While it might not reach the sublime heights of Uncle Dynamite or Uncle Fred in the Springtime, it’s still full of wonderful Wodehouse wit and sparkle, and a plot that runs like a piece of well-oiled machinery. Uncle Fred is his usual irrepressible self, always up for an adventure in his quest to spread ‘sweetness and light’ all around him, and there is a rich cast ...more
Chet Makoski
Apr 08, 2015 Chet Makoski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
P. G. Wodehouse wrote almost 100 novels and collections of short stories. He is perhaps the greatest comic writer of the 20th Century best known for his stories featuring young British dilettante Bertram "Bertie" Wooster and his wry valet Jeeves. "Cocktail Time" is a novel featuring another of Wodehouse's unique characters, Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistleton, fifth Earl of Ickenham, commonly called Lord Ickenham or Uncle Fred. The story begins in the smoking-room of the Drones Club. "An Eg ...more
Dan Glover
Dec 02, 2014 Dan Glover rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites, humour
I would give this 4.5 stars if I could. This "Uncle Fred" story was nearly as good as the best of the Wooster & Jeeves books, but not quite. There were some elements that made this a notch above many of Wodehouse's other non-Jeeves stories. There were some very funny running literary jokes throughout, such as the repeated reference to various things happening in a manner resembling the US Marines arriving just in the nick of time to rescue someone from a sticky situation and the repeated ref ...more
Aug 07, 2012 Emlen rated it did not like it
Bah. I should have known better than to try a Wodehouse book written after World War II; but the one exception to that rule that I know of (Uncle Dynamite) is an Uncle Fred, so I thought I'd risk it. No luck: Lord Ickenham impersonates someone else precisely once in Cocktail Time, deceiving only one person, for a space of about four pages. The whole novel is like a dreary, half-hearted attempt to imitate P.G. Wodehouse.

However, a few notable things that I had otherwise never seen, and never expe
Peter Krol
Jun 30, 2009 Peter Krol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I often say that the plots in Wodehouse are not very diverse. However, this book was cut from a different mold.

There were the usual escapades of unrequited lovers. Couples couldn't marry because of not enough money. Others had misunderstandings getting in the way.

However, most of the plot centers around a novel, entitled Cocktail Time, about the foolishness of England's youth. The book creates a stir in the general populace after a bishop denounces it from the pulpit. The author of Cocktail Time
Jan 18, 2011 jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Johnny Pearce can't get married because his fiancee refuses to live with Johnny's old nursemaid, Nanny Bruce. Nanny won't leave until Johnny gives her 500 pounds, which he doesn't have. Respected barrister Beefy hates the younger generation, but they love his risque novel, Cocktail Time. Once Beefy's mooching nephew finds out who wrote it, he turns to blackmail. And setting up most of these complications is Uncle Fred.

Most of my Wodehouse reads have been of Wooster and Jeeves, but I'm glad I fin
Alexander Kosoris
Apr 21, 2016 Alexander Kosoris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, comedy
Boy, do I love me some Wodehouse. Of course, I have only read two of his near one hundred works, so this love could be highly conditional and potentially fleeting, but, so far, he’s batting a thousand. For, so far, his stories possess a great mix of wit and absurdities, in both characters and plot, that makes for brilliant comedy.

Cocktail Time concerns the events following the publishing a novel by the same name. It very nearly fell into obscurity, until a Bishop ranted about its indecency from
Anthony Peter
Dec 13, 2015 Anthony Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another jolly read. Not much to add, really. What I particularly liked was the relative absence of concentrated activity. I find that, generally, Wodehouse concentrates his action into a few days, and I find that reduces my capacity to enjoy the story because I'm left, as it were, breathless. The action in this story is spread over a longer period of time, although the end is full-force-farce pace. There also seemed more-than-usual threads that the wheeler-dealer author had to pull together, and ...more
Jul 30, 2013 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor
When I'm in need of rollicking humor and clever plot twists, there is no author finer than Wodehouse, in my opinion.

In this, a chain of events start with a Brazil nut and catapult in the hands of none other than dear Uncle Fred. That this innocent Brazil nut could lead to a chase among con artists, a reluctant author, his oft-broke nephew and a doddering senile publisher is a farce that Wodehouse pulls of triumphantly.
May 14, 2016 Vlad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was not as funny as I though it would be. I think I got one proper laugh out of it, but that was about it, by the end I was racing through just to get it done and over with.

The setup for the story is OK, but for something that relies on the structure of a comedy of manners, it's relatively weak. Some of the situations are unbelievable even for a comedy, and all too often the comedy comes out of characters actually doing bone headed things. Better comedies rely on situations where the charac
Todd Martin
Nov 22, 2014 Todd Martin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Cocktail Time has everything you’d expect from a Wodehouse novel: unlikely situations, coincidences and humor, but what else do you think you would find? Wodehouse, having found a formula for his books, stuck to it like a barnacle with attachment disorder.

Given that the themes are all identical let’s look at what makes Cocktail Time different from Wodehouse’s other novels.

Uh …

Ah hmmm …

Well …

Zzzzz …

Scott Taylor
Subtitle this book "The Indefatigable Lord Ickenham." This was my first foray into the non-Jeeves section of the Wodehouse section of the library. In Cocktail Time, Wodehouse displays a mastery of dry satire that is both cutting and palatable. Many of the little quips are nuanced and go by so quickly that if you "blink" while reading, you're likely to miss them. This book is worth digesting slowly and with care to not miss out on the fun.

Who would have thought that the launching of a Brazil Nut
Dec 28, 2013 Raj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, classic
The fifth Earl of Ickenham is easily bored. And he has taken it upon himself to spread sweetness and light amongst all those of his acquaintance, or as some of those acquaintances might put it: meddle and interfere in others' business. This book starts with Lord Ickenham shooting a brazil nut at his half brother-in-law 'Beefy' Bastable with a catapult. From then, a long, improbably Wodehousian chain of events is set in motion with, as they say, hilarious consequences.

This book is what happens wh
J. Alfred
Aug 04, 2014 J. Alfred rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a member of that favored class of mortals who possess an Uncle Fred, I laughed quietly to myself when I discovered that Wodehouse has a group of books called the Uncle Fred novels. When I began reading one of these books, I laughed much more loudly, because Fredrick Twistleton, Earl of Ickenham, is simply unlike most other Uncle Freds, or indeed, anyone. He happens to be someone whose self-imposed goal is to spread sweetness and light, and misadventures and those events known to some as hi-ji ...more
Jun 16, 2012 Smilingplatypus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, fluff
If you haven't read anything by P.G. Wodehouse, you're missing out. He was a master of the English language and his uniquely bubbly way of writing just rolls off the tongue (and would have done for me, if I had dared to besmirch the phrases by reading them aloud in a Canadian accent.) His famously sparkling prose is in high form in Cocktail Time. The plot is an overly convoluted series of coincidences involving a best-selling book, a couple of con artists, and a bunch of upper-class airheads, al ...more
Mar 13, 2011 Shari rated it it was amazing
I'd been putting off reading this book until I'd had the opportunity to go to the grocery store and buy mixers for the spiced rum sitting on my counter; I'd had this vague, romantic notion that it would be extra amusing to read Cocktail Time while sipping cocktails. (What can I say, I'm just that uncool.) But after an especially trying day, I could feel a case of the mean reds coming on, and I cast about desperately for something to stave them off.

And so it came to pass that I curled up in an ar
Kenneth Joyner
Aug 18, 2013 Kenneth Joyner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My introduction to Wodehouse was Cocktail Time during a night I'd sought to quit alcohol and replace my habit with a caffeine overdose, one that quite nearly did away with my life at a massive book retailer you probably visit. My curiosity had brought me to begin this novel and by the time of closing was done with about three chapters alongside two double espressos, three 'black eyes' (espresso and coffee?), two regular coffees, a chocolate chip cookie and a Red Bull. It was a good time initiall ...more
Ian Wood
Mar 28, 2008 Ian Wood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: p-g-wodehouse
‘Cocktail Time’ is the third Uncle Fred novel and finds him spreading sweetness and light as he had as Roderick Glossop at Blandings in ‘Uncle Fred in Springtime’ and as Major Plank at Ashenden Manor in ‘Uncle Dynamite’.

This time Uncle Fred is acting under his own name due to the hearts he needs to join including his wife’s half brother Sir Raymond Dunstable and literary agent Barbara Crowe, his godson Jonathon Twistleton Pearce and Bunny Farringdon and Phoebe Wisdom and Albert Peasemarch, whom
Dec 30, 2014 Ken rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic, british
Wodehouse is never bad, but this is neither one or his best nor one of his worst. It falls right in the middle - some amusing bits and some predictable bits. U ncle Fred isn't quite the great comic creation that Bertie Wooster is or Jeeves is. Also, I never realized until this book how much having the Jeeves saga told from Bertie's POV (which it is in all but one book if I recollect) adds to the books' power. The same jokey style loses its punch a bit when it's used by a supposedly omniscient na ...more
Victoria Jackson
Very light and enjoyable. Lord Ickenham is positive, kindly and energetic person. The author of popular book Cocktail Time wants to keep his identity and secret and enlists Cosmo to claim authorship. Bribery ensues and once film rights are negotiated, the plot thickens and everyone wants to get hold of a certain letter. The usual stately homes and butlers. Fun to read. His previous exploits were going into the suburbs and pretending to be parrot claw clipper with his nephew Pongo.
Jun 08, 2013 ideallaedi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is really a Wodehouse novel I hadn't read before and not simply a title in the list of my "comfort-books" that I borrow from the library periodically to read.

It stars THE Lord Ickenham, whom I like even better than Gally. Sadly, Pongo Twistleton apart from being rather flabbergasted in the first chapter has no role to play in the book. There's a sensational book "Cocktail time" with its (in)famous thirteenth chapter, written because of the episode of the Brazil nut, expounding Beefy's, aka
Mar 10, 2016 Lynette rated it really liked it
Chapter 12 is wonderful.
" ... Do you knit?"
"Sleep does. It knits up the raveled sleeve of care."
That's Saxby senior to Cosmo Wisdom. Also
"How did you get in?" asked Mr. Saxby with a show of interest.
"I was shown in."
"And stayed in. I see, Tennyson was right. Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers. Take a chair."
"I have."
"Take another," ...
For my taste, Wodehouse at his best.
Highly enjoyable read. The fast pace with which the novel is written, the lively characters and their choices and actions will keep you reading until you are tired laughing. Wodehouse has really hit the spot again with this Uncle Fred novel. And if you hadn’t had enough of this lovable creature that is called Uncle Fred, there is always Uncle Dynamite to read. ...more
Vicki L.
Apr 17, 2016 Vicki L. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listening to this book, read by the wonderful Jonathan Cecil. I enjoyed it to much, that, after finishing, I immediately listening to it a second time. I think it's one of Wodehouse's best. It is just so dryly hilarious and clever! My admiration was ever present as I listened to the genius of Wodehouse and the accompanying genius of Cecil's reading.
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Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE, was a comic writer who enjoyed enormous popular success during a career of more than seventy years and continues to be widely read over 40 years after his death. Despite the political and social upheavals that occurred during his life, much of which was spent in France and the United States, Wodehouse's main canvas remained that of prewar English upper-class so ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Uncle Fred (4 books)
  • Uncle Fred in the Springtime
  • Uncle Dynamite
  • Service With a Smile

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