Bertie Wooster is visited at his club by his old friend Stinker Pinker. Stinker it would seem, is worried that his amour, Stiffy is going off him, so asks Bertie, who wouldn’t seem like anyone’s first choice to dabble in relationship counselling, to help. At first he refuses, given Stiffy is staying at her uncle’s house at Totleigh Towers, where Bertie is persona non grata following a misunderstanding with a stolen object d’art. However, circumstances conspire to find Bertie at the Towers. And soon things start to go in such a direction that only Jeeves can fix.
This is the first P.G. Wodehouse I have read. I picked it up with the intention of just reading a few pages to get a feel for the novel. I soon found myself chuckling away to Bertie’s narrative, the idiosyncracies of his relationship with Jeeves a joy to read.
Behind the steely, subdued exterior of Jeeves there lurks a sharp brain and an even sharper tongue. His job is less man-servant, more babysitter in some respects. He is there to ensure Bertie doesn’t dig himself into too deep a hole, and does an admirable job of hiding his master’s ineptness from the man himself.
This time Bertie is endeavouring to help an old friend save his engagement. What Bertie doesn’t foresee is that he will be accused of being a thief, again, and have to dodge a betrothal of his own, not to mention a dog who attacks first and asks questions later.
There are a rag-tag assortment of characters, all wonderfully villanous, inept, conniving and madcap in turn. There are also some wonderful turns of phrase and word play that make the reader laugh out loud. It’s apparent that Wodehouse had fun when he wrote these novels.
It’s farcical, frenetic at some point and highly entertaining, I’ll be turning to Jeeves and Wooster again when I need to escape the real world for a while.