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Service with a Smile (Blandings Castle #9)

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  1,317 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
In Service with a Smile, the eighth Wodehouse novel set at Blandings Castle, Lord Emsworth's home is overrun with pesky intruders, from the noisy boys of the local Church Lad's Brigade camping at the lake to the curmudgeonly Duke of Dunstable, who is scheming to steal Emsworth's peerless pig. Fortunately, Uncle Fred (in his final appearance) is on hand to sort everything o ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published August 5th 2010 by The Overlook Press (first published January 1st 1961)
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Dan Schwent
Apr 06, 2009 Dan Schwent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wodehouse
Bill Bailey's attempted marriage to Myra Schoonmaker doesn't go as planned and Myra is whisked away to Blandings Castle to prevent her from marrying him, a penniless curate. Meanwhile, the Duke of Dunstable's son has his eyes on Myra and the Duke himself wants to steal the Empress of Blandings and sell her to Lord Tilbury. Fortunately, Uncle Fred takes Bailey to Blandings under an alias and goes about spreading happiness and light as only he can...

Throwing Uncle Fred into the Blandings Castle is
Jason Koivu
Jan 01, 2014 Jason Koivu rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wodehouses
Lord Ickenham (aka Uncle Fred) is an incurable optimist. In Service with a Smile he's off to Blandings Castle again to spread his form of irrepressible cheer on the inhabitants. Stifled love is in the air and Uncle Fred's the man to clear it!

A prize winning pig doted upon by its doddering owner, an underhanded and ambitious secretary, a cantankerous brute of a Duke, love-lorn young folk, a camera-weilding boy with a voice like an electric razor, a beefy boxing curate, and more fill the pages wit
Elisha Condie
One of Wodehouse's novels about Blandings Castle, another one of those wonderful country estates filled with crabby gentlemen, mixed up engagements and calm, cool butlers.
My favorite character is described like this. I wish this was a description of me, actually. I love it:
"Of Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistleton, fifth Earl of Ickenham, a thoughtful critic had once said that in the late afternoon of his life he retained, together with a juvenile waistline, the bright enthusiasms and fr
Ian Laird
PG Wodehouse is so highly regarded by many readers that there must be something to him.

But having read only two, Dr Sally and this one Service with a Smile, I find myself thinking these stories are enjoyable, well written, contain some amusing lines and pass the time amiably enough. Other people see much more. I may have to delve further and find out what draws such devotion from others.

This is in part, a pig story. Lord Ickenham (Uncle Fred), with ‘Cuthbert’ (really Bill Bailey) in tow, goes t
Poor Lord Emsworth is beset with problems: he has a new horrid secretary Miss Biggs who makes Baxter look nice; the castle grounds are full of camping boys causing noise and mischief and the Duke of Dunstable has invited himself to Blandings and still thinks the Empress is making Lord Emsworth potty. The Duke has a buyer interested in the Empress and he's willing to do whatever it takes to get his hands on that money and rid Lord Emsworth of his problem. There's the usual pair of star-crossed lo ...more
Peter Krol
Apr 15, 2012 Peter Krol rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Not the best Wodehouse I've read. Still pretty fun, though. Favorite quote:

"Have you ever been engaged to two girls at the same time?"
"Not to my recollection. Nor, now I come to think of it, do I know of anyone who has, except of course King Solomon and the late Brigham Young."
"Well, that's what I am."
"You? Engaged to two girls? Half a second, let me work this out."
There was a pause, during which Lord Ickenham seemed to be doing sums in his head.
"No," he said at length. "I don't get it. I am awa
May 08, 2016 proxyfish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, comedy, humour
Review to come!
Aug 15, 2012 Althea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I re-read Wodehouse regularly just to cheer myself up...
Perry Whitford
The ninth Earl of Emsworth was becoming like a man besieged at Blandings Castle. As if it wasn't bad enough having to share his country pile on a permanent basis with his bossy sister Lady Constance Keeble, he also now had to share it with the most ruthlessly efficient secretary ever to darken his door, the rigidly prim Miss Lavender Briggs, as well as the noisy and spirited boys of the Church Lads' Brigade.

Perhaps worst still was the seemingly interminable presence of the Duke of Dunstable, a b
Just reread this. It is great. If it isn't as good as a Jeeves and Wooster it is close. It is one of the books I would recommend if a person. Was going to read only one Wodehouse novel. It is Plum at his best.

Loved Wodehouse for years. Once read most of the Jeeves and Wooster stories. Lately have
been reading Douglas Adams. There aren't many Adams books and there won't be any more, him being dead for over a decade, and all. So, I'm trying to scratch the itch of wanting more Adams by reading Wode
May 04, 2009 Alison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I enjoyed this tale, I have a weird feeling I'm likely to read it again in a few years having forgotten I read it. And that's no slam against Wodehouse, but rather, his imitators.
I love Wodehouse's Blandings books, in which convoluted problems are untangled over a series of peaceful sunny afternoons. This one is a little different. There's a bunch of characters who come on quickly, staying for just long enough for Uncle Fred to dispatch their problems efficiently, with hardly enough time to get to know any of them. (The character dwelt on the most was the fairly unlikable Duke of Dunstable.) While other Wodehouses leave you with a feeling of satisfaction as everything is ...more
Jan 12, 2017 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, british, audiobooks
4.5 stars for this audiobook edition, narrated by Martin Jarvis. While I still have a slight preference to hear my Wodehouse narrated by Jonathan Cecil, Jarvis did an excellent job with this 9th entry in the Blandings Castle series.

This one not only had Lord Emsworth & his pig but also Uncle Fred -- a delightful combination!
Ramakanth Josyula
Nov 07, 2016 Ramakanth Josyula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first time reading a Wodehouse and it was brilliant. Absolute fun to read. Very witty. It does take some time to get used to the thousands of names referred to in the first chapter.
Marty Reeder
I read Galahad at Blandings a couple months ago to balance out the continent of words that is Les Miserables. Service With a Smile could serve no such altruistic purpose and therefore had no right to be read as soon as it was.

But I finished reading a couple of good, but serious (and a little self-serious) reads--nothing along the line of Victor Hugo, per se, but certainly not happy-go-lucky. I’m reading a book or two on my iPad, but something has got to fill the cargo pants pocket that isn’t an
Ian Wood
May 21, 2008 Ian Wood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: p-g-wodehouse
‘Service with a Smile’ marks Uncle Fred’s third visit to Blandings in his quest to spread sweetness and light by bringing to a suitable conclusion Bill Bailey’s wooing of Myra Schoonmaker. Myra Schoonmaker was a Blandings no show from ‘Heavy Weather’ when she was impersonated by Sue Brown under the influence of Galahad in order to marry Ronnie Fish. Here Myra appears under her own colours whilst Bill assumes the name of Brazilian Cuthbert Meriwether. The marriage has been forbidden by Lady Const ...more
Jul 11, 2012 Ensiform rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not all is well at Blandings Castle, where Clarence, ninth Earl of Emsworth, is plagued by an officious secretary, Lavender Biggs, who plots for bigger things; his quarrelsome sister, Constance; and the windbag Duke of Dunstable, a self-invited guest who wants to steal Emsworth’s prize pig to sell to a rival (or back to Emsworth himself, if he must). Add to this that a curate is staying at the castle under false pretenses to be with his beloved, a millionaire’s daughter whom Constance has no int ...more
Cleverly woven plot and dry humor - typically enjoyable Wodehouse. Always dependable to spark a laugh, and this was no exception.

Lord Ickenham spins a twisty web to make everyone about cheerful in the face of disappointed lovers at Blandings castle and the imminent plot to divest the Earl of Emsworth of his beloved Empress - a pig.
Nov 20, 2012 Spiros rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys seeing bad guys being made to look pretty silly
The Strand seems to have an inexhaustible supply of these clothbound, Overlook editions of Plum's writings, which fit so nicely in one's hand, all priced at $7.95. Every time I'm there, I check for volumes I have yet to read, and blow me down if this little beauty wasn't staring at me from the shelf: a Blandings novel, featuring Uncle Fred (Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twistleton, fifth Earl of Ickenham, if you insist on getting all stuffy about it), of which I had hitherto not suspected the ex ...more
Oct 26, 2012 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic. There were many gaps in time in my reading, so I lost track a bit of who everyone was (Dukes and Lords and whatnot), but I followed it well enough to the end to be thoroughly entertained. I was just talking with some friends last night about good writing and good use of language. There were two passages (two pages apart) that made me laugh out loud:

"'Here,' said Mr Schoonmaker, and thrusting a piece of paper into the butler's hand he curvetted off like, thought Beach, an unusually ext
May 28, 2014 K. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the title and the way the lovable character Sir Galahad Threepwood endeavors to embody it.

"He (the Duke of Dunstable) was a large, stout, bald-headed man with a jutting nose, prominent eye and a bushy white moustache of the type favoured by regimental sergeant majors and walruses. In Wiltshire, where he resided when not inviting himself for long visits to the homes of others, he was far from popular, his standing among his neighbours being roughly that of a shark at a bathing resort--som
Mar 31, 2013 jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While staying with his friend, the Lord of Blandings Castle, and his sister, the Lady of the Blandings, who is definitely not a friend, Lord Ickenham happily finds himself embroiled in thwarting a plot to kidnap his host's true love, a pig called the Empress. He fills in any free time with a complex plan to break up an engagement and put two young lovers together with enough pocket money and parental blessings to get them started.

Having read Wodehouse for many years, mainly focusing on the Berti
Aug 24, 2014 Raj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comedy, humour
In this visit to Blandings Castle, we find the Duke of Dunstable plotting to steal the Empress, a new and insufferable secretary and, to cap it all, the Church Lads' Brigade are camped all over the lawns. It's a lot for the Earl of Emsworth to cope with, but he doesn't have to do it alone. That general do-gooder, and all round nice guy, the Earl of Ickenham, aka Uncle Fred, is ready and willing to provide service with a smile.

Light, fluffy, funny and a balm to the soul, reading a Wodehouse novel
Mar 25, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
Lord Emsworth is finding himself so overwhelmed at Blandings Castle that it is almost a relief to him when Lady Constance insists that he go to London for an overnight. After all, at Blandings the Duke of Dunstable is plotting to steal his pig, Myra Schoonmaker is plotting to runaway and marry a curate, his secretary, Lavender Briggs, is a bully, and there is a herd of noisy Church Lads camping on the property. When he runs in to his old friend, Frederick, the Earl of Ickenham, he invites him at ...more
Dec 14, 2012 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
PG Wodehouse has kept to his same story style at Blandings Castle wih the Empress and the usual Lords. But I couldn't give the book four stars this time because I believe there are much better versions of this story in other of Wodehouses works. The mastermind behind the plan in Service With a Smile is Lord Ickenham and although he is smart and deceptive his dialouge never comes close to the comedy of Jeeves or even the butler of Blandings Beecher. If this is your first time reading Wodehouse yo ...more
S Prakash
Idyllic settings; Lords and Dukes; minimum of 3-4 engagements, only to be broken with the same speed; clever buttlers; stupid aristocrats. Nothing can be more stress busting than a quick tour into Wodehouse's quirky and comical world. Higly recommended to read one after every dozen or so of serious stuff. Here it is all about saving Lord Emsworth' prized pig. Yes you have read it right, its about Empress, the fat,lovely and royal pig; the object of desire of the rich and a subject of scheming fo ...more
Mar 09, 2016 Stig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No matter how many Wodehouse books I read, I return for more. They are a delight. You should think that there would be a limit to how many times you can tell a tale with the same elements (imposters galore at country houses, stolen pigs or cow creamers, young lovers torn apart and then reunited, haughty butlers, young twits etc.), but of course it is all in the execution - more or less every sentence is a gem. I have now read two Blandings novels in the space of one week, and my only regret is t ...more
Arka Ray
Other than the numerous bouts of humour throughout the novel, be it in the form of tragedy, absurdity or simply silliness, the book is an excellent read. At some points it becomes a bit slow, but that's probably because I'm comparing it to other Wodehouse's (like Jeeves'). However, Uncle Fred's ingenuity is, well, ingenious! Thoroughly entertaining and surprising.

I'd actually give it 3.5 stars, but I guess 3 captures the essence. Either way, the time-tested Wodehouse doesn't need the approval of
It's got everything - Empress of Blandings, that splendid porcine wonder? Check.
Uncle Fred, AKA Lord Ickenham, spreading sweetness & light, introducing imposters into Blandings Castle? Check.
Clarence, the Earl of Blandings, drooping about his delightful demesne like a piece of his spine has been removed? Check!

If ever you're in need of a tonic, then Wodehouse, especially Wodehouse writing Blandings, is the prescription you need. I love this series!

And this delightful book is made all the mor
Stephen Osborne
Mar 22, 2014 Stephen Osborne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah, Uncle Fred, whose mission in life is to spread sweetness and light. Well, he never fails with me. Wodehouse is always good if you want to smile while reading, and my face muscles got their workout with this book. In other hands, characters like the Duke of Dunstable would have been just horrible and evil, but Wodehouse makes him...well, not likeable, but he makes you laugh at him. And who doesn't like to laugh?
Re-read Feb 2017 as an audio book. Nigel Lambert does a fantastic job with the voi
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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
More about P.G. Wodehouse...

Other Books in the Series

Blandings Castle (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Something Fresh (Blandings Castle, #1)
  • Leave It to Psmith
  • Blandings Castle
  • Summer Lightning
  • Heavy Weather (Blandings Castle, #5)
  • Uncle Fred in the Springtime
  • Full Moon (Blandings Castle, #7)
  • Pigs Have Wings (Blandings Castle, #8)
  • Galahad at Blandings (Blandings Castle, #10)
  • A Pelican at Blandings (Blandings Castle, #11)

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“Blandings Castle is not for the weak.” 2 likes
“There is her sty,’ he said, pointing a reverent finger as they crossed the little meadow dappled with buttercups and daisies. ‘And that is my pigman Wellbeloved standing by it.’ Myra” 0 likes
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