Wodehouse: Something Fresh

September 12, 2019

Something Fresh
P.G. Wodehouse
(Overlook, 2005) [1915]
284 p.

This is the first Blandings novel, and it ranks with the very best of Wodehouse. Everything about it is top notch, from the smoothly-oiled machinations of the ingenious story to the raft of eccentric characters to the buoyant mirth of the prose. If I had migrated from the Jeeves stories with some expectation of a decline in delight, I’ve been pleasantly surprised and encouraged.

The plot circles around the recovery of a precious Egyptian scarab “of the fourth dynasty”, which has been absentmindedly removed from the collection of the American millionaire J. Preston Peters by Lord Emsworth of Blandings Castle, a doddering man who believes he received it from Peters as a gift, but of course Peters wants it back. The matter is delicate because the children of the two men, Freddie Threepwood and Aline Peters, are engaged to be married, and to accuse Lord Emsworth of theft would be a faux-pas of the first magnitude.

When a prize is offered by Peters for its recovery, three parties decide to make a try: Ashe Marson, writer of detective fiction, who engages himself to Peters as valet; Joan Valentine, old school friend of Aline and struggling actress; and R. Jones, an obese fix-it man. When the rivals, Ashe and Joan, begin to fall in love, the plot thickens!

There are other factors in the mix too, most notably the ill-luck of Baxter, the suspicious personal secretary to Lord Emsworth. Lest there be any concern on the point, everything works out beautifully, and Wodehouse’s manner of spinning the yarn yields pleasures on every page. Superb.

2 Responses to “Wodehouse: Something Fresh”

  1. blah deblah Says:

    I was just looking for some respite from the twitterverse. Think I’ll order a copy.

  2. cburrell Says:

    It will do you a world of good.

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