No one weaves a plot like Wodehouse. Also, if you have a cow creamer, guard it with your life.
The 2012 re-read: Aunt Dahlia dispatches Bertie to Totlei...moreNo one weaves a plot like Wodehouse. Also, if you have a cow creamer, guard it with your life.
The 2012 re-read: Aunt Dahlia dispatches Bertie to Totleigh Towers to purlorn a silver cow creamer coveted by his uncle Tom from Sir Watkyn Basset. Unfortunately, Bertie has his work cut out for him in the form of Stiffy Byng and Madeline Basset. Can Bertie escape with the cow creamer without winding up married to either woman?
This is my second reading of Code of the Woosters and I can definitely say there is a reason I've been recommending it to people for the better part of a decade. P.G. Wodehouse was in mid-season form when he chiseled this masterpiece out of a block of stone. The Code of the Woosters should be handed out in writing classes as a prime example of how to orchestrate a plot. The twists are perfectly timed so the jaw-droppingest moments happen at the end of chapters.
The writing is superb and Wodehouse moves his characters through the scenery like a master puppeteer. Gussie Fink-Nottle, that "ghastly gob of gorgonzola," makes his return, still bethrothed(ish) to Madeline Basset and is just as quirky. Who else would think to put newts in the bathtub after breaking an aquariam? La Basset is the same as she was in the previous volume. I'm not sure if Stiffy Byng or Stinker Pinker make appearances in other volumes but they are quite memorable here. Roderick Spode is by far the best supporting character of the book, though, a facist who cowers whenever someone mentions "Eulalie," the meaning of which is not clear until the end. As always, the narrative is a minefield of hilarious similes.
The plot meanders all over Totleigh Towers. Like most Jeeves stories, Bertie gets himself deeper and deeper into the soup, the plot encircling such props as the aforementioned cow creamer, a notebook, and a policeman's helmet. As I mentioned before, the reversals of fortune are impecably timed.
I could go on and on about this book. Suffice to say, it's an easy five and my go-to recommendation for people who want to give P.G. Wodehouse a shot. They didn't make an episode of the phenomenal BBC Jeeves and Woosters series starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie out of it for nothing!
Reading this one at the moment. It uses several of the Wodehouse plot devices: someone engaged to the wrong person, someone hard up for money, and som...moreReading this one at the moment. It uses several of the Wodehouse plot devices: someone engaged to the wrong person, someone hard up for money, and something that is going to be stolen. Still, Wodehouse weaves a plot like no one else.(less)
The only bad things about the Psmith books is that Wodehouse only wrote four of them. The cry goes out around the town "Psmith is the alligator's Adam...moreThe only bad things about the Psmith books is that Wodehouse only wrote four of them. The cry goes out around the town "Psmith is the alligator's Adam's apple."(less)
The 2012 re-read Gussie Fink-Nottle is in love with Madeline Bassett but can't seem to talk to her. Madeline Bassett is in love with Gussie Fink-Nottle...moreThe 2012 re-read Gussie Fink-Nottle is in love with Madeline Bassett but can't seem to talk to her. Madeline Bassett is in love with Gussie Fink-Nottle but thinks Bertie Wooster wants to marry her. Bertie's cousin Angela was engaged to Tuppy Glossop but they had a bust-up over whether or not Angela saw a shark. Can Jeeves put them all back together? He might have been able to, had he and Bertie not had a falling out over Bertie's white mess jacket...
First off, this review will hardly be unbiased. My love for P.G. Wodehouse is such that if the zombie apocalypse occured and Wodehouse came staggering toward me with a lust for brains, I would be completely unwilling to shoot him.
The second full-length Jeeves and Wooster novel is a big improvement over the first. The writing is crisper, the similes even more hilarious, and Jeeves and Wooster function like a well-oiled machine. Once again, the rift between Jeeves and Wooster was used as a plot device, more effectively than in Thank You, Jeeves.
As usual, quotable lines are in abundance. As usual, I did not write any of them down while I was reading. "Lack of appetite? I'm as hollow as the Grand Canyon!" "The exquisite code of politeness of the Woosters prevented me clipping her one on the ear-hole."
The strength of the Jeeves and Wooster books is that Bertie is a bit of a fathead, and he performs the role admirably in Right ho, Jeeves. Bertie thinking he could be as good as Jeeves at solving problems? Pshaw, I say! Once things are suitably muddled, Jeeves saves the day, as he always does. I do not consider the previous sentence a spoiler since it happens in every Jeeves book.
Funny moments abound, many of them centering on a drunken Gussie Fink-Nottle. Aunt Dahlia is in fine form. Tuppy, Angela, and Madeline Bassett were negligible but still had their moments.
Right Ho, Jeeves, the second Jeeves and Wooster novel, is a much better read than the first. Wodehouse is the master of the bumbling romantic comedy. Four easy stars.(less)
Jeeves and Wooster break up after Jeeves lays down an ultimatum and Bertie chooses his banjolele over his manservant. Hilarity ensues.
The 2011-2012 re...moreJeeves and Wooster break up after Jeeves lays down an ultimatum and Bertie chooses his banjolele over his manservant. Hilarity ensues.
The 2011-2012 re-read... After Jeeves and Wooster have a spat over a banjolele, Jeeves leaves Wooster for Lord Chuffnel, who is enamored with Bertie's ex-fiancee, Pauline Stoker. Complicating matters are Stoker's dad, a millionaire who wants to buy Chuffnel's mansion, and Chuffy's, who is being pursued by Wooster's old nemesis, Sir Roderick Glossop. When Bertie winds up engaged to Pauline instead of Chuffy, can even Jeeves set things right?
After so many books, I'm almost at a loss at trying to convey the awesomeness of P.G. Wodehouse in words. He moves the characters through the various scenes like a puppet master. While this is the first Jeeves novel, it's by no means the genius butler's first outing. I'd forgotten how much history there was between Bertie and Sir Roderick Glossop, renowned nerve specialist, prior to this book. The supporting cast did a good job driving the story, from the Stokers to the Chuffnels to Brinkley, the replacement Jeeves. Little Seabury and his protection racket cracked me up.
Things are not as perfect as they would later become in the Jeeves books. Today's readers may find Bertie and Glossop being in blackface for a good portion of the story and the casual use of the n-word is sure to offend. Since this was the first full length Jeeves outing, it feels like old Plum was still working some of the bugs out.
Still, it's still a great story. So many lines of quotable dialogue and hilarious situations. Even though you can see a lot of them coming, it doesn't lessen the impact. As usual, it was a joy to watch Wodehouse do what he does best.
The 2012 re-read: Bertie Wooster, with Jeeves in tow, is dragooned into visiting Steeple Bumpleigh, home of Aunt Agatha and her husband, Lord Worplesdo...moreThe 2012 re-read: Bertie Wooster, with Jeeves in tow, is dragooned into visiting Steeple Bumpleigh, home of Aunt Agatha and her husband, Lord Worplesdon. Bertie soon walks into a web of broken engagements, arson, and delightfully horrible misunderstandings, including an engagement to Florence Craye. Can Jeeves extricate Wooster from what will be known as The Steeple Bumpleigh Horror?
Of course he can. See how Jeeves' head bulges out in the back? That's where his extra brain power comes from.
This book is a great example of how Wodehouse mines rich veins of comedic gold from the same old formula in almost every book. Nobby Hopwood, Worplesdon's ward, is engaged to Bertie's friend Boko Fiddleworth. Stilton Cheesewright, the local constable and an old classmate of Bertie's, is betrothed to Bertie's former fiancee Florence Craye. Lord Worplesdon is in the process of a merger between his shipping company and that of J. Chichester Clam, an American shipping magnate. Throw in a boyscout named Edwin whose hash everyone is dying to see settled and there you are. All the pieces are in place and Bertie is tossed into the mix. You know everything will turn out okay but it's a lot of fun getting there.
As always, Wodehouse weaves a web of wit along the way to the happy resolution. I'm partial to “When a girl uses six derogatory adjectives in her attempt to paint the portrait of the loved one, it means something. One may indicate a merely temporary tiff. Six is big stuff.” and “It is true of course, that I have a will of iron, but it can be switched off if the circumstances seem to demand it.”
Any complaints? Only that this was a re-read and I wasn't experiencing this comedic gem for the first time. While I didn't remember every wrinkle of the story, I did remember most of the pivotal ones. Still, you can't go wrong with Jeeves when you want some dry wit.
Good old Uncle Fred. He's an interesting contrast to Jeeves. Where Jeeves uses deduction and reasoning to get Bertie out of jams, Uncle Fred weaves ta...moreGood old Uncle Fred. He's an interesting contrast to Jeeves. Where Jeeves uses deduction and reasoning to get Bertie out of jams, Uncle Fred weaves tapestry upon tapestry of lies. I'm amazed how much mileage (and how many laughs) Wodehouse manages to wring out of the same basic plot time after time.(less)
The true testament to a writer's skill is the ability to make something inherently boring interesting to read about. Wodehouse not only makes golf int...moreThe true testament to a writer's skill is the ability to make something inherently boring interesting to read about. Wodehouse not only makes golf interesting to read about in this volume, he also makes it hilarious! This is the book that rocketed Wodehouse to the top of my favorite writer's list. Highly recommended.(less)
Wodehouse on Crime is a collection of 12 Wodehouse tales, all dealing with larceny or deception in some way. My favorite is The Crimewave at Blandings...moreWodehouse on Crime is a collection of 12 Wodehouse tales, all dealing with larceny or deception in some way. My favorite is The Crimewave at Blandings. Emsworth's grandson brings an air rifle to the castle and the ensuing shooting spree shakes the castle to its very foundation. Fun stuff.(less)