I had only read some Jeeves and Wooster stories by Wodehouse previous to this, and that was way back, so long ago I can’t really remember them. Anyway I bought an omnibus edition of three Blandings books last year and then it immediately got lost in the stacks and resurfaced just before Christmas, just in time for me to read the first one before the BBC Blandings series was broadcast.
These books (I’ve just finished the second one Summer Lightning) are at the same time completely daft but vital antidotes to the cruel world, so essential reading if it’s all getting too much for you.
Wodehouse wrote for himself the perfect setting for loopy characters, mainly members of the Emsworth/Threepwood family, but the servants have their moments too. Lord Emsworth has an appalling memory and information seems to sail through his ears, bypassing his brain completely. This is fine for people who know him and realise that he has just pocketed the cutlery absent-mindedly and not nefariously.
Most men have an obsession apparently, for Lord Emsworth it’s his beloved pig the Empress of Blandings and her weight and welfare. However for the American millionaire Mr Peters it’s rare scarabs which get him excited, he’s the father of Aline Peters who has just become engaged to Freddie Emsworth, (not the heir but the spare). Imagine his reaction when he realises that his best scarab has disappeared, and he knows who has it! Mr Peters is determined to get his scarab back where it should be – in his collection.
This book is an absolute hoot and in parts I was actually laughing out loud, it’s not only silly slapstick but witty repartee too. The Efficient Baxter, Lord Emsworth’s hated secretary is hilarious and as I’ve been watching the BBC Blandings series too I have to say that for me anyway the casting of David Walliams as Baxter is just perfect.
This book is available free from Project Gutenbery under the name of Something New
If you want to read something different by P.G. Wodehouse have a look at what else is available on Project Gutenberg here.