Melissa's Reviews > Leave It to Psmith

Leave It to Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse
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Feb 09, 11

Read in February, 2011

In trying to explain to my husband exactly why I find Wodehouse so laugh-out-loud funny, I used this passage: "One uses the verb 'descend' advisedly, for what is required is some word suggesting instantaneous activity. About Baxter's progress from the second floor to the first there was nothing halting or hesitating. He, so to speak, did it now." This is a brilliant example of Wodehouse's ability to put it just so, - how can you explain this any better? "Planting his food firmly on a golf-ball which the Hon. Freddie Threepwood, who had been practising putting in the corridor before retiring to bed, had left in his casual fashion just where the steps began, he took the entire stiarcase in one majestic, volplanning sweep." This is an excellent example of Wodehouse's exquisite characterization. I was in tears, tears, imagining that Hon. gentleman, able to see perfectly his plan to practice putting near the stairs & then wandering off absentmindedly. ". . . . He came to rest with a squattering thud on the lower landing, and for a moment or two the fever of the chase left him." Fever of the chase! Slays me! As astute readers of Wodehouse will no doubt know, Baxter always Suspects but when oh when will he ever stop rushing downstairs in the dark to try to catch the criminal? It always ends badly. At least there was no tongue involved in this episode.

My husband did not quite get it. But Wodehouse is surely one of the finest comic minds of our time or any time at all. Genius.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Athena (new)

Athena I think it is high time I read some more Wodehouse. Especially since my last two library books were from the mystery section. I feel a grandma!


Melissa I think I agree! I was a little hesitant to read Blandings books since I thought I'd miss Bertie & Jeeves too much, but oh my they are just as hysterical.

Don't feel a grandma, isn't it mama that you're shooting for? ;)


Jennifer Robbins I read this same passage out loud to my husband last night. He got it, thankfully.


Melissa Jennifer wrote: "I read this same passage out loud to my husband last night. He got it, thankfully."

He sounds like a fine individual!


Harv Griffin The quotes from your review made me laugh out loud, Melissa. Wodehouse isn't for everyone, and many of his novels don't work for me, but LEAVE IT TO PSMITH pushes all my buttons. @hg47


Melissa Anything & everything involving Blandings Castle pushes all my buttons.


Nigeyb I adore that scene with Baxter. The first time I read it I was weeping with laughter. Absolutely sublime.


message 8: by Ritu (new) - added it

Ritu Psmith's habit of giving a speech when what was required of an answer was just a word was kind of making me irritated at first.. But by the end I was totally in love with this character. And the same paragraph that you quoted made me laugh hysterically... Simple incidents, so brilliantly put to words!! Only Wodehouse could create that magic.


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